The receptors for IL-3, GM-CSF, and IL-5 share a common beta subunit (beta c), and mice have an additional IL-3 beta subunit (beta IL3). We have independently generated mice carrying null mutations of each molecule. beta c mutant bone marrow showed no response to GM-CSF or IL-5, whereas IL-3 stimulation of beta c or beta IL3 mutant bone marrow was normal. beta c mutant mice showed lung pathology consisting of lymphocytic infiltration and areas resembling alveolar proteinosis, and also exhibited low basal numbers of eosinophils. Infection of beta c mutant mice by Nippostrongylus brasiliensis resulted in the absence of blood and lung eosinophilia. Animals repopulated with beta c mutant bone marrow cells showed slower leukocyte recovery and reduced eosinophil numbers. These data define the role of beta c in vivo, and show a phenotype that is likely to be the cumulative effect of loss of GM-CSF and IL-5 stimulation.