FDCP-1 cells are hematopoietic progenitor cells which require interleukin-3 for survival and proliferation. FDCP-1 cells stably transfected with the murine erythropoietin receptor cDNA survive and proliferate in the presence of erythropoietin. Erythropoietin induces the activation of the short forms (80 kDa) of STAT5 in the cells. Erythropoietin-induced activation of STAT5 was strongly reduced in cells expressing mutated variants of the erythropoietin receptors in which tyrosine residues in their intracellular domain have been eliminated. We determined that the erythropoietin receptor tyrosine residues 343 and 401 are independently necessary for STAT5 activation. The amino acid sequences surrounding these two tyrosine residues are very similar. Peptides comprising either phosphorylated Tyr343 or phosphorylated Tyr401, but not their unphosphorylated counterparts, inhibited the STAT5 activation. We propose that these two tyrosine residues of the erythropoietin receptor constitute docking sites for the STAT5 SH2 domain. The growth stimulus mediated by erythropoietin was decreased in cells expressing erythropoietin receptors lacking both Tyr343 and Tyr401. This suggests that STAT5 activation could be involved in the growth control of FDCP-1 cells.