Most of the receptors for soluble factors functioning in the hematopoietic system belong to the class I cytokine receptor family. These receptors often share common signal transducing receptor components in the same family, which explains the functional redundancy of cytokines. One typical example is a group of receptor systems for interleukin-6 (IL-6) and related cytokines that share gp130 as a signal transducer. This subset of cytokines, i.e., IL-6, IL-11, leukemia inhibitory factor, oncostatin M, ciliary neurotrophic factor, and cardiotrophin-1, are all pleiotropic, exhibiting overlapping biological activities, and are known to function also in the neuronal system. In their receptor complexes, gp130 and ligand-specific chains possess no intrinsic tyrosine kinase domain but are associated with members of the Jak family of cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases. The Jak kinases become activated after ligand-induced homo- or heterodimerization of gp130. This activation appears to link the cell surface receptors to the nuclear genes through a series of biochemical changes, including tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of a latent cytoplasmic transcription factor called signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3).