GH-induced activation of JAK2, a GH receptor (GHR)-associated tyrosine kinase, leads to tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of STATs (signal transducers and activators of transcription) 1, 3, and 5. The present study investigates the importance of the GHR cytoplasmic domain in the activation of STAT3 and STAT5b. As the perimembranous Box1 region of the GHR cytoplasmic domain is necessary for activation of wild-type (WT) JAK2 by GH, we examined this question using GHR/JAK2 chimeras that have an activatable JAK2 kinase domain replacing the GHR cytoplasmic domain. STAT5b and STAT3, when each was coexpressed in COS-7 cells with WT GHR and WT JAK2, were both strongly tyrosine phosphorylated in response to GH. Coexpression of STAT3 with GHR/ JAK2 chimeras resulted in a strong GH-independent tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT3 that was 40% as active as that seen with WT GHR plus WT JAK2, whereas STAT5b was more minimally phosphorylated (13% of WT GHR plus WT JAK2) when coexpressed with chimeras devoid of the GHR cytoplasmic domain. Transient coexpression of each STAT together with WT JAK2 and GHR COOH-terminal truncation mutants indicated that a GH-induced STAT3-DNA binding complex, but not a STAT5b-DNA binding complex, was detectable when a GHR devoid of 85% of the cytoplasmic domain COOH-terminus (but eliciting significant JAK2 tyrosine phosphorylation) was expressed. In vitro binding experiments using GST/GHR cytoplasmic domain fusions demonstrated that both STATs could interact at a low basal level with GHR regions distal to residue 317. Phosphorylation of tyrosine residues in those distal regions greatly enhanced the receptor's interaction with STAT5b, but not STAT3. We conclude that GH induces activation of STAT3 and STAT5b by two different pathways: one primarily dependent on activation of JAK2 (STAT3) and another that is additionally reliant on the presence of an intact and tyrosine-phosphorylated GHR cytoplasmic domain (STAT5b).