The Janus tyrosine kinases (Jaks) play a central role in signaling through cytokine receptors. Although Jak1, Jak2, and Tyk2 are widely expressed, Jak3 is predominantly expressed in hematopoietic cells and is known to associate only with the common gamma (gamma c) chain of the interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, and IL-15 receptors. Homozygous mutant mice in which the Jak3 gene had been disrupted were generated by gene targeting. Jak3-deficient mice had profound reductions in thymocytes and severe B cell and T cell lymphopenia similar to severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID), and the residual T cells and B cells were functionally deficient. Thus, Jak3 plays a critical role in gamma c signaling and lymphoid development.
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