Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins have been shown to mediate biological actions in response to cytokines. Stat3, a member of the STAT family, is activated by a variety of cytokines, including the interleukin 6 family of cytokines, leptin, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, and epidermal growth factor. To address the biological function of Stat3, we generated mice deficient in Stat3 by gene targeting. No viable Stat3-deficient mice could be obtained from heterozygote intercross. Analysis of embryos at several gestation times revealed that Stat3-deficient embryos showed a rapid degeneration between embryonic days 6.5 and 7.5, although they developed into the egg cylinder stage until embryonic day 6.0. These results demonstrate that Stat3 is essential for the early development of mouse embryos.
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