The IL21 receptor complex can activate Signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1), STAT3, STAT4 and STAT5, depending on the cell type. In cultured T-cells IL21 induced phosphorylation of JAK1, JAK3, STAT1, STAT3 and weakly STAT5 (Asao et al. 2001). In primary CD4+ T cells IL21 induced the phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT3 but not STAT5, whereas IL2 induced the phosphorylation of STAT5 and STAT1 but not STA3 (Bennet et al. 2003). IL21 stimulation of primary splenic B cells and the pro-B-cell line Ba-F3 induced the activation of JAK1, JAK3 and STAT5 (Habib et al. 2002). In primary human NK cells or the NK cell line NK-92, IL21 induced the activation of STAT1, STAT3, and STAT4 but not STAT5 (Strengell et al. 2002, 2003). IL21 activated STAT1 and STAT3 in human monocyte-derived macrophages (Vallières & Girard 2016).
This is a black-box event because STAT phosphorylation is assumed to involve STAT binding though this has not been demonstrated for this receptor complex. In addition the mechanism that brings about STAT binding to the receptor, which presumably involves receptor tyrosine phosphorylation, is unclear.