Interleukin-6 signal transducer (IL6ST) is a signal transducer shared by many cytokines, including interleukin 6 (IL6), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), and oncostatin M (OSM). This protein functions as a part of the cytokine receptor complex. The activation of this protein is dependent upon the binding of cytokines to their receptors. vIL6, a protein related to IL6 and encoded by the Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, can bypass the interleukin 6 receptor (IL6R) and directly activate this protein. Knockout studies in mice suggest that this gene plays a critical role in regulating myocyte apoptosis [taken from NCBI Entrez Gene (Gene ID: 3572)].