STAT3 is a pleiotropic transcription factor that is activated by the phosphorylation of tyrosine 705 in response to many cytokines and growth factors. STAT3 without Tyr-705 phosphorylation (U-STAT3) is also a potent transcription factor, and its concentration in cells increases greatly in response to STAT3 activation because the STAT3 gene can be driven by phosphorylated STAT3 dimers. We have now searched for post-translational modifications of U-STAT3 that might have a critical role in its function. An analysis by mass spectroscopy indicated that U-STAT3 is acetylated on Lys-685, and the integrity of Lys-685 is required for the expression of most U-STAT3-dependent genes. In contrast, we found only a very minor role for Lys-685 in gene expression induced in response to tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT3. U-STAT3 plays an important role in angiotensin II-induced gene expression and in the consequent development of cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction. Mutation of Lys-685 inhibits this function of STAT3, providing new information on the role of U-STAT3 in augmenting the development of heart failure.