This gene encodes a member of the serine/threonine protein kinase family, that is highly similar to yeast SPS1/STE20 kinase. Yeast SPS1/STE20 functions near the beginning of the MAP kinase signal cascades that is essential for yeast pheromone response. This kinase was shown to activate Jun kinase in mammalian cells, which suggested a role in stress response. Two alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding the same protein have been described for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008].