The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the serine/threonine protein kinase family. This kinase mediates the signaling transduction induced by TGF beta and morphogenetic protein (BMP), and controls a variety of cell functions including transcription regulation and apoptosis. In response to IL-1, this protein forms a kinase complex including TRAF6, MAP3K7P1/TAB1 and MAP3K7P2/TAB2; this complex is required for the activation of nuclear factor kappa B. This kinase can also activate MAPK8/JNK, MAP2K4/MKK4, and thus plays a role in the cell response to environmental stresses. Four alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been reported. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008].