The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the serine/threonine protein kinase family. This kinase has been shown to specifically activate MAPK8/JNK. The activation of MAPK8 by this kinase is found to be inhibited by the dominant-negative mutants of MAP3K7/TAK1, MAP2K4/MKK4, and MAP2K7/MKK7, which suggests that this kinase may function through the MAP3K7-MAP2K4-MAP2K7 kinase cascade, and mediate the TNF-alpha signaling pathway. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been identified. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008].