This gene encodes a member of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase family. MAP kinases act as an integration point for multiple biochemical signals, and are involved in a wide variety of cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, transcription regulation and development. The encoded protein is a p38 MAP kinase and is activated by proinflammatory cytokines and cellular stress. Substrates of the encoded protein include the transcription factor ATF2 and the microtubule dynamics regulator stathmin. Alternatively spliced transcript variants have been observed for this gene.