MAPK14 contains 1 protein kinase domain and belongs to the 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. MAPK14 can be detected in brain, heart, placenta, pancreas and skeletal muscle and it is expressed to a lesser extent in lung, liver and kidney. MAPK14 is activated by various environmental stresses and proinflammatory cytokines. The activation requires its phosphorylation by MAP kinase kinases (MKKs), or its autophosphorylation triggered by the interaction of MAP3K7IP1/TAB1 protein with MAPK14. The substrates of p38 alpha include transcription regulator ATF2, MEF2C, and MAX, cell cycle regulator CDC25B, and tumor suppressor p53, which suggest the roles of p38 alpha in stress related transcription and cell cycle regulation, as well as in genotoxic stress response. In respond to activation by environmental stress, pro-inflammatory cytokines and lipopolysaccharide, MAPK14 phosphorylates a number of transcription factors, such as ELK1 and ATF2 and several downstream kinases, such as MAPKAPK2 and MAPKAPK5. MAPK14 plays a critical role in the production of some cytokines, for example IL-6. It may play a role in stabilization of EPO mRNA during hypoxic stress. Isoform Mxi2 activation is stimulated by mitogens and oxidative stress and only poorly phosphorylates ELK1 and ATF2.