The c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) is a member of an evolutionarily conserved sub-family of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases. Recent studies have led to progress towards understanding the physiological function of the JNK signaling pathway, including the analysis of the phenotype of knockout mice. An important role for JNK in the non-canonical Wnt-signaling pathway has been established. Insight into the role of scaffold proteins that may assemble functional JNK modules has been achieved. In addition, a small molecule pharmacological inhibitor of JNK has been described and it is likely that this drug will facilitate future studies of JNK function.