The transcription factor NFkappaB is activated by numerous stimuli. Once NFkappaB is fully activated, it participates in the regulation of various target genes in different cells to exert its biological functions. NFkappaB has often been referred to as a central mediator of the immune response, since a large variety of bacteria and viruses can lead to the activation of NFkappaB, which in turn controls the expression of many inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, immune receptors, and cell surface adhesion molecules. Recent studies have shown that NFkappaB may function more generally as a central regulator of stress responses, since different stressful conditions, including physical stress, oxidative stress, and exposure to certain chemicals, also lead to NFkappaB activation. Furthermore, NFkappaB blocks cell apoptosis in several cell types. Taken together, these findings make it clear that NFkappaB plays an important role in cell proliferation and differentiation. It is the intention of this review to cover the various NFkappaB-dependent signaling pathways, thereby to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms of NFkappaB activation and the physiological functions of activated NFkappaB.