Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) gene encodes a member of the ATF family of transcription factors and is induced by various stress signals. All members of this family share the basic region-leucine zipper (bZip) DNA binding motif and bind to the consensus sequence TGACGTCA in vitro. Previous reviews and an Internet source have covered the following topics: the nomenclature of ATF proteins, the history of their discovery, the potential interplays between ATFs and other bZip proteins, ATF3-interacting proteins, ATF3 target genes, and the emerging roles of ATF3 in cancer and immunity (see footnote 1). In this review, we present evidence and clues that prompted us to put forth the idea that ATF3 functions as a "hub" of the cellular adaptive-response network. We will then focus on the roles of ATF3 in modulating inflammatory response. Inflammation is increasingly recognized to play an important role for the development of many diseases. Putting this in the context of the hub idea, we propose that modulation of inflammation by ATF3 is a unifying theme for the potential involvement of ATF3 in various diseases.