The structural analysis of protein kinase C has led to the identification of a family of related gene products. This family of kinases consists of six unique genes that give rise to at least seven polypeptides. The high degree of conservation and the differential distribution of these mRNAs/proteins suggest that they perform distinct functions in vivo. Characterization of the activities of some of these proteins in vitro shows that there are functional differences with respect to both their regulation and substrate specificity. This indicates that each member of this family may play a unique role in signal transduction.