This gene encodes a member of the IL10 family of cytokines. It was identified as a gene induced during terminal differentiation in melanoma cells. This protein can induce apoptosis selectively in various cancer cells. Overexpression of this gene leads to elevated expression of several GADD family genes, which correlates with the induction of apoptosis. The phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase 14 (MAPK7/P38), and heat shock 27kDa protein 1 (HSPB2/HSP27) are found to be induced by this gene in melanoma cells, but not in normal immortal melanocytes. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been reported.