The encoded protein, a member of the tumor necrosis factor family, is a cytokine produced by lymphocytes. The protein is highly inducible, secreted, and forms heterotrimers with lymphotoxin-beta which anchor lymphotoxin-alpha to the cell surface. This protein also mediates a large variety of inflammatory, immunostimulatory, and antiviral responses, is involved in the formation of secondary lymphoid organs during development and plays a role in apoptosis. Genetic variations in this gene are associated with susceptibility to leprosy type 4, myocardial infarction, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and psoriatic arthritis. Alternatively spliced transcript variants have been observed for this gene.