Mitogen- and stress-activated kinases (MSK) 1 and 2 are nuclear proteins activated downstream of the ERK1/2 or p38 MAPK pathways. MSKs phosphorylate multiple substrates, including CREB and Histone H3, and their major role is the regulation of specific subsets of Immediate Early genes (IEG). While MSKs are expressed in multiple tissues, their levels are high in immune and neuronal cells and it is in these systems most is known about their function. In immunity, MSKs have predominantly anti-inflammatory roles and help regulate production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. In the CNS they are implicated in neuronal proliferation and synaptic plasticity. In this review we will focus on recent advances in understanding the roles of MSKs in the innate immune system and neuronal function.