The last decade has witnessed tremendous progress in the understanding of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), its molecular mechanism of action, and its implications for physiology and pathophysiology. After the initial cloning of MR, and identification of its gene structure and promoters, it now appears as a major actor in protein-protein interaction networks. The role of transcriptional coregulators and the determinants of mineralocorticoid selectivity have been elucidated. Targeted oncogenesis and transgenic mouse models have identified unexpected sites of MR expression and novel roles for MR in non-epithelial tissues. These experimental approaches have contributed to the generation of new cell lines for the characterization of aldosterone signaling pathways, and have also facilitated a better understanding of MR physiology in the heart, vasculature, brain and adipose tissues. This review describes the structure, molecular mechanism of action and transcriptional regulation mediated by MR, emphasizing the most recent developments at the cellular and molecular level. Finally, through insights obtained from mouse models and human disease, its role in physiology and pathophysiology will be reviewed. Future investigations of MR biology should lead to new therapeutic strategies, modulating cell-specific actions in the management of cardiovascular disease, neuroprotection, mineralocorticoid resistance, and metabolic disorders.