Glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ): a new important mediator of glucocorticoid action

FASEB J. 2009 Nov;23(11):3649-58. doi: 10.1096/fj.09-134684. Epub 2009 Jun 30.


Glucocorticoids (GCs) represent the mainstay of current anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive strategies, mediating effects that mostly result in transcriptional regulation of glucocorticoid receptor target genes. A variety of actions are tied together in the response to GC treatment. Dissecting the beneficial from the detrimental actions in GC therapy is a major challenge in basic research, raising the critical issue of whether a single target gene or gene family might eventually be linked to a specific GC function. Glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) was originally discovered in studies aimed at characterizing genes targeted by dexamethasone. The first suggestion that GILZ plays an important role in GC immunomodulation came from observations of GILZ up-regulation by GCs, mainly in lymphoid organs, and inhibition of anti-CD3-induced activation and apoptosis. The identification of GILZ interaction with and inhibition of NF-kappaB provided a first molecular mechanistic basis for explaining GILZ effects on T cells. Subsequently, other GILZ targets have been identified, including AP-1, Raf-1, and Ras, all involved in GC effects. The finding that GILZ silencing abrogates the antiproliferative activity of dexamethasone and reduces GC inhibition of cytokine-induced COX-2 expression clearly gained GILZ a distinguished reputation within the critical mediators of GC effects. The multiple functions of GILZ and their potential biological relevance are here reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Glucocorticoids / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Leucine Zippers / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Dsip1 protein, mouse
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • TSC22D3 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors