Cellular processing of the glucocorticoid receptor gene and protein: new mechanisms for generating tissue-specific actions of glucocorticoids

J Biol Chem. 2011 Feb 4;286(5):3177-84. doi: 10.1074/jbc.R110.179325. Epub 2010 Dec 13.


Glucocorticoids regulate numerous physiological processes and are mainstays in the treatment of inflammation, autoimmune disease, and cancer. The traditional view that glucocorticoids act through a single glucocorticoid receptor (GR) protein has changed in recent years with the discovery of a large cohort of receptor subtypes arising from alternative processing of the GR gene. These isoforms differ in their expression, gene regulatory, and functional profiles. Post-translational modification of these proteins further expands GR diversity. Here, we discuss the origin and molecular properties of the GR isoforms and their contribution to the sensitivity and specificity of the glucocorticoid response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Glucocorticoids / physiology
  • Humans
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / genetics*
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / physiology
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid