The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is a steroid hormone-activated transcription factor that binds to various glucocorticoid response elements to up- or down- regulate the transcription of thousands of genes involved in metabolism, development, stress and inflammatory responses. GR consists of two domains enabling interaction with glucocorticoids, DNA response elements and coregulators, as well as a large intrinsically disordered region that mediates condensate formation. A growing body of structural studies during the past decade have shed new light on GR interactions, providing a new understanding of the mechanisms driving context-specific GR activity. Here, we summarize the established and emerging mechanisms of action of GR, primarily from a structural perspective. This minireview also discusses how the current state of knowledge of GR function may guide future glucocorticoid design with an improved therapeutic index for different inflammatory disorders.

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