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J Intern Med. 2014 Nov;276(5):444-53. doi: 10.1111/joim.12285.

Nucleic acid sensing and beyond: virtues and vices of high-mobility group box 1.

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Department of Molecular Immunology, Institute of Industrial Science, Max Planck-The University of Tokyo Center for Integrative Inflammology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; Core Research for Evolution Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo, Japan.


High-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) was first described as an architectural chromatin-binding protein. Today, a wealth of evidence indicates that this protein is very versatile and serves an amazing assortment of roles in the nucleus, cytoplasm and extracellular milieu. As a result, HMGB1 is fast becoming recognized as a key regulator of protective and pathological immune responses. Whilst acknowledging the many functions of HMGB1 and its family members, we focus this review on their role as broad effectors of immune responses mediated by nucleic acids. In addition, we touch upon the recent progress in determining the in vivo role of HMGB1 as revealed by the study of mice conditionally null for the Hmgb1 gene.


autophagy; high-mobility group box 1; infection; inflammation; nucleic acids; sepsis

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