The mechanism of HMGB1 secretion and release

Ruochan Chen, Rui Kang, Daolin Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is a nonhistone nuclear protein that has multiple functions according to its subcellular location. In the nucleus, HMGB1 is a DNA chaperone that maintains the structure and function of chromosomes. In the cytoplasm, HMGB1 can promote autophagy by binding to BECN1 protein. After its active secretion or passive release, extracellular HMGB1 usually acts as a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecule, regulating inflammation and immune responses through different receptors or direct uptake. The secretion and release of HMGB1 is fine-tuned by a variety of factors, including its posttranslational modification (e.g., acetylation, ADP-ribosylation, phosphorylation, and methylation) and the molecular machinery of cell death (e.g., apoptosis, pyroptosis, necroptosis, alkaliptosis, and ferroptosis). In this minireview, we introduce the basic structure and function of HMGB1 and focus on the regulatory mechanism of HMGB1 secretion and release. Understanding these topics may help us develop new HMGB1-targeted drugs for various conditions, especially inflammatory diseases and tissue damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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