The high mobility group (HMG) 1 protein is a highly conserved and ubiquitous chromosomal protein found enriched in active chromatin. In this study, we have investigated the effect of estrogen on the expression of the human high mobility group protein HMG1 gene and found that the HMG1 mRNA level in MCF-7 cells was sharply increased 2.5-fold after 30 min of estrogen treatment. Under continuous estrogen treatment, the HMG1 mRNA level decreased to a 1.5 times that of the basal level at 90 min and remained at this elevated level under estrogen treatment for up to 24 h. These results support the recent finding by Verrier et al. (C.S. Verrier, 1997, Mol. Endocrinol. 11, 1009-1019) that HMG1 promotes the binding of the estrogen receptor to the estrogen response element and further reinforce our believe that HMG1 plays a significant role in estrogen-induced gene expression.