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      HMGB1: Endogenous Danger Signaling

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      Molecular Medicine

      ScholarOne

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          Abstract

          While foreign pathogens and their products have long been known to activate the innate immune system, the recent recognition of a group of endogenous molecules that serve a similar function has provided a framework for understanding the overlap between the inflammatory responses activated by pathogens and injury. These endogenous molecules, termed alarmins, are normal cell constituents that can be released into the extracellular milieu during states of cellular stress or damage and subsequently activate the immune system. One nuclear protein, High mobility group box-1 (HMGB1), has received particular attention as fulfilling the functions of an alarmin by being involved in both infectious and non-infectious inflammatory conditions. Once released, HMGB1 signals through various receptors to activate immune cells involved in the immune process. Although initial studies demonstrated HMGB1 as a late mediator of sepsis, recent findings indicate HMGB1 to have an important role in models of non-infectious inflammation, such as autoimmunity, cancer, trauma, and ischemia reperfusion injury. Furthermore, in contrast to its pro-inflammatory functions, there is evidence that HMGB1 also has restorative effects leading to tissue repair and regeneration. The complex functions of HMGB1 as an archetypical alarmin are outlined here to review our current understanding of a molecule that holds the potential for treatment in many important human conditions.

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          Most cited references 126

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          Release of chromatin protein HMGB1 by necrotic cells triggers inflammation.

          High mobility group 1 (HMGB1) protein is both a nuclear factor and a secreted protein. In the cell nucleus it acts as an architectural chromatin-binding factor that bends DNA and promotes protein assembly on specific DNA targets. Outside the cell, it binds with high affinity to RAGE (the receptor for advanced glycation end products) and is a potent mediator of inflammation. HMGB1 is secreted by activated monocytes and macrophages, and is passively released by necrotic or damaged cells. Here we report that Hmgb1(-/-) necrotic cells have a greatly reduced ability to promote inflammation, which proves that the release of HMGB1 can signal the demise of a cell to its neighbours. Apoptotic cells do not release HMGB1 even after undergoing secondary necrosis and partial autolysis, and thus fail to promote inflammation even if not cleared promptly by phagocytic cells. In apoptotic cells, HMGB1 is bound firmly to chromatin because of generalized underacetylation of histone and is released in the extracellular medium (promoting inflammation) if chromatin deacetylation is prevented. Thus, cells undergoing apoptosis are programmed to withhold the signal that is broadcast by cells that have been damaged or killed by trauma.
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            Defective LPS signaling in C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScCr mice: mutations in Tlr4 gene.

            Mutations of the gene Lps selectively impede lipopolysaccharide (LPS) signal transduction in C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScCr mice, rendering them resistant to endotoxin yet highly susceptible to Gram-negative infection. The codominant Lpsd allele of C3H/HeJ mice was shown to correspond to a missense mutation in the third exon of the Toll-like receptor-4 gene (Tlr4), predicted to replace proline with histidine at position 712 of the polypeptide chain. C57BL/10ScCr mice are homozygous for a null mutation of Tlr4. Thus, the mammalian Tlr4 protein has been adapted primarily to subserve the recognition of LPS and presumably transduces the LPS signal across the plasma membrane. Destructive mutations of Tlr4 predispose to the development of Gram-negative sepsis, leaving most aspects of immune function intact.
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              The danger model: a renewed sense of self.

              For over 50 years immunologists have based their thoughts, experiments, and clinical treatments on the idea that the immune system functions by making a distinction between self and nonself. Although this paradigm has often served us well, years of detailed examination have revealed a number of inherent problems. This Viewpoint outlines a model of immunity based on the idea that the immune system is more concerned with entities that do damage than with those that are foreign.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Mol Med
                Molecular Medicine
                ScholarOne
                1076-1551
                1528-3658
                Jul-Aug 2008
                11 April 2008
                : 14
                : 7-8
                : 476-484
                Affiliations
                Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America
                Author notes
                Address all correspondence and reprint requests to Allan Tsung, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 200 Lothrop Street, Presbyterian Hospital F1200, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Phone: 412-647-1749; Fax: 412-647-3247; E-mail: tsunga@ 123456upmc.edu .
                Article
                mol14_7p0476
                10.2119/2008-00034.Klune
                2323334
                18431461
                Copyright 2008, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
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