A Janus tale of two active high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) redox states

Daolin Tang*, Timothy R. Billiar, Michael T. Lotze

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), the prototypic damage-associated molecular pattern molecule, is released at sites of inflammation and/or tissue damage. There, it promotes cytokine production and chemokine production/cell migration. New work shows that the redox status of HMGB1 distinguishes its cytokine-inducing and chemokine activity. Reduced all-thiol-HMGB1 has sole chemokine activity, whereas disulfide-HMGB1 has only cytokine activity, and oxidized, denatured HMGB1 has neither. Autophagy (programmed cell survival) and apoptosis (programmed cell death) have been implicated in controlling both innate and adaptive immune functions. Reduced HMGB1 protein promotes autophagy, whereas oxidized HMGB1 promotes apoptosis. Thus, the differential activity of HMGB1 in immunity, inflammation and cell death depends on the cellular redox status within tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1360-1362
Number of pages3
JournalMolecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


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