The translocation of HMGB1 during cell activation and cell death.
High-mobility group box protein 1 (HMGB1) is a non-histone nuclear protein with alarmin activity. When present in an extracellular location, HMGB1 can activate the innate immune system and promote inflammation in conditions such as sepsis. To exert these activities, HMGB1 must transit from the nucleus, through the cytoplasm, to the outside of the cell. This process can occur during cell activation as well as cell death. In murine macrophages (MPhi), stimulation of TLR3 and TLR4, but not TLR9, can cause HMGB1 translocation. With cell death, necrosis can lead to extracellular HMGB1 by a passive mechanism. With apoptosis, HMGB1 is only released during secondary necrosis, when cell permeability barriers break down. Since agents that stimulate MPhi can also induce apoptosis, HMGB1 release following TLR stimulation may also reflect a contribution from dead cells, suggesting a common mechanism for protein release in activation and death.
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