Indexed on: 22 Jul '14Published on: 22 Jul '14Published in: Journal of Internal Medicine
High-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) was first described as an architectural chromatin-binding protein. Today, a wealth of evidence indicates that this protein is very versatile and serves an amazing assortment of roles in the nucleus, cytoplasm and extracellular milieu. As a result, HMGB1 is fast becoming recognized as a key regulator of protective and pathological immune responses. Whilst acknowledging the many functions of HMGB1 and its family members, we focus this review on their role as broad effectors of immune responses mediated by nucleic acids. In addition, we touch upon the recent progress in determining the in vivo role of HMGB1 as revealed by the study of mice conditionally null for the Hmgb1 gene.