The nuclear protein HMGB1, a new kind of chemokine?

FEBS Lett. 2003 Oct 9;553(1-2):11-7. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(03)01027-5.


The chromosomal protein HMGB1 is now regarded as a proinflammatory cytokine. Importantly, HMGB1 has chemotactic activity suggesting its involvement in the early and late events of the inflammatory reaction. Therefore, HMGB1 has all the hallmarks of a chemokine (chemotactic cytokine). We propose to classify HMGB1 into a new group of proteins unrelated structurally to chemokines but having chemokine-like functions, and to name this class CLF (chemokine-like functions). The CLF class should include other unrelated molecules such as urokinase and its receptor, cytokines macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and interleukin (IL)-6, anaphylatoxin C5a, ribosomal protein S19, and thioredoxin that have similar chemokine-like activities. This innovative concept may lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemokines / metabolism*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • HMGB1 Protein / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Chemokines
  • HMGB1 Protein
  • DNA