The HMG-box: a versatile protein domain occurring in a wide variety of DNA-binding proteins

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2007 Oct;64(19-20):2590-606. doi: 10.1007/s00018-007-7162-3.


The HMG-box domain of approximately 75 amino acid residues was originally identified as the domain that mediates the DNA-binding of chromatin-associated high-mobility group (HMG) proteins of the HMGB type. In the last few years, HMG-box domains have been found in various DNA-binding proteins including transcription factors and subunits of chromatin-remodeling complexes. HMG-box domains mediate either non-sequence-specific (e.g., HMGB-type proteins) or sequence-specific (e.g., transcription factors) DNA binding. Both types of HMG-box domains bind non-B-type DNA structures (bent, kinked and unwound) with high affinity. In addition, HMG-box domains are involved in a variety of protein-protein interactions. Here, we have examined the human and plant genomes for genes encoding HMG-box domains. Compared to plants, human cells contain a larger variety of HMG-box proteins. Whereas in humans transcription factors are the most divergent group of HMG-box proteins, in plants the chromosomal HMGB-type proteins are most variable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • DNA-Binding Proteins* / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins* / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins* / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins* / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Genome, Human
  • Genome, Plant
  • HMG-Box Domains*
  • HMGB Proteins
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • HMGB Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • phyl protein, Drosophila