High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is an evolutionarily conserved nuclear protein that can be released by almost all cell types. Scientists have uncovered a variety of molecular mechanisms by which HMGB1 in both immune and non-immune cells modulates the nature and magnitude of immune responses (1–3). In recent years, HMGB1-targeted therapies have been exploited in multiple preclinical studies of inflammatory conditions and there is robust clinical evidence for HMGB1 levels as a potential biomarker for early prediction or progression of various diseases. However, it is not presently possible to specifically target HMGB1 in any clinical setting. A significant obstacle to developing therapeutics lies in gaps in knowledge of the post-translational modification of HMGB1 as well as the timing and type of microenvironments to which HMGB1 is exposed.
This Research Topic provides a comprehensive overview of current understanding of the contribution of HMGB1 to various diseases and HMGB1 specific therapeutics. Nine articles are included: five original articles, three review articles, and one mini-review. The authors invited the scientific contributors to this collection based on their unique and pioneering discoveries on the role of HMGB1 in physiological and pathological conditions including: (i) HMGB1-related immune functions (ii) Post-translational modification and secretion mechanisms of HMGB1 (iii) Molecular pathways activated by HMGB1 in acute lung injury, lupus, cancers, and other diseases (iv) Agents to modulate HMGB1 function.