Extracellular high mobility group box-1 (HMGB1) inhibits enterocyte migration via activation of toll-like receptor-4 and increased cell-matrix adhesiveness

Shipan Dai, Chhinder Sodhi, Selma Cetin, Ward Richardson, Maria Branca, Matthew D. Neal, Thomas Prindle, Congrong Ma, Richard A. Shapiro, Bin Li, James H.C. Wang, David J. Hackam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) is the receptor for bacterial lipopolysaccharide, yet it may also respond to a variety of endogenous molecules. Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the leading cause of death from gastrointestinal disease in newborn infants and is characterized by intestinal mucosal destruction and impaired enterocyte migration due to increased TLR4 signaling on enterocytes. The endogenous ligands for TLR4 that lead to impaired enterocyte migration remain unknown. High mobility group box-1 (HMGB1) is a DNA-binding protein that is released from injured cells during inflammation. We thus hypothesize that extracellular HMGB1 inhibits enterocyte migration via activation of TLR4 and sought to define the pathways involved. We now demonstrate that murine and human NEC are associated with increased intestinal HMGB1 expression, that serum HMGB1 is increased in murine NEC, and that HMGB1 inhibits enterocyte migration in vitro and in vivo in a TLR4-dependent manner. This finding was unique to enterocytes as HMGB1 enhanced migration of inflammatory cells in vitro and in vivo. In seeking to understand the mechanisms involved, TLR4-dependent HMGB1 signaling increased RhoA activation in enterocytes, increased phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase, and increased phosphorylation of cofilin, resulting in increased stress fibers and focal adhesions. Using single cell force traction microscopy, the net effect of HMGB1 signaling was a TLR4-dependent increase in cell force adhesion, accounting for the impaired enterocyte migration. These findings demonstrate a novel pathway by which TLR4 activation by HMGB1 delays mucosal repair and suggest a novel potential therapeutic target in the amelioration of intestinal inflammatory diseases like NEC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4995-5002
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 12 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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