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High mobility group box-1 (HMGB1), a nuclear protein, is overexpressed and secreted in cancer cells. Phosphorylation on two different nuclear localization signal regions are known to be important for the nuclear-to-cytoplasmic transport and secretion of HMGB1. However, little is known about the biochemical mechanism of HMGB1 modifications and its subsequent secretion from cancer cells. To identify the specific enzyme and important sites for HMGB1 phosphorylation, we screened the protein kinase C (PKC) family in a colon cancer cell line (HCT116) for HMGB1 binding by pull-down experiments using a 3XFLAG-HMGB1 construct. Strong interactions between atypical PKCs (PKC-ζ, λ, and ι) and cytoplasmic HMGB1 were observed in HCT116 cells. We further identified the most critical PKC isotype that regulates HMGB1 secretion is PKC-ζ by using PKC inhibitors and siRNA experiments. The serine residues at S39, S53 and S181 of HMGB1 were related to enhancing HMGB1 secretion. We also demonstrated overexpression and activation of PKC-ζ in colon cancer tissues. Our findings suggest that PKC-ζ is involved in the phosphorylation of HMGB1, and the phosphorylation of specific serine residues in the nuclear localization signal regions is related to enhanced HMGB1 secretion in colon cancer cells. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Hanna Lee, Minhee Park, Nara Shin, Gamin Kim, Yun Gi Kim, Jeon-Soo Shin, Hoguen Kim. High mobility group box-1 is phosphorylated by protein kinase C zeta and secreted in colon cancer cells. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2012 Jul 27;424(2):321-6

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PMID: 22750245

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