Glycyrrhizin Binds to High-Mobility Group Box 1 Protein and Inhibits Its Cytokine Activities

Luca Mollica, Francesco De Marchis, Andrea Spitaleri, Corrado Dallacosta, Danilo Pennacchini, Moreno Zamai, Alessandra Agresti, Lisa Trisciuoglio, Giovanna Musco, Marco E. Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) is a nuclear component, but extracellularly it serves as a signaling molecule involved in acute and chronic inflammation, for example in sepsis and arthritis. The identification of HMGB1 inhibitors is therefore of significant experimental and clinical interest. We show that glycyrrhizin, a natural anti-inflammatory and antiviral triterpene in clinical use, inhibits HMGB1 chemoattractant and mitogenic activities, and has a weak inhibitory effect on its intranuclear DNA-binding function. NMR and fluorescence studies indicate that glycyrrhizin binds directly to HMGB1 (Kd ∼150 μM), interacting with two shallow concave surfaces formed by the two arms of both HMG boxes. Our results explain in part the anti-inflammatory properties of glycyrrhizin, and might direct the design of new derivatives with improved HMGB1-binding properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-441
Number of pages11
JournalChemistry and Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 20 2007



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry


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