Cloning the genes and DNA binding properties of High Mobility Group B1 (HMGB1) proteins from the human blood flukes Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma japonicum
The parasitic helminth Schistosoma mansoni contains three HMGB proteins, HMGBI, HMGB2 and HMGB3, of primary amino acid sequences highly similar to vertebrate proteins. In this report we describe the characterization of the HMGB I proteins and their genes from S. mansoni and Schistosoma japonicum. The deduced amino acid sequences of HNIGB1 proteins from both schistosome species are identical, and comprise 176 residues. The proteins contain the two evolutionarily highly conserved HMG-box domains, A and B, exhibiting 60% similarity to mammalian HMGBI. Unlike the human HMGB1 which contains an unbroken run of 30 glutamic or aspartic residues, the SmHMGB1 or SjHMGB1 proteins possess unusually short acidic C-terminal tails (5 acidic residues interrupted by 2 serines). Southern hybridization and DNA sequencing revealed a single copy HMGBI gene, composed of 3 exons and two introns, in S. mansoni. The exon/intron boundaries are identical to those of the human HMGBI gene, with the exception that the second exon of the SmHMGB1 gene which is not split into two exons as in the human HMGBI gene. RNA blot analysis revealed that the SmHMGB1 gene is constitutively expressed in similar levels both in male and female worms. The single-sized mRNA for SmHMGB1 is consistent with the size derived from the cDNA. Although DNA binding properties of SmHMGB1 (or SjHMGB1) protein seem to be similar to those previously reported with human HMGB1, i.e., preferential binding to supercoiled DNA over linear DNA, specific recognition of DNA four-way junctions, DNA-induced supercoiling in the presence of topoisomerase 1, and DNA bending, we have observed two important differences relative to those observed with the human HMGB1: (i) the inability of the isolated SmHMGBI domain A to bend DNA (as revealed by T4 ligase-mediated circularization assay), and (ii) higher DNA supervoiling and bending potential of the SmHMGBI protein as compared to its human counterpart. The latter finding may indicate that the long acidic C-tail of human HMGB1 has much stronger repressive role on DNA bending or DNA supercoiling by topoisomerase I at physiological ionic strength than the short C-tail of the SmHMGBI protein. Considering the important role of HMGB1 in DNA replication, transcription, recombination, and in particularly, the mediation of inflammation responses in mammalian cells, further studies on schistosome HMGB proteins may provide valuable information related to schistosomiasis, where inflammation plays a critical role in this disease. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.