Scientific Reports

EGCG in Green Tea Induces Aggregation of HMGB1 Protein through Large Conformational Changes with Polarized Charge Redistribution

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As a major effective component in green tea, ( - )-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)'s potential benefits to human health have been widely investigated. Recent experimental evidences indicate that EGCG can induce the aggregation of HMGB1 protein, a late mediator of inflammation, which subsequently stimulates the autophagic degradation and thus provides protection from lethal endotoxemia and sepsis. In this study, we use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to explore the underlying molecular mechanism of this aggregation of HMGB1 facilitated by EGCG. Our simulation results reveal that EGCG firmly binds to HMGB1 near Cys106, which supports previous preliminary experimental evidence. A large HMGB1 conformational change is observed, where Box A and Box B, two homogenous domains of HMGB1, are repositioned and packed together by EGCG. This new HMGB1 conformation has large molecular polarity and distinctive electrostatic potential surface. We suggest that the highly polarized charge distribution leads to the aggregation of HMGB1, which differs from the previous hypothesis that two HMGB1 monomers are linked by the dimer of EGCG. Possible aggregating modes have also been investigated with potential of mean force (PMF) calculations. Finally, we conclude that the conformation induced by EGCG is more aggregation-prone with higher binding free energies as compared to those without EGCG.


22 Feb 2016


Scientific Reports