HLA-G allelic variants are associated with differences in the HLA-G mRNA isoform profile and HLA-G mRNA levels

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During pregnancy, the human extra-villous trophoblast in the contact zone between maternal and fetal tissue in the placenta does not express the classical MHC class I and II molecules. Instead, HLA-G and -C, and possibly HLA-E, are expressed. HLA-G may modulate the immunological relationship between mother and fetus in several ways. Finally, the expression of membrane-bound HLA-G and soluble HLA-G has been proposed to influence the outcome of pregnancy, and an aberrant HLA-G expression in pre-eclamptic placentas and spontaneous abortions has been reported. Here, an association between certain HLA-G polymorphisms and the mRNA levels of the different alternatively spliced HLA-G isoforms in first trimester trophoblast cell populations is reported. Several alternatively spliced HLA-G mRNA isoforms, including a 14-bp polymorphism in the 3'UTR end (exon 8) of the HLA-G gene, are expressed at a significantly lower level than the corresponding HLA-G mRNA isoforms with the 14-bp sequence deleted. Furthermore, characteristic HLA-G mRNA isoform expression patterns were associated with specific HLA-G genotypes and alleles. In the HLA-G*01012 and - G*01013 alleles that include the 14-bp sequence, an additional alternative splicing was observed, with the first 92-bp of exon 8 spliced out. This was most pronounced in HLA-G genotypes with G*01013. These findings may have functional implications for the recent reports of aberrant HLA-G expression and reproductive success.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)63-79
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - May 2003

    Research areas

  • Alternative Splicing, Gene Expression Profiling, Genetic Variation, HLA Antigens, HLA-G Antigens, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Humans, RNA, Messenger, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Trophoblasts, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

ID: 188691790