Placental Expression of HLA Class I Genes


Unité INSERM 395, CHU Purpan, BP 3028, 31024 Toulouse Cedex, France.


This article presents an overview of the more recent data dealing with the constitutive, transcriptional, and translational expression of classical class la and nonclassical HLA-E and -G class Ib products in the different trophoblast cell subpopulations that constitute the maternofetal interface during human pregnancy. Of particular interest is the expression of alternatively spliced HLA-G transcriptional isoforms that may be translated in membrane-bound or soluble protein products. Molecular regulatory mechanisms that may control the differential expression of class la and class lb molecules, according to the cell types, state of differentiation, and stages of gestation are also examined. They may operate at the levels of transcription, translation and/or transport of proteins to the cell surface. Functional significance of the absence of detectable cell surface expression of class Ia molecules in all trophoblast cell sub-populations, and of the presence of membrane-bound HLA-G products in extravillous cytotrophoblast cells is finally questioned.