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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002 Sep;59(9):1460-6.

HLA-G protein processing and transport to the cell surface.

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  • 1CEA, Service de Recherche en Hémato-Immunologie, Hĵpital Saint-Louis, Institut Universitaire d'Hématologie, Paris, France.


Data are presented on the intracellular trafficking of HLA-G protein, taking the unique features of this non-classical molecule into consideration: the existence of seven isoforms resulting from alternative splicing (HLA-G1 to G7), and reduced tail length compared with HLA class I antigens. Biochemical studies and analysis of viral strategies for escaping the host immune system led to the demonstration that (i) both the membrane-bound (HLA-G1) and the soluble (HLA-G5) forms of the molecule require peptide association for cell surface expression, using TAP-dependent or TAP-independent pathways; (ii) peptide loading onto the HLA-G protein plays a critical role in controlling the quality of the molecule reaching the cell surface; (iii) surface expression of truncated HLA-G molecules is possible, and (iv) HLA-G expression may be restricted to soluble HLA-G5. These data reveal that HLA-G presents specific cell trafficking pathways and strongly support the contention that the primary function of HLA-G is as of an inhibitor ligand for immune-competent cells.

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