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Hum Immunol. 1994 Sep;41(1):79-86.

The HLA-G gene is expressed at a low mRNA level in different human cells and tissues.

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University Laboratory for Hematology and Biology of Blood Cells, University of Rennes I, France.


Recently, HLA-G transgenic mice were shown to exhibit transgene transcription in several extraembryonic tissues. To determine whether HLA-G mRNAs are also expressed in other human tissues, we have undertaken Northern blot and RT-PCR assays using HLA-G locus-specific probe and primers. These studies demonstrate that the HLA-G gene is transcribed in a variety of cells and adult tissues obtained from different individuals (peripheral blood leukocytes, placenta, skin, spleen, thymus, prostate, testicle, ovary, small intestine, colon, heart, brain, lung, liver, and kidney), as well as in fetal tissues (heart, lung, liver, and kidney). The HLA-G mRNA level observed in most tissues is orders of magnitude lower than the level of classic class I genes in the same tissues. RT-PCR studies have demonstrated that alternative splicing of the HLA-G primary transcript is different from tissue to tissue and could be regulated in a tissue-specific fashion. Sequencing of keratinocyte transcripts has confirmed previous observations: (a) three different alternative splicing transcripts are produced (a full-length transcript, an mRNA lacking exon 3, and a transcript devoid of exon 3 and 4) and (b) HLA-G polymorphism is limited in the coding regions. In view of this wide HLA-G tissue distribution, a new hypothesis dealing with possible HLA-G function is proposed.

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