Surface expression of HLA-C antigen by human extravillous trophoblast

Placenta. 2000 May;21(4):376-87. doi: 10.1053/plac.1999.0496.


In this paper definitive evidence that the classical class I product, HLA-C, is expressed on the surface of normal trophoblast cells is provided. HLA-C transcripts were sequenced from cDNA isolated from first trimester trophoblast cells obtained by flow cytometric sorting. Both paternal and maternal alleles were transcribed. HLA-C proteins were demonstrated by biochemical analysis and found on the cell surface in association with beta(2)-microglobulin. Upregulation of cell surface HLA-C but not HLA-G expression after interferon (IFN)-gamma treatment was demonstrated by flow cytometric analysis. Immunohistology has confirmed HLA-C is expressed by all extravillous subpopulations in vivo. The question of whether trophoblast HLA-C molecules interact with decidual NK cells expressing killer Ig-like receptors (KIR) has also been addressed. Our results demonstrate that extravillous trophoblast expresses at least two HLA class I molecules, HLA-G and HLA-C on the cell surface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Surface / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Surface / genetics
  • Choriocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • HLA Antigens / biosynthesis
  • HLA-C Antigens / biosynthesis*
  • HLA-C Antigens / genetics
  • HLA-G Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Immunologic / immunology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Receptors, KIR
  • Receptors, KIR2DL1
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Trophoblasts / drug effects
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Up-Regulation
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / metabolism


  • Antigens, Surface
  • HLA Antigens
  • HLA-C Antigens
  • HLA-G Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • KIR2DL1 protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, KIR
  • Receptors, KIR2DL1
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • Interferon-gamma