Resistance of HLA-G and HLA-A2 transfectants to lysis by decidual NK cells

Cell Immunol. 1994 May;155(2):312-22. doi: 10.1006/cimm.1994.1125.


Trophoblast cells from normal first trimester pregnancies have been shown to express the nonclassical Class I molecule, HLA-G, which is nonpolymorphic and has a heavy chain of 40 kDa. These HLA-G-expressing trophoblast cells infiltrate into maternal decidua, which contains abundant uterine-specific CD56bright natural killer (NK) cells. We believe HLA-G may act as a protective molecule against decidual NK lysis and thus allow trophoblast survival in the maternal tissues. To test this hypothesis, we have constructed HLA-G and HLA-A2 transfectants using LCL 721.221 HLA-null cells. We observed that both of these antigens protected target cells from NK effectors isolated from decidua or peripheral blood, although the effect of HLA-G is not as marked as that of HLA-A2. Our results, therefore, show that in this experimental system expression of a nonclassical Class 1 HLA molecule is also correlated with NK resistance in the same way as a classical Class I HLA molecule.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cell Death
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Decidua / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HLA Antigens / genetics
  • HLA Antigens / immunology*
  • HLA-A2 Antigen / genetics
  • HLA-A2 Antigen / immunology*
  • HLA-G Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First / immunology
  • Transfection
  • Trophoblasts / immunology*


  • HLA Antigens
  • HLA-A2 Antigen
  • HLA-G Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I