, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 369-395,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Nov 2010

Implications of the polymorphism of HLA-G on its function, regulation, evolution and disease association

Abstract

The HLA-G gene displays several peculiarities that are distinct from those of classical HLA class I genes. The unique structure of the HLA-G molecule permits a restricted peptide presentation and allows the modulation of the cells of the immune system. Although polymorphic sites may potentially influence all biological functions of HLA-G, those present at the promoter and 3′ untranslated regions have been particularly studied in experimental and pathological conditions. The relatively low polymorphism observed in the MHC-G coding region both in humans and apes may represent a strong selective pressure for invariance, whereas, in regulatory regions several lines of evidence support the role of balancing selection. Since HLA-G has immunomodulatory properties, the understanding of gene regulation and the role of polymorphic sites on gene function may permit an individualized approach for the future use of HLA-G for therapeutic purposes.