Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 341–352 | Cite as

The importance of HLA-G expression in embryos, trophoblast cells, and embryonic stem cells

  • Roberta Rizzo
  • Martine Vercammen
  • Hilde van de Velde
  • Peter A. Horn
  • Vera Rebmann
Multi-Author Review


The nonclassical HLA-G molecule is a trophoblast-specific molecule present in almost every pregnancy. It differs from classical HLA class I molecules by the low degree of allelic variants and the high diversity of protein structures. HLA-G is reported to be a tolerogenic molecule that acts on cells of both innate and adaptive immunity. At the maternal–fetal interface HLA-G seems to be responsible largely for the reprogramming of local maternal immune response. This review will focus on the HLA-G gene expression profile in pregnancy, in preimplantation embryos, and in human embryonic stem cells with emphasis on the structural diversity of the HLA-G protein and its potential functional and diagnostic implications.


HLA-G HLA-G isoforms Trophoblast cells Embryonic stem cells Embryo culture Preimplantation embryo 


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta Rizzo
    • 1
  • Martine Vercammen
    • 2
  • Hilde van de Velde
    • 3
    • 4
  • Peter A. Horn
    • 5
  • Vera Rebmann
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Experimental and Diagnostic Medicine, Section of Medical GeneticsUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly
  2. 2.Department of HematologyUniversitair Ziekenhuis (UZ) BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Centre for Reproductive MedicineUniversitair Ziekenhuis (UZ) BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Reproduction and GeneticsUniversitair Ziekenhuis (UZ) BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  5. 5.Institute for Transfusion MedicineUniversity Hospital of EssenEssenGermany

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