Transcriptional control of MHC genes in fetal trophoblast cells

  • van den Elsen P
  • Gobin S
  • van der Stoep N
 et al. 
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Tight control of MHC expression is essential for the outcome of a successful pregnancy. The lack of MHC class II and class I mediated antigen presentation by fetal trophoblast cells is an important mechanism to evade maternal immune recognition. Interestingly, the deficient expression of MHC class II molecules (HLA-DR, -DQ and -DP) and of the classical MHC class I molecules HLA-A and HLA-B is also noted after IFN-γ treatment in trophoblast-derived cell lines. Our studies show that in trophoblast cell lines the IFN-γ induced transactivation of HLA-A and HLA-B promoters is repressed. Furthermore, it was found that trophoblast cells lacked IFN-γ mediated induction of the class II transactivator (CIITA). This lack of CIITA expression in trophoblast cells is due to CIITA promoter hypermethylation. In addition to lack of CIITA expression, trophoblast cells also displayed a repressed expression of RFX5. Together, these observations reveal a silencing of multiple activation pathways that are critical to the transcriptional control of MHC class II and class I antigen presentation functions by trophoblast cells. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • IFN-γ
  • MHC
  • Transcription
  • Trophoblast cells

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  • Peter J. van den Elsen

  • Sam J.P. Gobin

  • Nienke van der Stoep

  • Gert Datema

  • Henk E. Viëtor

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