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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Downregulation of HLA class I gene transcription in choriocarcinoma cells is controlled by the proximal promoter element and can be reversed by CIITA.

The expression pattern of MHC class I genes in trophoblast cells at the feto-maternal interface is thought to be the basis of the maintenance of pregnancy by protecting the fetus from maternal immune rejection. Transcription of classical HLA class I genes is low or undetectable in most trophoblast cells as well as in JEG-3 and BeWo trophoblast-derived choriocarcinoma cells. The aim of this study was to characterize the regulatory mechanisms that repress HLA-A transcription in these cell types. We show that the -335 to ATG region of the HLA-A11 gene promoter is inactive in JEG-3 and BeWo cells while able to control efficient reporter gene transcription in other cell types, indicating that this region is the target for downregulation of HLA-A expression in choriocarcinoma cell lines. The regulatory sequence involved in HLA-A gene repression was further mapped to a proximal regulatory element within the -107 to +2 ATG region of the promoter. We show that the HLA-A promoter activity cannot be induced by interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and that exogenous MHC class II transactivator CIITA is able to induce HLA class I promoter activity in these cells. Stringent transcriptional regulatory mechanisms, implicating the lack of basal and IFN-gamma-inducible class I promoter activity, are thus involved in the downregulation of HLA-A expression in JEG-3 and BeWo trophoblast-derived choriocarcinoma cells.[1]


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