Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G is a non-classical HLA class I molecule with known immune-modulatory functions. Our group identified a subset of human dendritic cells, named DC-10, that induce adaptive interleukin-10-producing T regulatory type 1 (Tr1) cells via the interleukin-10-dependent HLA-G/ILT4 pathway. In this study we aimed at defining the role of HLA-G in DC-10-mediated Tr1 cell differentiation. We analyzed phenotype, functions, and genetic variations in the 3’ untranslated region of the HLA-G locus of in vitro-differentiated DC-10 from 67 healthy donors. We showed that HLA-G expression on DC-10 is donor-dependent. Functional studies demonstrated that DC-10, independently of HLA-G expression, secrete interleukin-10 and negligible levels of interleukin-12. Interestingly, DC-10 with high HLA-G promote allo-specific anergic T cells that contain a significantly higher frequency of Tr1 cells, defined as interleukin-10-producing (P=0.0121) or CD49b+LAG-3+(P=0.0031) T cells, compared to DC-10 with low HLA-G. We found that the HLA-G expression on DC-10 is genetically imprinted, being associated with specific variations in the 3’ untranslated region of the gene, and it may be finely tuned by microRNA-mediated post-transcriptional regulation. These data highlight the important role of HLA-G in boosting DC-10 tolerogenic activity and confirm that interleukin-10 production by DC-10 is necessary but not sufficient to promote Tr1 cells at high frequency. These new insights into the role of HLA-G in DC-10-mediated induction of Tr1 cells provide additional information for clinical use in Tr1-or DC-10-based cell therapy approaches.
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