HLA-G Genotype/Expression/Disease Association Studies: Success, Hurdles, and Perspectives

Giada Amodio, Silvia Gregori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The non-classical HLA-G is a well-known immune-modulatory molecule. In physiological condition, HLA-G surface expression is restricted to the maternal–fetal interface and to immune-privileged adult tissues, whereas soluble forms of HLA-G are detectable in various body fluids. HLA-G can be de novo expressed in pathological conditions including tumors, chronic infections, or after allogeneic transplantation. HLA-G exerts positive effects modulating innate and adaptive immune responses and promoting tolerance, or detrimental effects inducing immune escape mechanisms. HLA-G locus, in contrast to classical HLA class I gene, is highly polymorphic in the non-coding 3′ untranslated region (UTR) and in the 5′ upstream regulatory region (5′ URR). Variability in these regions influences HLA-G expression by modifying mRNA stability or allowing posttranscriptional regulation in the case of 3′ UTR or by sensing the microenvironment and responding to specific stimuli in the case of HLA-G promoter regions (5′ URR). The influence of genetic variations on the expression of HLA-G makes it an attractive biomarker to monitor disease predisposition and progression, or response to therapy. Here, we summarize the current knowledge, efforts, and obstacles to generate a general consensus on the correlation between HLA-G genetic variability, protein expression, and disease predisposition. Moreover, we discuss perspectives for future investigation on HLA-G genotype/expression in association with disease predisposition and progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1178
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 8 2020


  • autoimmune diseases
  • cancer
  • HLA-G
  • HLA-G polymorphisms
  • immune regulation
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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