HLA-G is an effective ligand of natural killer (NK) inhibitory receptors, HLA-G transcripts have been detected in several human tumors, and cytokines like γ interferon (IFN) enable HLA-G molecules to be expressed. These findings are particularly upsetting in case of melanomas: IFN treatment is frequently included in melanoma therapeutic protocols, and downregulation of classical class I molecules occurs in nearly half of these tumors. Therefore, a melanoma cell downregulating classical class I and de novo expressing HLA-G, either constitutively or upon IFN treatment, is probably a stealthy target for the immune system, having inhibited both the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) and the NK activity. To elucidate this point we have investigated the expression of HLA-G molecules in 45 melanoma cell lines before and after γIFN treatment. Analysis was performed by immunofluorescence and flow cytometry, using the anti-HLA-G MoAbs 87G and G233, by Western blot, using the anti-HLA-G MEM/G1 MoAb and PAG1 antiserum, and by RT-PCR analysis. In addition, 8 melanoma tissues from patients free from therapy and 6 nevi were studied by immunohistochemistry using the 87G MoAb. No evidence was gathered of HLA-G expression, neither constitutive nor, in cell lines, after γIFN treatment. We therefore conclude that HLA-G expression is an uncommon event in melanomas, and that a therapy including IFNs cannot harm the patient by inducing the de novo expression of HLA-G molecules at least in its G1 isoform.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology