Natural killer cell-mediated recognition of human trophoblast

Roberto Biassoni, Cristina Bottino, Romano Millo, Lorenzo Moretta, Alessandro Moretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Large numbers of natural killer cells are present within the maternal decidua close to the extraneously trophoblast cells. Most of these natural killer cells express high levels of inhibitory NK receptors (KIR) specific for HLA class I molecules. Since trophoblast cells only express HLA-C and HLA-G, the KIR expressed by decidual NK cells can only recognize these HLA class I molecules in order to avoid Intimidated rejection of fetal tissues. We show that HLA-C recognition by decidual NK cells can be mediated by p58, LIR-1 and (indirectly) by CD94/NKG2A receptors. On the other hand, HLA-G recognition is not only mediated by LIR-1 and (indirectly) by CD94-NKG2A but also by a newly identified receptor termed p49. The p49 receptor, unlike the other KIR, appears to be selectively expressed by decidual NK cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999


  • HLA
  • ITAM
  • ITIM
  • KIR
  • NK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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