Howangyin KY, Loustau M, Wu J, Alegre E, Daouya M, Caumartin J, et al. Multimeric structures of HLA-G isoforms function through differential binding to LILRB receptors. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 Jul 17;69(23):4041-4049.
The non-classical Human leukocyte antigen G (HLA-G) differs from classical HLA class I molecules by its low genetic diversity, a tissue-restricted expression, the existence of seven isoforms, and immuno-inhibitory functions. Most of the known functions of HLA-G concern the membrane-bound HLA-G1 and soluble HLA-G5 isoforms, which present the typical structure of classical HLA class I molecule: a heavy chain of three globular domains α(1)-α(2)-α(3) non-covalently bound to β-2-microglobulin (B2M) and a peptide. Very little is known of the structural features and functions of other HLA-G isoforms or structural conformations other than B2M-associated HLA-G1 and HLA-G5. In the present work, we studied the capability of all isoforms to form homomultimers, and investigated whether they could bind to, and function through, the known HLA-G receptors LILRB1 and LILRB2. We report that all HLA-G isoforms may form homodimers, demonstrating for the first time the existence of HLA-G4 dimers. We also report that the HLA-G α(1)-α(3) structure, which constitutes the extracellular part of HLA-G2 and HLA-G6, binds the LILRB2 receptor but not LILRB1. This is the first report of a receptor for a truncated HLA-G isoform. Following up on this finding, we show that the α(1)-α(3)-Fc structure coated on agarose beads is tolerogenic and capable of prolonging the survival of skin allografts in B6-mice and in a LILRB2-transgenic mouse model. This study is the first proof of concept that truncated HLA-G isoforms could be used as therapeutic agents.