Hla-g expression in human mesenchymal stem cells (Mscs) is related to unique methylation pattern in the proximal promoter as well as gene body dna

B. Linju Yen, Hsiao Lin Hwa, Pei Ju Hsu, Pei Min Chen, Li Tzu Wang, Shih Sheng Jiang, Ko Jiunn Liu, Huey Kang Sytwu, Men Luh Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Multipotent human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) harbor clinically relevant immunomodulation, and HLA-G, a non-classical MHC class I molecule with highly restricted tissue expression, is one important molecule involved in these processes. Understanding of the natural regulatory mechanisms involved in expression of this elusive molecule has been difficult, with near exclusive reliance on cancer cell lines. We therefore studied the transcriptional control of HLA-G in primary isolated human bone marrow-(BM), human embryonic stem cell-derived (hE-), as well as placenta-derived MSCs (P-MSCs), and found that all 3 types of MSCs express 3 of the 7 HLA-G isoforms at the gene level; however, fibroblasts did not express HLA-G. Protein validation using BM-and P-MSCs demonstrated expression of 2 isoforms including a larger HLA-G-like protein. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) stimulation upregulated both gene and protein expression in MSCs but not the constitutively expressing JEG-3 cell line. Most interestingly in human MSCs and placental tissue, hypomethylation of CpG islands not only occurs on the HLA-G proximal promoter but also on the gene body as well, a pattern not seen in either of the 2 commonly used choriocarcinoma cell lines which may contribute to the unique HLA-G expression patterns and IFN-γ-responsiveness in MSCs. Our study implicates the importance of using normal cells and tissues for physiologic understanding of tissue-specific transcriptional regulation, and highlight the utility of human MSCs in unraveling the transcriptional regulation of HLA-G for better therapeutic application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5075
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow (BM)
  • DNA methylation
  • Embryonic stem cells (ESCs)
  • Gene body
  • HLA-G
  • Human
  • Interferon-γ (IFN-γ)
  • Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)
  • Placenta
  • Promoter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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