Expression of TAP1 by human trophoblast.
Clover LM., Sargent IL., Townsend A., Tampé R., Redman CW.
Successful placentation in the human is dependent on the trophoblast evading recognition and destruction by the maternal immune system. However, invasive cytotrophoblast express HLA-G which may be able to present peptide to T cells. Transporter proteins are essential for peptide presentation and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I assembly. We have determined their expression by trophoblast in relation to HLA-G, using immunohistochemistry. Anti-transporter protein antibody (TAP1) labeling closely paralleled that of MHC class I, but the intensity of its expression was much greater on the HLA-G+ extravillous cytotrophoblast than any other fetal or maternal tissue in the first trimester and at term. This suggests that the extravillous cytotrophoblast are very actively assembling MHC class I antigens with peptides. However, expression of MHC class I by the cytotrophoblast was not correspondingly elevated. This pattern could result from HLA-G being shed from the surface of the trophoblast, a process which may play a central role in protecting the fetus from maternal immune attack.