Molecular and cellular biochemistry

Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) generates soluble HLA-G1 by cell surface proteolytic shedding.

PMID 23737137


Human leukocyte antigen-G (HLA-G) molecules are non-classical HLA class I antigens with an important role in pregnancy immune regulation and inflammation control. Soluble HLA-G proteins can be generated through two mechanisms: alternative splicing and proteolytic release, which is known to be metalloprotease mediated. Among this class of enzymes, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) might be involved in the HLA-G1 membrane cleavage. Of particular interest are MMP-2 and MMP-9, which regulate the inflammatory process by cytokine and chemokine modulation. We evaluated the effect of MMP-9 and MMP-2 on HLA-G1 membrane shedding. In particular, we analyzed the in vitro effect of these two gelatinases on the secretion of HLA-G1 via proteolytic cleavage in 221-G1-transfected cell line, in JEG3 cell line, and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The results obtained by both cell lines showed the role of MMP-2 in HLA-G1 shedding. On the contrary, MMP-9 was not involved in this process. In addition, we identified three possible highly specific cleavage sites for MMP-2, whereas none were detected for MMP-9. This study suggests an effective link between MMP-2 and HLA-G1 shedding, increasing our knowledge on the regulatory machinery beyond HLA-G regulation in physiological and pathological conditions.