The lymphocyte differentiation marker CD8 acts as a coreceptor with the T cell receptor (TCR) during recognition of peptide presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. The functions of CD8 in the TCR complex are thought to be signaling through the association of CD8 with the protein tyrosine kinase p56lck and adhesion to MHC class I through the alpha 3 domain. While the ability of the CD8 alpha/alpha homodimer to bind to classical MHC class I molecules has been shown, it is unclear whether CD8 can also bind nonclassical molecules. Of particular interest is human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G which is expressed on placental cytotrophoblast cells. These cells do not express HLA-A, -B and -C molecules. In this report, we demonstrate that CD8 can bind to HLA-G. It is possible, therefore, that a cell bearing CD8 may interact with HLA-G-expressing cells.

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