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The biochemical properties of the HLA-C antigen differ substantially from those of HLA-A and -B molecules. For this reason, HLA-C diversity and expression at the cell surface are much lower than its counterparts and in consequence HLA-C-restricted responses have been infrequently detected and described. In this review we summarise the key differences between HLA-C and other class I molecules and provide an update on natural killer and T-cell responses restricted by HLA-C. We also discuss the different clinical settings associated with HLA-C alleles which mainly consist of autoimmune disorders, cancers and chronic infections. © 2011 The Authors. Immunology © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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