Chen Y, Miyazaki J, Nishizawa H, Kurahashi H, Leach R, Wang K
Secreted by the placental trophoblast, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is an important hormone during pregnancy and is required for the maintenance of pregnancy. Previous studies have shown that dys-regulation of hCG expression is associated with preeclampsia. However, the exact relationship between altered hCG levels and development of preeclampsia is unknown. Metastasis associated protein 3 (MTA3), a chromatin remodeling protein, is abundantly expressed in the placental trophoblasts, but its function is unknown. In breast cancer, MTA3 has been shown to repress the expression of Snail and cell migration. However, whether MTA3 acts similarly in the trophoblast has not been investigated. In the present study, we examined the role of MTA3 in regulating the hCG β-subunit gene (gene name: CGB5) and Snail expression in the trophoblast cell line, BeWo, as well as its relevance to the high hCG expression levels seen in preeclampsia. First, we investigated MTA3 expression in preeclamptic placenta as compared to normal control placenta via gene expression microarray and qRT-PCR and found that MTA3 was significantly down-regulated, whereas both CGB5 and Snail were up-regulated in preeclamptic placenta. Secondly, we knocked down MTA3 gene in trophoblast cell line BeWo and found Snail and hCG were both up-regulated, suggesting that MTA3 represses Snail and hCG gene expression in trophoblasts. Next, we cloned the CGB5 and Snail promoters into the pGL3-basic vector individually and found that silencing of MTA3 by siRNA resulted in an increase of both CGB5 and Snail promoter activities. To confirm that this MTA3 inhibition is a direct effect, we performed a chromatin immune-precipitation (ChIP) assay and found that MTA3 occupied the proximal promoter regions of both Snail and hCG within BeWo cells. Furthermore, we examined MTA3 expression in placental trophoblast by immunohistochemistry and found that MTA3 expression was higher in villous cytotrophoblasts versus syncytiotrophoblasts, which supports an inverse association of MTA3 with hCG expression. Lastly, using the well-characterized trophoblast fusion model, we examined MTA3 and hCG levels in forskolin-treated BeWo cells and found that MTA3 down-regulation was accompanied by an up-regulation of hCG. These data further suggest that MTA3 is repressing placental hCG expression. In summary, MTA3 plays a critical role in repressing hCG and Snail in placenta trophoblast and its deregulation is associated with preeclampsia.