Metastasis-associated protein 3 (MTA3) is a constituent of the Mi-2/nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) protein complex that regulates gene expression by altering chromatin structure and can facilitate cohesin loading onto DNA. The biological function of MTA3 within the NuRD complex is unknown. Herein, we show that MTA3 was expressed highly in granulosa cell nuclei of all ovarian follicle stages and at lower levels in corpora lutea. We tested the hypothesis that MTA3-NuRD complex function is required for granulosa cell proliferation. In the ovary, MTA3 interacted with NuRD proteins CHD4 and HDAC1 and the core cohesin complex protein RAD21. In cultured mouse primary granulosa cells, depletion of endogenous MTA3 using RNA interference slowed cell proliferation; this effect was rescued by coexpression of exogenous MTA3. Slowing of cell proliferation correlated with a significant decrease in cyclin B1 and cyclin B2 expression. Granulosa cell populations lacking MTA3 contained a significantly higher percentage of cells in G2/M phase and a lower percentage in S phase compared with control cells. Furthermore, MTA3 depletion slowed entry into M phase as indicated by reduced phosphorylation of histone H3 at serine 10. These findings provide the first evidence to date that MTA3 interacts with NuRD and cohesin complex proteins in the ovary in vivo and regulates G2/M progression in proliferating granulosa cells.
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