Simian virus 40 (SV40) large-T antigen and the cellular protein p53 were phosphorylated in vivo by growing cells in the presence of 32Pi. The large-T/p53 complex was isolated by immunoprecipitation and used as a substrate for protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) consisting of the catalytic subunit (C) and the two regulatory subunits, A and B. Three different purified forms of PP2A, including free C, the AC form, and the ABC form, could readily dephosphorylate both proteins. With both large-T and p53, the C subunit was most active, followed by the AC form, which was more active than the ABC form. The activity of all three forms of PP2A toward these proteins was strongly stimulated by manganese ions and to a lesser extent by magnesium ions. The presence of complexed p53 did not affect the dephosphorylation of large-T antigen by PP2A. The dephosphorylation of individual phosphorylation sites of large-T and p53 were determined by two-dimensional peptide mapping. Individual sites within large-T and p53 were dephosphorylated at different rates by all three forms of PP2A. The phosphates at Ser-120 and Ser-123 of large-T, which affect binding to the origin of SV40 DNA, were removed most rapidly. Three of the six major phosphopeptides of p53 were readily dephosphorylated, while the remaining three were relatively resistant to PP2A. Dephosphorylation of most of the sites in large-T and p53 by the AC form was inhibited by SV40 small-t antigen. The inhibition was most apparent for those sites which were preferentially dephosphorylated. Inhibition was specific for the AC form; no effect was observed on the dephosphorylation of either protein by the free C subunit or the ABC form. The inhibitory effect of small-t on dephosphorylation by PP2A could explain its role in transformation.