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1.  Circumventing Cellular Control of PP2A by Methylation Promotes Transformation in an Akt-Dependent Manner1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2012;14(7):585-599.
Heterotrimeric protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) consists of catalytic C (PP2Ac), structural A, and regulatory B-type subunits, and its dysfunction has been linked to cancer. Reversible methylation of PP2Ac by leucine carboxyl methyltransferase 1 (LCMT-1) and protein phosphatase methylesterase 1 (PME-1) differentially regulates B-type subunit binding and thus PP2A function. Polyomavirus middle (PyMT) and small (PyST) tumor antigens and SV40 small tumor antigen (SVST) are oncoproteins that block PP2A function by replacing certain B-type subunits, resulting in cellular transformation. Whereas the B-type subunits replaced by these oncoproteins seem to exhibit a binding preference for methylated PP2Ac, PyMT does not. We hypothesize that circumventing the normal cellular control of PP2A by PP2Ac methylation is a general strategy for ST- and MT-mediated transformation. Two predictions of this hypothesis are (1) that PyST and SVST also bind PP2A in a methylation-insensitive manner and (2) that down-regulation of PP2Ac methylation will activate progrowth and prosurvival signaling and promote transformation. We found that SVST and PyST, like PyMT, indeed form PP2A heterotrimers independently of PP2Ac methylation. In addition, reducing PP2Ac methylation through LCMT-1 knockdown or PME-1 overexpression enhanced transformation by activating the Akt and p70/p85 S6 kinase (S6K) pathways, pathways also activated by MT and ST oncoproteins. These results support the hypothesis that MT and ST oncoproteins circumvent cellular control of PP2A by methylation to promote transformation. They also implicate LCMT-1 as a negative regulator of Akt and p70/p85 S6K. Therefore, disruption of PP2Ac methylation may contribute to cancer, and modulation of this methylation may serve as an anticancer target.
PMCID: PMC3421955  PMID: 22904676
2.  Leucine Carboxyl Methyltransferase-1 Is Necessary for Normal Progression through Mitosis in Mammalian Cells* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2007;282(42):30974-30984.
Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a multifunctional phosphatase that plays important roles in many cellular processes including regulation of cell cycle and apoptosis. Because PP2A is involved in so many diverse processes, it is highly regulated by both non-covalent and covalent mechanisms that are still being defined. In this study we have investigated the importance of leucine carboxyl methyltransferase-1 (LCMT-1) for PP2A methylation and cell function. We show that reduction of LCMT-1 protein levels by small hairpin RNAs causes up to a 70% reduction in PP2A methylation in HeLa cells, indicating that LCMT-1 is the major mammalian PP2A methyltransferase. In addition, LCMT-1 knockdown reduced the formation of PP2A heterotrimers containing the Bα regulatory subunit and, in a subset of the cells, induced apoptosis, characterized by caspase activation, nuclear condensation/fragmentation, and membrane blebbing. Knockdown of the PP2A Bα regulatory subunit induced a similar amount of apoptosis, suggesting that LCMT-1 induces apoptosis in part by disrupting the formation of PP2ABαAC heterotrimers. Treatment with a pancaspase inhibitor partially rescued cells from apoptosis induced by LCMT-1 or Bα knockdown. LCMT-1 knockdown cells and Bα knockdown cells were more sensitive to the spindle-targeting drug nocodazole, suggesting that LCMT-1 and Bα are important for spindle checkpoint. Treatment of LCMT-1 and Bα knockdown cells with thymidine dramatically reduced cell death, presumably by blocking progression through mitosis. Consistent with these results, homozygous gene trap knock-out of LCMT-1 in mice resulted in embryonic lethality. Collectively, our results indicate that LCMT-1 is important for normal progression through mitosis and cell survival and is essential for embryonic development in mice.
PMCID: PMC3516869  PMID: 17724024
3.  Carboxymethylation of the PP2A Catalytic Subunit in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Is Required for Efficient Interaction with the B-type Subunits Cdc55p and Rts1p* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2001;276(2):1570-1577.
Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is an essential eukaryotic serine/threonine phosphatase known to play important roles in cell cycle regulation. Association of different B-type targeting subunits with the heterodimeric core (A/C) enzyme is known to be an important mechanism of regulating PP2A activity, substrate specificity, and localization. However, how the binding of these targeting subunits to the A/C heterodimer might be regulated is unknown. We have used the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system to investigate the hypothesis that covalent modification of the C subunit (Pph21p/Pph22p) carboxyl terminus modulates PP2A complex formation. Two approaches were taken. First, S. cerevisiae cells were generated whose survival depended on the expression of different carboxyl-terminal Pph21p mutants. Second, the major S. cerevisiae methyltransferase (Ppm1p) that catalyzes the methylation of the PP2A C subunit carboxyl-terminal leucine was identified, and cells deleted for this methyltransferase were utilized for our studies. Our results demonstrate that binding of the yeast B subunit, Cdc55p, to Pph21p was disrupted by either acidic substitution of potential carboxyl-terminal phosphorylation sites on Pph21p or by deletion of the gene for Ppm1p. Loss of Cdc55p association was accompanied in each case by a large reduction in binding of the yeast A subunit, Tpd3p, to Pph21p. Moreover, decreased Cdc55p and Tpd3p binding invariably resulted in nocodazole sensitivity, a known phenotype of CDC55 or TPD3 deletion. Furthermore, loss of methylation also greatly reduced the association of another yeast B-type subunit, Rts1p. Thus, methylation of Pph21p is important for formation of PP2A trimeric and dimeric complexes, and consequently, for PP2A function. Taken together, our results indicate that methylation and phosphorylation may be mechanisms by which the cell dynamically regulates PP2A complex formation and function.
PMCID: PMC3508460  PMID: 11038366
4.  WD40 Repeat Proteins Striatin and S/G2 Nuclear Autoantigen Are Members of a Novel Family of Calmodulin-binding Proteins That Associate with Protein Phosphatase 2A* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2000;275(8):5257-5263.
Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a multifunctional serine/threonine phosphatase that is critical to many cellular processes including development, neuronal signaling, cell cycle regulation, and viral transformation. PP2A has been implicated in Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways, but how PP2A is targeted to these pathways is not understood. We have identified two calmodulin (CaM)-binding proteins that form stable complexes with the PP2A A/C heterodimer and may represent a novel family of PP2A B-type subunits. These two proteins, striatin and S/G2 nuclear autoantigen (SG2NA), are highly related WD40 repeat proteins of previously unknown function and distinct subcellular localizations. Striatin has been reported to associate with the postsynaptic densities of neurons, whereas SG2NA has been reported to be a nuclear protein expressed primarily during the S and G2 phases of the cell cycle. We show that SG2NA, like striatin, binds to CaM in a Ca2+-dependent manner. In addition to CaM and PP2A, several unidentified proteins stably associate with the striatin-PP2A and SG2NA-PP2A complexes. Thus, one mechanism of targeting and organizing PP2A with components of Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways may be through the molecular scaffolding proteins striatin and SG2NA.
PMCID: PMC3505218  PMID: 10681496
5.  A Protein Phosphatase Methylesterase (PME-1) Is One of Several Novel Proteins Stably Associating with Two Inactive Mutants of Protein Phosphatase 2A* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  1999;274(20):14382-14391.
Carboxymethylation of proteins is a highly conserved means of regulation in eukaryotic cells. The protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) catalytic (C) subunit is reversibly methylated at its carboxyl terminus by specific methyltransferase and methylesterase enzymes which have been purified, but not cloned. Carboxymethylation affects PP2A activity and varies during the cell cycle. Here, we report that substitution of glutamine for either of two putative active site histidines in the PP2A C subunit results in inactivation of PP2A and formation of stable complexes between PP2A and several cellular proteins. One of these cellular proteins, herein named protein phosphatase methylesterase-1 (PME-1), was purified and microsequenced, and its cDNA was cloned. PME-1 is conserved from yeast to human and contains a motif found in lipases having a catalytic triad-activated serine as their active site nucleophile. Bacterially expressed PME-1 demethylated PP2A C subunit in vitro, and okadaic acid, a known inhibitor of the PP2A methylesterase, inhibited this reaction. To our knowledge, PME-1 represents the first mammalian protein methylesterase to be cloned. Several lines of evidence indicate that, although there appears to be a role for C subunit carboxyl-terminal amino acids in PME-1 binding, amino acids other than those at the extreme carboxyl terminus of the C subunit also play an important role in PME-1 binding to a catalytically inactive mutant.
PMCID: PMC3503312  PMID: 10318862
6.  A Mammalian Homolog of Yeast MOB1 Is Both a Member and a Putative Substrate of Striatin Family-Protein Phosphatase 2A Complexes* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2001;276(26):24253-24260.
Striatin and S/G2 nuclear autoantigen (SG2NA) are related proteins that contain membrane binding domains and associate with protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and many additional proteins that may be PP2A regulatory targets. Here we identify a major member of these complexes as class II mMOB1, a mammalian homolog of the yeast protein MOB1, and show that its phosphorylation appears to be regulated by PP2A. Yeast MOB1 is critical for cytoskeletal reorganization during cytokinesis and exit from mitosis. We show that mMOB1 associated with PP2A is not detectably phosphorylated in asynchronous murine fibroblasts. However, treatment with the PP2A inhibitor okadaic acid induces phosphorylation of PP2A-associated mMOB1 on serine. Moreover, specific inhibition of PP2A also results in hyperphosphorylation of striatin, SG2NA, and three unidentified proteins, suggesting that these proteins may also be regulated by PP2A. Indirect immunofluorescence produced highly similar staining patterns for striatin, SG2NA, and mMOB1, with the highest concentrations for each protein adjacent to the nuclear membrane. We also present evidence that these complexes may interact with each other. These data are consistent with a model in which PP2A may regulate mMOB1, striatin, and SG2NA to modulate changes in the cytoskeleton or interactions between the cytoskeleton and membrane structures.
PMCID: PMC3503316  PMID: 11319234
7.  Protein phosphatase 2a (PP2A) binds within the oligomerization domain of striatin and regulates the phosphorylation and activation of the mammalian Ste20-Like kinase Mst3 
BMC Biochemistry  2011;12:54.
Striatin, a putative protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) B-type regulatory subunit, is a multi-domain scaffolding protein that has recently been linked to several diseases including cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), which causes symptoms ranging from headaches to stroke. Striatin association with the PP2A A/C (structural subunit/catalytic subunit) heterodimer alters PP2A substrate specificity, but targets and roles of striatin-associated PP2A are not known. In addition to binding the PP2A A/C heterodimer to form a PP2A holoenzyme, striatin associates with cerebral cavernous malformation 3 (CCM3) protein, the mammalian Mps one binder (MOB) homolog, Mob3/phocein, the mammalian sterile 20-like (Mst) kinases, Mst3, Mst4 and STK25, and several other proteins to form a large signaling complex. Little is known about the molecular architecture of the striatin complex and the regulation of these sterile 20-like kinases.
To help define the molecular organization of striatin complexes and to determine whether Mst3 might be negatively regulated by striatin-associated PP2A, a structure-function analysis of striatin was performed. Two distinct regions of striatin are capable of stably binding directly or indirectly to Mob3--one N-terminal, including the coiled-coil domain, and another more C-terminal, including the WD-repeat domain. In addition, striatin residues 191-344 contain determinants necessary for efficient association of Mst3, Mst4, and CCM3. PP2A associates with the coiled-coil domain of striatin, but unlike Mob3 and Mst3, its binding appears to require striatin oligomerization. Deletion of the caveolin-binding domain on striatin abolishes striatin family oligomerization and PP2A binding. Point mutations in striatin that disrupt PP2A association cause hyperphosphorylation and activation of striatin-associated Mst3.
Striatin orchestrates the regulation of Mst3 by PP2A. It binds Mst3 likely as a dimer with CCM3 via residues lying between striatin's calmodulin-binding and WD-domains and recruits the PP2A A/C heterodimer to its coiled-coil/oligomerization domain. Residues outside the previously reported coiled-coil domain of striatin are necessary for its oligomerization. Striatin-associated PP2A is critical for Mst3 dephosphorylation and inactivation. Upon inhibition of PP2A, Mst3 activation appears to involve autophosphorylation of multiple activation loop phosphorylation sites. Mob3 can associate with striatin sequences C-terminal to the Mst3 binding site but also with sequences proximal to striatin-associated PP2A, consistent with a possible role for Mob 3 in the regulation of Mst3 by PP2A.
PMCID: PMC3217859  PMID: 21985334
8.  The Adenovirus E4orf4 Protein Induces G2/M Arrest and Cell Death by Blocking Protein Phosphatase 2A Activity Regulated by the B55 Subunit▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(17):8340-8352.
Human adenovirus E4orf4 protein is toxic in human tumor cells. Its interaction with the Bα subunit of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is critical for cell killing; however, the effect of E4orf4 binding is not known. Bα is one of several mammalian B-type regulatory subunits that form PP2A holoenzymes with A and C subunits. Here we show that E4orf4 protein interacts uniquely with B55 family subunits and that cell killing increases with the level of E4orf4 expression. Evidence suggesting that Bα-specific PP2A activity, measured in vitro against phosphoprotein substrates, is reduced by E4orf4 binding was obtained, and two potential B55-specific PP2A substrates, 4E-BP1 and p70S6K, were seen to be hypophosphorylated in vivo following expression of E4orf4. Furthermore, treatment of cells with low levels of the phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid or coexpression of the PP2A inhibitor I1PP2A enhanced E4orf4-induced cell killing and G2/M arrest significantly. These results suggested that E4orf4 toxicity results from the inhibition of B55-specific PP2A holoenzymes, an idea that was strengthened by an observed growth arrest resulting from treatment of H1299 cells with Bα-specific RNA interference. We believe that E4orf4 induces growth arrest resulting in cell death by reducing the global level of B55-specific PP2A activity, thus preventing the dephosphorylation of B55-specific PP2A substrates, including those involved in cell cycle progression.
PMCID: PMC2738146  PMID: 19535438
9.  Cdc55p-Mediated E4orf4 Growth Inhibition in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Is Mediated Only in Part via the Catalytic Subunit of Protein Phosphatase 2A▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(7):3612-3623.
The adenovirus early region 4 open reading frame 4 (E4orf4) protein specifically induces p53-independent cell death of transformed but not normal human cells, suggesting that elucidation of its mechanism may provide important new avenues for cancer therapy. Wild-type E4orf4 and mutants that retain cancer cell toxicity also induce growth inhibition in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which provides a genetically tractable system for studying E4orf4 function. Interaction with the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) B regulatory subunit is required for E4orf4's effects, suggesting that E4orf4 may function by regulating B subunit-containing heterotrimeric PP2A holoenzymes (PP2ABAC), which consist of a B subunit complexed with the PP2A structural (A) and catalytic (C) subunits. However, it is not known whether E4orf4-induced growth inhibition requires interaction with the PP2A C subunit or whether E4orf4 might have PP2A B subunit-dependent effects that are independent of PP2ABAC holoenzyme formation. To test these possibilities in S. cerevisiae, we disrupted the stable formation of PP2ABAC heterotrimers and thus E4orf4/C subunit association by PP2A C subunit point mutations or by deletion of the gene for the PP2A methyltransferase, Ppm1p, and assayed for effects on E4orf4-induced growth inhibition. Our results support a model in which E4orf4 mediates growth inhibition and cell killing both through PP2ABAC heterotrimers and through a B regulatory subunit-dependent pathway(s) that is independent of stable complex formation with the PP2A C subunit. They also indicate that Ppm1p has a function other than regulating the assembly of PP2A heterotrimers and suggest that selective PP2A trimer inhibitors and PP6 inhibitors may be useful as adjuvant anticancer therapies.
PMCID: PMC2268493  PMID: 18216111
10.  A Novel Assay for Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) Complexes In Vivo Reveals Differential Effects of Covalent Modifications on Different Saccharomyces cerevisiae PP2A Heterotrimers 
Eukaryotic Cell  2005;4(6):1029-1040.
Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) catalytic subunit can be covalently modified at its carboxy terminus by phosphorylation or carboxymethylation. Determining the effects of these covalent modifications on the relative amounts and functions of different PP2A heterotrimers is essential to understanding how these modifications regulate PP2A-controlled cellular processes. In this study we have validated and used a novel in vivo assay for assessing PP2A heterotrimer formation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: the measurement of heterotrimer-dependent localization of green fluorescent protein-PP2A subunits. This assay relies on the fact that the correct cellular localization of PP2A requires that it be fully assembled. Thus, reduced localization would occur as the result of the inability to assemble a stable heterotrimer. Using this assay, we determined the effects of PP2A C-subunit phosphorylation mimic mutations and reduction or loss of PP2A methylation on the formation and localization of PP2AB/Cdc55p and PP2AB′/Rts1p heterotrimers. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that phosphorylation and methylation of the PP2A catalytic subunit can influence its function both by regulating the total amount of specific PP2A heterotrimers within a cell and by altering the relative proportions of PP2AB/Cdc55p and PP2AB′/Rts1p heterotrimers up to 10-fold. Thus, these posttranslational modifications allow flexible, yet highly coordinated, regulation of PP2A-dependent signaling pathways that in turn modulate cell growth and function.
PMCID: PMC1151991  PMID: 15947195
11.  Analysis of the Adenovirus E1B-55K-Anchored Proteome Reveals Its Link to Ubiquitination Machinery 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(18):9194-9206.
During the early phase of infection, the E1B-55K protein of adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) counters the E1A-induced stabilization of p53, whereas in the late phase, E1B-55K modulates the preferential nucleocytoplasmic transport and translation of the late viral mRNAs. The mechanism(s) by which E1B-55K performs these functions has not yet been clearly elucidated. In this study, we have taken a proteomics-based approach to identify and characterize novel E1B-55K-associated proteins. A multiprotein E1B-55K-containing complex was immunopurified from Ad5-infected HeLa cells and found to contain E4-orf6, as well as several cellular factors previously implicated in the ubiquitin-proteasome-mediated destruction of proteins, including Cullin-5, Rbx1/ROC1/Hrt1, and Elongins B and C. We further demonstrate that a complex containing these as well as other proteins is capable of directing the polyubiquitination of p53 in vitro. These ubiquitin ligase components were found in a high-molecular-mass complex of 800 to 900 kDa. We propose that these newly identified binding partners (Cullin-5, Elongins B and C, and Rbx1) complex with E1B-55K and E4-orf6 during Ad infection to form part of an E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets specific protein substrates for degradation. We further suggest that E1B-55K functions as the principal substrate recognition component of this SCF-type ubiquitin ligase, whereas E4-orf6 may serve to nucleate the assembly of the complex. Lastly, we describe the identification and characterization of two novel E1B-55K interacting factors, importin-α1 and pp32, that may also participate in the functions previously ascribed to E1B-55K and E4-orf6.
PMCID: PMC136464  PMID: 12186903
12.  Catalytically Inactive Protein Phosphatase 2A Can Bind to Polyomavirus Middle Tumor Antigen and Support Complex Formation with pp60c-src 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(9):7390-7398.
Interaction between the heterodimeric form of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and polyomavirus middle T antigen (MT) is required for the subsequent assembly of a transformation-competent MT complex. To investigate the role of PP2A catalytic activity in MT complex formation, we undertook a mutational analysis of the PP2A 36-kDa catalytic C subunit. Several residues likely to be involved in the dephosphorylation mechanism were identified and mutated. The resultant catalytically inactive C subunit mutants were then analyzed for their ability to associate with a cellular (B subunit) or a viral (MT) B-type subunit. Strikingly, while all of the inactive mutants were severely impaired in their interaction with B subunit, most of these mutants formed complexes with polyomavirus MT. These findings indicate a potential role for these catalytically important residues in complex formation with cellular B subunit, but not in complex formation with MT. Transformation-competent MT is known to associate with, and modulate the activity of, several cellular proteins, including pp60c-src family kinases. To determine whether association of MT with an active PP2A A-C heterodimer is necessary for subsequent association with pp60c-src, catalytically inactive C subunits were examined for their ability to form complexes containing pp60c-src in MT-expressing cells. Two catalytically inactive C subunit mutants that efficiently formed complexes with MT also formed complexes that included an active pp60c-src kinase, demonstrating that PP2A activity is not essential in cis in MT complexes for subsequent pp60c-src association.
PMCID: PMC104266  PMID: 10438829
13.  Serine 257 Phosphorylation Regulates Association of Polyomavirus Middle T Antigen with 14-3-3 Proteins 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(1):558-563.
Polyomavirus middle T antigen (MT) is phosphorylated on serine residues. Partial proteolytic mapping and Edman degradation identified serine 257 as a major site of phosphorylation. This was confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis. Isoelectric focusing of immunoprecipitated MT from transfected 293T cells showed that phosphorylation on wild-type MT occurred at near molar stoichiometry at S257. MT was previously shown to be associated with 14-3-3 proteins, which have been connected to cell cycle regulation and signaling. The association of 14-3-3 proteins with MT depended on the serine 257 phosphorylation site. This has been demonstrated by comparing wild-type and S257A mutant MTs expressed with transfected 293T cells or with Sf9 cells infected with recombinant baculoviruses. The 257 site is not critical for transformation of fibroblasts in vitro, since S257A and S257C mutant MTs retained the ability to form foci or colonies in agar. The tumor profile of a virus expressing S257C MT showed a striking deficiency in the induction of salivary gland tumors. The basis for this defect is uncertain. However, differences in activity for the wild type and mutant MT lacking the 14-3-3 binding site have been observed in transient reporter assays.
PMCID: PMC109408  PMID: 9420259
14.  Methylation of the Protein Phosphatase 2A Catalytic Subunit Is Essential for Association of Bα Regulatory Subunit But Not SG2NA, Striatin, or Polyomavirus Middle Tumor Antigen 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2001;12(1):185-199.
Binding of different regulatory subunits and methylation of the catalytic (C) subunit carboxy-terminal leucine 309 are two important mechanisms by which protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) can be regulated. In this study, both genetic and biochemical approaches were used to investigate regulation of regulatory subunit binding by C subunit methylation. Monoclonal antibodies selectively recognizing unmethylated C subunit were used to quantitate the methylation status of wild-type and mutant C subunits. Analysis of 13 C subunit mutants showed that both carboxy-terminal and active site residues are important for maintaining methylation in vivo. Severe impairment of methylation invariably led to a dramatic decrease in Bα subunit binding but not of striatin, SG2NA, or polyomavirus middle tumor antigen (MT) binding. In fact, most unmethylated C subunit mutants showed enhanced binding to striatin and SG2NA. Certain carboxy-terminal mutations decreased Bα subunit binding without greatly affecting methylation, indicating that Bα subunit binding is not required for a high steady-state level of C subunit methylation. Demethylation of PP2A in cell lysates with recombinant PP2A methylesterase greatly decreased the amount of C subunit that could be coimmunoprecipitated via the Bα subunit but not the amount that could be coimmunoprecipitated with Aα subunit or MT. When C subunit methylation levels were greatly reduced in vivo, Bα subunits were found complexed exclusively to methylated C subunits, whereas striatin and SG2NA in the same cells bound both methylated and unmethylated C subunits. Thus, C subunit methylation is critical for assembly of PP2A heterotrimers containing Bα subunit but not for formation of heterotrimers containing MT, striatin, or SG2NA. These findings suggest that methylation may be able to selectively regulate the association of certain regulatory subunits with the A/C heterodimer.
PMCID: PMC30577  PMID: 11160832

Results 1-14 (14)