Reversible protein phosphorylation, namely protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, is a fundamental regulatory mechanism in all aspects of biology. Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a dominant Ser/Thr protein phosphatase in mammalian cells and a principal tumor suppressor protein against oncogenic transformation. The core component of PP2A consists of the scaffolding subunit (A subunit) and the catalytic ubunit (C subunit). The methylation of the C subunit, controlled by the PP2A methyl transferase (PMT) and the PP2A methyl esterase (PME), is essential to the function of PP2A. The PP2A A-C hetero-dimer and the regulatory subunit (B subunit) assemble into a functional holoenzyme. The DMAvirus SV40 Small Tumor Antigen (ST) antagonizes the function of PP2A at least in part by competing with the B subunit for binding to the PP2A A-C hetero-dimer. The Dlpha4 protein antagonizes the normal function of PP2A by forming a complex with the C subunit of PP2A. Despite intense investigation, the structure and mechanisms of PP2A remain largely unknown. Systematic X-ray crystallographic and biochemical analyses of the PP2A core component, its regulatory proteins, and its modifying enzymes have been initiated. Significant progress has been achieved;the work proposed here will build on the preliminary results with the following specific aims: (1) Determination of the crystal structures of PME, PMT, and their cognate complexes with substrate/inhibitor. (2) Determination of the structure of the core component A-C hetero-dimer of PP2A. (3) Determination of the structure of a PP2A holoenzyme involving A-C hetero-dimer and a B subunit. (4) Determination of the structure of a PP2A A-C hetero-dimer bound to Small Tumor Antigen (ST). (5) Determination of the structure of Dlpha4 alone and in complex with the C subunit of PP2A. The proposed specific aims in this grant application represent an important and systematic effort to unravel the structural mechanisms of PP2A regulation. The generally excellent solution properties of the proteins and their cognate complexes make this undertaking feasible.
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