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Development. 2008 Sep;135(17):2927-37. doi: 10.1242/dev.020842.

Two highly related regulatory subunits of PP2A exert opposite effects on TGF-beta/Activin/Nodal signalling.

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  • 1Laboratory of Developmental Signalling, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, UK.


We identify Balpha (PPP2R2A) and Bdelta (PPP2R2D), two highly related members of the B family of regulatory subunits of the protein phosphatase PP2A, as important modulators of TGF-beta/Activin/Nodal signalling that affect the pathway in opposite ways. Knockdown of Balpha in Xenopus embryos or mammalian tissue culture cells suppresses TGF-beta/Activin/Nodal-dependent responses, whereas knockdown of Bdelta enhances these responses. Moreover, in Drosophila, overexpression of Smad2 rescues a severe wing phenotype caused by overexpression of the single Drosophila PP2A B subunit Twins. We show that, in vertebrates, Balpha enhances TGF-beta/Activin/Nodal signalling by stabilising the basal levels of type I receptor, whereas Bdelta negatively modulates these pathways by restricting receptor activity. Thus, these highly related members of the same subfamily of PP2A regulatory subunits differentially regulate TGF-beta/Activin/Nodal signalling to elicit opposing biological outcomes.

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