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Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Oct;24(19):8778-89.

Protein phosphatase 2A negatively regulates insulin's metabolic signaling pathway by inhibiting Akt (protein kinase B) activity in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Shiga University of Medical Science, Otsu, Japan.


Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a multimeric serine/threonine phosphatase which has multiple functions, including inhibition of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway. Simian virus 40 small t antigen specifically inhibits PP2A function by binding to the PP2A regulatory subunit, interfering with the ability of PP2A to associate with its cellular substrates. We have reported that the expression of small t antigen inhibits PP2A association with Shc, leading to augmentation of insulin and epidermal growth factor-induced Shc phosphorylation with enhanced activation of the Ras/MAP kinase pathway. However, the potential involvement of PP2A in insulin's metabolic signaling pathway is presently unknown. To assess this, we overexpressed small t antigen in 3T3-L1 adipocytes by adenovirus-mediated gene transfer and found that the phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream target, glycogen synthase kinase 3beta, were enhanced both in the absence and in the presence of insulin. Furthermore, protein kinase C lambda (PKC lambda) activity was also augmented in small-t-antigen-expressing 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Consistent with this result, both basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake were enhanced in these cells. In support of this result, when inhibitory anti-PP2A antibody was microinjected into 3T3-L1 adipocytes, we found a twofold increase in GLUT4 translocation in the absence of insulin. The small-t-antigen-induced increase in Akt and PKC lambda activities was not inhibited by wortmannin, while the ability of small t antigen to enhance glucose transport was inhibited by dominant negative Akt (DN-Akt) expression and Akt small interfering RNA (siRNA) but not by DN-PKC lambda expression or PKC lambda siRNA. We conclude that PP2A is a negative regulator of insulin's metabolic signaling pathway by promoting dephosphorylation and inactivation of Akt and PKC lambda and that most of the effects of PP2A to inhibit glucose transport are mediated through Akt.

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