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J Biol Chem. 2007 Feb 23;282(8):5468-77. Epub 2007 Jan 2.

Inhibition of B56-containing protein phosphatase 2As by the early response gene IEX-1 leads to control of Akt activity.

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Institut Cochin, Department of Hematology, Paris F-75014, France.


The importance of PP2A in the regulation of Akt/PKB activity has long been recognized but the nature of the holoenzyme involved and the mechanisms controlling dephosphorylation are not yet known. We identified IEX-1, an early gene product with proliferative and survival activities, as a specific inhibitor of B56 regulatory subunit-containing PP2A. IEX-1 inhibits B56-PP2A activity by allowing the phosphorylation of B56 by ERK. This leads to sustained ERK activation. IEX-1 has no effect on PP2A containing other B family subunits. Thus, studying IEX-1 contribution to signaling should help the discovery of new pathways controlled by B56-PP2A. By using overexpression and RNA interference, we show here that IEX-1 increases Akt/PKB activity in response to various growth factors by preventing Akt dephosphorylation on both Thr(308) and Ser(473) residues. PP2A-B56beta and gamma subunits have the opposite effect and reverse IEX-1-mediated Akt activation. The effect of IEX-1 on Akt is ERK-dependent. Indeed: (i) a IEX-1 mutant deficient in ERK binding had no effect on Akt; (ii) ERK dominant-negative mutants reduced IEX-1-mediated increase in pAkt; (iii) a B56beta mutant that cannot be phosphorylated in the ERK.IEX-1 complex showed an enhanced ability to compete with IEX-1. These results identify B56-containing PP2A holoenzymes as Akt phosphatases. They suggest that IEX-1 behaves as a general inhibitor of B56 activity, enabling the control of both ERK and Akt signaling downstream of ERK.

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