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Exp Cell Res. 2007 Aug 15;313(14):3117-26. Epub 2007 May 16.

Functional analysis of the PP2A subfamily of protein phosphatases in regulating Drosophila S6 kinase.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390-9041, USA.


Phosphorylation and activation of ribosomal S6 protein kinase is an important link in the regulation of cell size by the target of rapamycin (TOR) protein kinase. A combination of selective inhibition and RNA interference were used to test the roles of members of the PP2A subfamily of protein phosphatases in dephosphorylation of Drosophila S6 kinase (dS6K). Treatment of Drosophila Schneider 2 cells with calyculin A, a selective inhibitor of PP2A-like phosphatases, resulted in a 7-fold increase in the basal level of dS6K phosphorylation at the TOR phosphorylation site (Thr398) and blocked dephosphorylation following inactivation of TOR by amino acid starvation or rapamycin treatment. Knockdown of the PP2A catalytic subunit increased basal dS6K phosphorylation and inhibited dephosphorylation induced by amino acid withdrawal. In contrast, depletion of the catalytic subunits of the other two members of the subfamily did not enhance dS6K phosphorylation. Knockdown of PP4 caused a 20% decrease in dS6K phosphorylation and knockdown of PP6 had no effect. Knockdown of the Drosophila B56-2 subunit resulted in enhanced dephosphorylation of dS6K following removal of amino acids. In contrast, knockdown of the homologs of the other PP2A regulatory subunits had no effects. Knockdown of the Drosophila homolog of the PP2A/PP4/PP6 interaction protein alpha4/Tap42 did not affect S6K phosphorylation, but did induce apoptosis. These results indicate that PP2A, but not other members of this subfamily, is likely to be a major S6K phosphatase in intact cells and is consistent with an important role for this phosphatase in the TOR pathway.

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