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PLoS Biol. 2007 Aug;5(8):e202.

Structural basis of PP2A inhibition by small t antigen.

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Department of Biological Structure, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.


The SV40 small t antigen (ST) is a potent oncoprotein that perturbs the function of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). ST directly interacts with the PP2A scaffolding A subunit and alters PP2A activity by displacing regulatory B subunits from the A subunit. We have determined the crystal structure of full-length ST in complex with PP2A A subunit at 3.1 A resolution. ST consists of an N-terminal J domain and a C-terminal unique domain that contains two zinc-binding motifs. Both the J domain and second zinc-binding motif interact with the intra-HEAT-repeat loops of HEAT repeats 3-7 of the A subunit, which overlaps with the binding site of the PP2A B56 subunit. Intriguingly, the first zinc-binding motif is in a position that may allow it to directly interact with and inhibit the phosphatase activity of the PP2A catalytic C subunit. These observations provide a structural basis for understanding the oncogenic functions of ST.

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