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Suppressor mutations identify amino acids in PAA-1/PR65 that facilitate regulatory RSA-1/B″ subunit targeting of PP2A to centrosomes in C. elegans
Karen I. Lange, Jeffrey Heinrichs, Karen Cheung, Martin Srayko


Protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation is a key mechanism for the spatial and temporal regulation of many essential developmental processes and is especially prominent during mitosis. The multi-subunit protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) enzyme plays an important, yet poorly characterized role in dephosphorylating proteins during mitosis. PP2As are heterotrimeric complexes comprising a catalytic, structural, and regulatory subunit. Regulatory subunits are mutually exclusive and determine subcellular localization and substrate specificity of PP2A. At least 3 different classes of regulatory subunits exist (termed B, B′, B″) but there is no obvious similarity in primary sequence between these classes. Therefore, it is not known how these diverse regulatory subunits interact with the same holoenzyme to facilitate specific PP2A functions in vivo. The B″ family of regulatory subunits is the least understood because these proteins lack conserved structural domains. RSA-1 (regulator of spindle assembly) is a regulatory B″ subunit required for mitotic spindle assembly in Caenorhabditis elegans. In order to address how B″ subunits interact with the PP2A core enzyme, we focused on a conditional allele, rsa-1(or598ts), and determined that this mutation specifically disrupts the protein interaction between RSA-1 and the PP2A structural subunit, PAA-1. Through genetic screening, we identified a putative interface on the PAA-1 structural subunit that interacts with a defined region of RSA-1/B″. In the context of previously published results, these data propose a mechanism of how different PP2A B-regulatory subunit families can bind the same holoenzyme in a mutually exclusive manner, to perform specific tasks in vivo.


  • Competing interests The authors have no competing interests to declare.

  • Received August 28, 2012.
  • Accepted October 16, 2012.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License (

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