Protein phosphatase 2A: a highly regulated family of serine/threonine phosphatases implicated in cell growth and signalling

Biochem J. 2001 Feb 1;353(Pt 3):417-39. doi: 10.1042/0264-6021:3530417.


Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) comprises a family of serine/threonine phosphatases, minimally containing a well conserved catalytic subunit, the activity of which is highly regulated. Regulation is accomplished mainly by members of a family of regulatory subunits, which determine the substrate specificity, (sub)cellular localization and catalytic activity of the PP2A holoenzymes. Moreover, the catalytic subunit is subject to two types of post-translational modification, phosphorylation and methylation, which are also thought to be important regulatory devices. The regulatory ability of PTPA (PTPase activator), originally identified as a protein stimulating the phosphotyrosine phosphatase activity of PP2A, will also be discussed, alongside the other regulatory inputs. The use of specific PP2A inhibitors and molecular genetics in yeast, Drosophila and mice has revealed roles for PP2A in cell cycle regulation, cell morphology and development. PP2A also plays a prominent role in the regulation of specific signal transduction cascades, as witnessed by its presence in a number of macromolecular signalling modules, where it is often found in association with other phosphatases and kinases. Additionally, PP2A interacts with a substantial number of other cellular and viral proteins, which are PP2A substrates, target PP2A to different subcellular compartments or affect enzyme activity. Finally, the de-regulation of PP2A in some specific pathologies will be touched upon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division*
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / chemistry
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / genetics
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism*
  • Protein Phosphatase 2
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases
  • Protein Phosphatase 2