PP2A activity is controlled by methylation and regulates oncoprotein expression in melanoma cells: a mechanism which participates in growth inhibition induced by chloroethylnitrosourea treatment

Int J Oncol. 2008 Jan;32(1):49-57.


Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), an Akt pathway inhibitor, is considered to be activated by methylation of its catalytic subunit. Also PP2A downregulation was proposed to take part in carcinogenesis. Recently, PP2A activation was shown to be activated in response to DNA damage. To obtain further information on the role of PP2A in tumors and response to DNA damage, we investigated the relationship between PP2A methylation and activity, cell proliferation, Akt activation, c-Myc expression and PTEN activity in B16 melanoma cells untreated and after chloroethylnitrosourea (CENU) treatment. In untreated cells, okadaic acid, an antagonist of PP2A methylation, inhibited PP2A activity, stimulated cell proliferation, increased Akt activation and c-Myc expression. Xylulose-5-phosphate, an agonist of PP2A methylation, increased PP2A activity, decreased cell proliferation, Akt activation and c-Myc expression. However, both PP2A methylation modulators increased PTEN activity. During the response to CENU treatment, PP2A methylation and activity were strongly increased, Akt activation and c-Myc expression were decreased. However PTEN activity was increased. After tumor cell growth recovery, these modifications were moderately decreased. PP2A methylation was quantified and correlated positively with PP2A activity, and negatively with criteria for cell aggressiveness (cell proliferation, Akt activation, c-Myc expression). Based on these data, PP2A methylation status controls PP2A activity and oncoproteins expression and PP2A is strongly activated after CENU treatment thus partly explaining the growth inhibition in response to this agent. It follows that PP2A promethylating agents are potential candidates for anticancer drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • DNA Damage
  • Melanoma, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma, Experimental / pathology
  • Methylation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nitrosourea Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Okadaic Acid / pharmacology
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Pentosephosphates / pharmacology
  • Protein Phosphatase 2 / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Nitrosourea Compounds
  • Pentosephosphates
  • Okadaic Acid
  • xylulose-5-phosphate
  • N'-(2-chloroethyl)-N-(2-(methylsulfonyl)ethyl)-N'-nitrosourea
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Protein Phosphatase 2
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase