IKKbeta serves as a central intermediate signaling molecule in the activation of the NF-kappaB pathway. However, the precise mechanism for the termination of IKKbeta activity is still not fully understood. Using a functional genomic approach, we have identified two protein serine/threonine phosphatases, PPM1A and PPM1B, as IKKbeta phosphatases. Overexpression of PPM1A or PPM1B results in dephosphorylation of IKKbeta at Ser177 and Ser181 and termination of IKKbeta-induced NF-kappaB activation. PPM1A and PPM1B associate with the phosphorylated form of IKKbeta, and the interaction between PPM1A/PPM1B and IKKbeta is induced by TNFalpha in a transient fashion in the cells. Furthermore, knockdown of PPM1A and PPM1B expression enhances TNFalpha-induced IKKbeta phosphorylation, NF-kappaB nuclear translocation and NF-kappaB-dependent gene expression. These data suggest that PPM1A and PPM1B play an important role in the termination of TNFalpha-mediated NF-kappaB activation through dephosphorylating and inactivating IKKbeta.