Protein phosphatase 2A facilitates axonogenesis by dephosphorylating CRMP2

J Neurosci. 2010 Mar 10;30(10):3839-48. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5174-09.2010.


Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is indispensable in development, and deficits of PP2A and deterioration of neuronal axons have been observed in several neurodegenerative disorders, but the direct link between PP2A and the neuronal axon development is still missing. Here, we show that PP2A is essential for axon development in transfected rat brain and the dissociated hippocampal neurons. Upregulation of PP2A catalytic subunit (PP2Ac) not only promotes formation and elongation of the functional axons but also rescues axon retardation induced by PP2A inhibition. PP2A can dephosphorylate collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP2) that implements the axon polarization, whereas constitutive expression of phosphomimic-CRMP2 abrogates the effect of PP2A upregulation. We also demonstrate that PP2Ac is enriched in the distal axon of the hippocampal neurons. Our results reveal a mechanistic link between PP2A and axonogenesis/axonopathy, suggesting that upregulation of PP2A may be a promising therapeutic for some neurodegenerative disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution / genetics
  • Animals
  • Axons / enzymology*
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / enzymology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurites / enzymology
  • Neurites / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis / genetics
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation / genetics
  • Protein Phosphatase 2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein Phosphatase 2 / biosynthesis
  • Protein Phosphatase 2 / genetics
  • Protein Phosphatase 2 / physiology*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / physiology
  • Rats


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • collapsin response mediator protein-2
  • Protein Phosphatase 2