Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) negatively regulates tumorigenic signaling pathways, in part, by supporting the function of tumor suppressors like p53. The PP2A methylesterase PME-1 limits the activity of PP2A by demethylating its catalytic subunit. Here, we report the finding that PME-1 overexpression correlates with increased cell proliferation and invasive phenotypes in endometrial adenocarcinoma cells, where it helps maintain activated ERK and Akt by inhibiting PP2A. We obtained evidence that PME-1 could bind and regulate protein phosphatase 4 (PP4), a tumor-promoting protein, but not the related protein phosphatase 6 (PP6). When the PP2A, PP4, or PP6 catalytic subunits were overexpressed, inhibiting PME-1 was sufficient to limit cell proliferation. In clinical specimens of endometrial adenocarcinoma, PME-1 levels were increased and we found that PME-1 overexpression was sufficient to drive tumor growth in a xenograft model of the disease. Our findings identify PME-1 as a modifier of malignant development and suggest its candidacy as a diagnostic marker and as a therapeutic target in endometrial cancer.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.