Protein phosphatase 2A controls ongoing DNA replication by binding to and regulating cell division cycle 45 (CDC45)

J Biol Chem. 2019 Nov 8;294(45):17043-17059. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.010432. Epub 2019 Sep 27.


Genomic replication is a highly regulated process and represents both a potential benefit and liability to rapidly dividing cells; however, the precise post-translational mechanisms regulating genomic replication are incompletely understood. Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a serine/threonine phosphatase that regulates a diverse array of cellular processes. Here, utilizing both a gain-of-function chemical biology approach and loss-of-function genetic approaches to modulate PP2A activity, we found that PP2A regulates DNA replication. We demonstrate that increased PP2A activity can interrupt ongoing DNA replication, resulting in a prolonged S phase. The impaired replication resulted in a collapse of replication forks, inducing dsDNA breaks, homologous recombination, and a PP2A-dependent replication stress response. Additionally, we show that during replication, PP2A exists in complex with cell division cycle 45 (CDC45) and that increased PP2A activity caused dissociation of CDC45 and polymerase α from the replisome. Furthermore, we found that individuals harboring mutations in the PP2A Aα gene have a higher fraction of genomic alterations, suggesting that PP2A regulates ongoing replication as a mechanism for maintaining genomic integrity. These results reveal a new function for PP2A in regulating ongoing DNA replication and a potential role for PP2A in the intra-S-phase checkpoint.

Keywords: DNA damage response; DNA replication; DNA-protein interaction; cell cycle; cell cycle checkpoint; cell division cycle 45 (CDC45); genome stability; protein phosphatase 2 (PP2A); replisome; small molecule activator of PP2A (SMAP).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Replication*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Phosphatase 2 / metabolism*
  • S Phase / genetics


  • CDC45 protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • ATR protein, human
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Protein Phosphatase 2