Protein phosphatase 2A is a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine phosphatase that comprises a scaffold, a catalytic, and multiple regulatory subunits and has been shown to be important in the expression of autoimmunity. We considered that a distinct subunit may account for the decreased production of IL-2 in people and mice with systemic autoimmunity. We show that the regulatory subunit PPP2R2D is increased in T cells from people with systemic lupus erythematosus and regulates IL-2 production. Mice lacking PPP2R2D only in T cells produce more IL-2 because the IL-2 gene and genes coding for IL-2-enhancing transcription factors remain open, while the levels of the enhancer phosphorylated CREB are high. Mice with T cell-specific PPP2R2D deficiency display less systemic autoimmunity when exposed to a TLR7 stimulator. While genes related to Treg function do not change in the absence of PPP2R2D, Tregs exhibit high suppressive function in vitro and in vivo. Because the ubiquitous expression of protein phosphatase 2A cannot permit systemic therapeutic manipulation, the identification of regulatory subunits able to control specific T cell functions opens the way for the development of novel, function-specific drugs.
Keywords: Autoimmune diseases; Autoimmunity; Immunology; Phosphoprotein phosphatases; T cells.