cDNA clones encoding the 65-kDa (PR65) and 55-kDa (PR55) regulatory subunits of protein phosphatase 2A from Xenopus laevis were isolated by homology screening with the corresponding human cDNAs, and used to analyze the developmental expression patterns of these genes. The PR65 subunit was found to be encoded by two genes, termed XPR65 alpha and XPR65 beta. The open reading frames of the alpha and beta cDNAs both span 1767 bp, and predict proteins of 64.4 kDa and 65.3 kDa, respectively, that are 87% identical. The predicted amino acid sequence of XPR65 alpha showed 95% and 84% identity with human PR65 alpha and PR65 beta proteins, respectively, whereas the identity of XPR65 beta with the same proteins was 87% and 86.5%, respectively. Only one type of Xenopus PR55 (XPR55) was isolated that showed 93% and 84% similarity to human PR55 alpha and PR55 beta, respectively. Analysis of the N-terminal region of XPR55 with the same regions of human PR55 alpha and PR55 beta, indicates that the XPR55 is the Xenopus homolog of the human PR55 alpha isoform. Despite the overall similarity with PR55 from other species, XPR55 has an N-terminal extention of at least 24 amino acids. In the ovary, a transcript of 2.8 kb, encoding the XPR65 beta, was predominantly expressed and these XPR65 beta mRNAs are present at a constant level during oogenesis until late embryogenesis. Expression of the 2.4-kb XPR65 alpha was low until the larval stage, then dramatically increased. In all adult tissues except ovary, the 2.4-kb alpha-specific mRNA was more abundant than the 2.8-kb beta transcript. Two transcripts of 2.4 kb and 2.5 kb, encoding the XPR55 subunit, were detected at a constant level throughout Xenopus oogenesis and during embryogenesis. Both transcripts were also expressed at similar levels in all adult tissues, but in a tissue-specific manner. Analysis of the XPR55 and XPR65 proteins using antibodies to recombinant proteins revealed that the overall levels of the two proteins were constant, in good agreement with mRNA data.