Identification of regions in polyomavirus middle T and small t antigens important for association with protein phosphatase 2A.


Two subunits of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) have been shown previously to bind to the small t and middle T antigens (ST and MT, respectively) of polyomavirus. To determine sequences important for binding of PP2A to ST and MT, we first constructed a series of ST mutants in regions known to be important for biological activity of ST and MT. Several mutations in two small regions just amino terminal to the Cys-X-Cys-X-X-Cys motifs of ST and MT abolished PP2A binding to ST in vitro. Parallel mutations were constructed in MT to investigate the role of PP2A binding in the function of polyomavirus MT. Wild-type and mutant MT proteins were stably expressed in NIH 3T3 cells and analyzed (i) for their ability to induce transformation and (ii) for associated cellular proteins and corresponding enzymatic activities previously described as associating with wild-type MT. A number of the mutant MTs were found to be defective in binding of PP2A as assayed by coimmunoprecipitation. In contrast, a deletion of the highly conserved stretch of amino acids 42 to 47 (His-Pro-Asp-Lys-Gly-Gly) in the ST-MT-large T antigen common region did not affect PP2A binding to MT. MT mutants defective for PP2A binding were also defective in transformation, providing further evidence that association with PP2A is important for the ability of MT to transform cells. All mutants which were impaired for PP2A binding were similarly or more dramatically impaired for associated protein and lipid kinase activities, supporting the possibility that PP2A binding is necessary for the formation and/or stability of an MT-pp60c-src complex.

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