Mechanism of activation of simian virus 40 DNA replication by protein phosphatase 2A

D. M. Virshup, A. A.R. Russo, T. J. Kelly

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54 Scopus citations


The catalytic subunit of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A(c)) stimulates the initiation of replication of simian virus 40 DNA in vitro by dephosphorylating T antigen at specific phosphoserine residues (K. H. Scheidtmann, D. M. Virshup, and T. J. Kelly, J. Virol. 65:2098-2101, 1991). To better define the biochemical mechanism responsible for this stimulation, we investigated the effect of PP2A(c) on the interaction of T-antigen with wild-type and mutant origins of replication. Analysis of the binding of T antigen to the wild-type origin as a function of protein concentration revealed that binding occurs in two relatively discrete steps: the assembly of a T-antigen hexamer on one half-site of the origin, followed by the assembly of the second hexamer on the other half-site. The major effect of PP2A(c) was to stimulate binding of the second hexamer, so that the binding reaction became much more cooperative. This observation suggests that dephosphorylation of T antigen by PP2A(c) primarily affects interactions between the two hexamers bound to the origin. Pretreatment with PP2A(c) increased the ability of the bound T antigen to unwind the origin of replication but had no effect on the intrinsic helicase activity of the protein. Thus, dephosphorylation of PP2A(c) appears to increase the efficiency of the initial opening of the origin by T antigen. An insertion mutation at the dyad axis in the simian virus 40 origin, which altered the structural relationship of the two halves of the origin, abolished the effect of the phosphatase on the cooperativity of binding and completely prevented origin unwinding. These findings suggest that the ability of T antigen to open the viral origin of DNA replication is critically dependent on the appropriate functional interactions between T-antigen hexamers and that these interactions are regulated by the phosphorylation state of the viral initiator protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4883-4895
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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