The small t antigen (ST) of DNA tumor virus SV40 facilitates cellular transformation by disrupting the functions of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) through a poorly defined mechanism. The crystal structure of the core domain of SV40 ST bound to the scaffolding subunit of human PP2A reveals that the ST core domain has a novel zinc-binding fold and interacts with the conserved ridge of HEAT repeats 3–6, which overlaps with the binding site for the B′ (also called PR61 or B56) regulatory subunit. ST has a lower binding affinity than B′ for the PP2A core enzyme. Consequently, ST does not efficiently displace B′ from PP2A holoenzymes in vitro. Notably, ST inhibits PP2A phosphatase activity through its N-terminal J domain. These findings suggest that ST may function mainly by inhibiting the phosphatase activity of the PP2A core enzyme, and to a lesser extent by modulating assembly of the PP2A holoenzymes.
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We thank T. Roberts at Harvard Medical School for the complementary DNA encoding SV40 ST, and A. Saxena at the beamlines of the National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory for help. This work was supported by grant R01-CA123155 from the US National Institutes of Health (Y.S.).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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