The B56γ-containing protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A-B56γ) has been postulated to have tumor suppressive functions. Here, we report regulation of p27KIP1 subcellular localization by PP2A-B56γ3. B56γ3 overexpression enhanced nuclear localization of p27KIP1, whereas knockdown of B56γ3 decreased p27KIP1 nuclear localization. B56γ3 overexpression decreased phosphorylation at Thr157 (phospho-Thr157), whose phosphorylation promotes cytoplasmic localization of p27KIP1, whereas B56γ3 knockdown significantly increased the level of phospho-Thr157. In vitro, PP2A-B56γ3 catalyzed dephosphorylation of phospho-Thr157 in a dose-dependent and okadaic acid-sensitive manner. B56γ3 did not increase p27KIP1 nuclear localization by down-regulating the upstream kinase Akt activity and outcompeted a myristoylated constitutively active Akt (Aktca) in regulating Thr157 phosphorylation and subcellular localization of p27KIP1. In addition, results of interaction domain mapping revealed that both the N-terminal and C-terminal domains of p27 and a domain at the C-terminus of B56γ3 are required for interaction between p27 and B56γ3. Furthermore, we demonstrated that p27KIP1 levels are positively correlated with B56γ levels in both non-tumor and tumor parts of a set of human colon tissue specimens. However, positive correlation between nuclear p27KIP1 levels and B56γ levels was found only in the non-tumor parts, but not in tumor parts of these tissues, implicating a dysregulation in PP2A-B56γ3-regulated p27KIP1 nuclear localization in these tumor tissues. Altogether, this study provides a new mechanism by which the PP2A-B56γ3 holoenzyme plays its tumor suppressor role.
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