The protein phosphatase 2 (PP2A) holoenzyme consists of a catalytic subunit, a scaffold subunit, and a regulatory subunit. Based on loss-of-function analysis using PP2A catalytic inhibitors or inhibition via tumor viral antigens, limited studies suggest that PP2A is a putative tumor suppressor. However, PP2A has also been shown to facilitate the activation of oncogenic signaling pathways when associated with specific regulatory subunits. In this study, we investigated the possible oncogenic role of PP2A in pancreatic cancer. We found a striking increase in the expression of PR55α (PPP2R2A), a PP2A regulatory subunit, in pancreatic cancer cells compared with normal pancreatic epithelial cells. Consistently, PR55α expression was markedly elevated in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tissues compared with adjacent normal pancreatic tissues (P < 0.0001) and correlated with poor survival of pancreatic cancer patients (P < 0.0003). RNAimediated depletion of PR55α in pancreatic cancer cell lines resulted in diminished phosphorylation of both AKT and ERK1/2 (MAPK3/1) and decreased protein levels of β-catenin (CTNNB1). Accordingly, pancreatic cancer cells with reduced PR55α expression exhibited significantly impaired properties of transformation, including attenuated cell growth, clonogenicity, mobility, and anchorage-independent growth. Moreover, orthotopic implantation of PR55α-depleted pancreatic cancer cells into nude mice resulted in markedly reduced tumorigenicity (P < 0.001) and distant metastases. Together, these results suggest that PR55α promotes pancreatic cancer development by sustaining hyperactivity of multiple oncogenic signaling pathways, including AKT, ERK, and Wnt. These studies also provide a basis for exploring PR55α as a diagnostic or therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer. Cancer Res; 76(8); 2243-53.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research