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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Protein phosphatase 2a (PP2A) binds within the oligomerization domain of striatin and regulates the phosphorylation and activation of the mammalian Ste20-Like kinase Mst3

Johnthan Gordon12, Juyeon Hwang13, Karma J Carrier15, Candace A Jones126, Quiana L Kern17, Carlos S Moreno18, Richard H Karas4 and David C Pallas123*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA

2 Postdoctoral Fellowships in Research & Science Teaching (FIRST) Program, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA

3 Biochemistry, Cell, Developmental Biology Graduate Program, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA

4 Department of Medicine, Molecular Cardiology Research Institute, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA

5 Current address: Meso Scale Discovery, 9238 Gaither Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, USA

6 Current address: North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory, 1115 Brooks Street, Shreveport, LA 71101, USA

7 Current address: Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

8 Current address: Department of Pathology and Laboratory of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

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BMC Biochemistry 2011, 12:54  doi:10.1186/1471-2091-12-54

Published: 10 October 2011



Striatin, a putative protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) B-type regulatory subunit, is a multi-domain scaffolding protein that has recently been linked to several diseases including cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), which causes symptoms ranging from headaches to stroke. Striatin association with the PP2A A/C (structural subunit/catalytic subunit) heterodimer alters PP2A substrate specificity, but targets and roles of striatin-associated PP2A are not known. In addition to binding the PP2A A/C heterodimer to form a PP2A holoenzyme, striatin associates with cerebral cavernous malformation 3 (CCM3) protein, the mammalian Mps one binder (MOB) homolog, Mob3/phocein, the mammalian sterile 20-like (Mst) kinases, Mst3, Mst4 and STK25, and several other proteins to form a large signaling complex. Little is known about the molecular architecture of the striatin complex and the regulation of these sterile 20-like kinases.


To help define the molecular organization of striatin complexes and to determine whether Mst3 might be negatively regulated by striatin-associated PP2A, a structure-function analysis of striatin was performed. Two distinct regions of striatin are capable of stably binding directly or indirectly to Mob3--one N-terminal, including the coiled-coil domain, and another more C-terminal, including the WD-repeat domain. In addition, striatin residues 191-344 contain determinants necessary for efficient association of Mst3, Mst4, and CCM3. PP2A associates with the coiled-coil domain of striatin, but unlike Mob3 and Mst3, its binding appears to require striatin oligomerization. Deletion of the caveolin-binding domain on striatin abolishes striatin family oligomerization and PP2A binding. Point mutations in striatin that disrupt PP2A association cause hyperphosphorylation and activation of striatin-associated Mst3.


Striatin orchestrates the regulation of Mst3 by PP2A. It binds Mst3 likely as a dimer with CCM3 via residues lying between striatin's calmodulin-binding and WD-domains and recruits the PP2A A/C heterodimer to its coiled-coil/oligomerization domain. Residues outside the previously reported coiled-coil domain of striatin are necessary for its oligomerization. Striatin-associated PP2A is critical for Mst3 dephosphorylation and inactivation. Upon inhibition of PP2A, Mst3 activation appears to involve autophosphorylation of multiple activation loop phosphorylation sites. Mob3 can associate with striatin sequences C-terminal to the Mst3 binding site but also with sequences proximal to striatin-associated PP2A, consistent with a possible role for Mob 3 in the regulation of Mst3 by PP2A.