Open Access Research article

Serine / threonine protein phosphatase 5 (PP5) participates in the regulation of glucocorticoid receptor nucleocytoplasmic shuttling

David A Dean1, Gudrun Urban2, Ileana V Aragon2, Mark Swingle2, Beth Miller2, Sandro Rusconi3, Manuel Bueno3, Nicholas M Dean4 and Richard E Honkanen2*

Author affiliations

1 Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611 USA

2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama 36688 USA

3 Institut de Biochimie, University of Fribourg, Perolles, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland

4 Department of Pharmacology, ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Carlsbad, California 92008 USA

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Citation and License

BMC Cell Biology 2001, 2:6  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-2-6

Published: 17 May 2001



In most cells glucocorticoid receptors (GR) reside predominately in the cytoplasm. Upon hormone binding, the GR translocates into the nucleus, where the hormone-activated GR-complex regulates the transcription of GR-responsive genes. Serine/threonine protein phosphatase type 5 (PP5) associates with the GR-heat-shock protein-90 complex, and the suppression of PP5 expression with ISIS 15534 stimulates the activity of GR-responsive reporter plasmids, without affecting the binding of hormone to the GR.


To further characterize the mechanism by which PP5 affects GR-induced gene expression, we employed immunofluorescence microscopy to track the movement of a GR-green fluorescent fusion protein (GR-GFP) that retained hormone binding, nuclear translocation activity and specific DNA binding activity, but is incapable of transactivation. In the absence of glucocorticoids, GR-GFP localized mainly in the cytoplasm. Treatment with dexamethasone results in the efficient translocation of GR-GFPs into the nucleus. The nuclear accumulation of GR-GFP, without the addition of glucocorticoids, was also observed when the expression of PP5 was suppressed by treatment with ISIS 15534. In contrast, ISIS 15534 treatment had no apparent effect on calcium induced nuclear translocation of NFAT-GFP.


These studies suggest that PP5 participates in the regulation of glucocorticoid receptor nucleocytoplasmic shuttling, and that the GR-induced transcriptional activity observed when the expression of PP5 is suppressed by treatment with ISIS 15534 results from the nuclear accumulation of GR in a form that is capable of binding DNA yet still requires agonist to elicit maximal transcriptional activation.