Ser70 phosphorylation of Bcl-2 by selective tyrosine nitration of PP2A-B56δ stabilizes its antiapoptotic activity.

PMID 25082878


Bcl-2 is frequently overexpressed in hematopoietic malignancies, and selective phosphorylation at ser70 enhances its antiapoptotic activity. Phospho-ser70 is dephosphorylated by specific heterotrimers of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). We report here that a mild pro-oxidant intracellular milieu induced by either pharmacological inhibition or genetic knockdown of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) inhibits the functional holoenzyme assembly of PP2A and prevents Bcl-2 ser70 dephosphorylation. This redox-dependent regulation of Bcl-2 phosphorylation is due to nitrosative modification of B56δ, which we identify as the regulatory subunit mediating PP2A-dependent Bcl-2 dephosphorylation. Redox inhibition of PP2A results from peroxynitrite-mediated nitration of a conserved tyrosine residue within B56δ (B56δ(Y289)). Although nitrated B56δ(Y289) binds efficiently to ser70-phosphorylated Bcl-2, this specific modification inhibits the recruitment of the PP2A catalytic core (A and C subunits). Furthermore, inhibition of B56δ(Y289) nitration restores PP2A holoenzyme assembly, thereby permitting S70 dephosphorylation of Bcl-2 and inhibiting its antiapoptotic activity. More important, in primary cells derived from clinical lymphomas, Bcl-2 phosphorylation at S70 directly correlates with B56δ nitration and repression of SOD1, but inversely correlates with B56δ interaction with the PP2A-C catalytic subunit. These data underscore the role of a pro-oxidant milieu in chemoresistance of hematopoietic and other cancers via selective targeting of tumor suppressors such as PP2A.