PP1 (protein phosphatase 1) is among the most conserved enzymes known, with one or more isoforms present in all sequenced eukaryotic genomes. PP1 dephosphorylates specific serine/threonine phosphoproteins as defined by associated regulatory or targeting subunits. In the present study we performed a PP1-binding screen to find putative PP1 interactors in Arabidopsis thaliana and uncovered a homologue of the ancient PP1 interactor, I-2 (inhibitor-2). Bioinformatic analysis revealed remarkable conservation of three regions of plant I-2 that play key roles in binding to PP1 and regulating its function. The sequence-related properties of plant I-2 were compared across eukaryotes, indicating a lack of I-2 in some species and the emergence points from key motifs during the evolution of this ancient regulator. Biochemical characterization of AtI-2 (Arabidopsis I-2) revealed its ability to inhibit all plant PP1 isoforms and inhibitory dependence requiring the primary interaction motif known as RVXF. Arabidopsis I-2 was shown to be a phosphoprotein in vivo that was enriched in the nucleus. TAP (tandem affinity purification)-tag experiments with plant I-2 showed in vivo association with several Arabidopsis PP1 isoforms and identified other potential I-2 binding proteins.

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