The purpose of these studies was to identify phosphatase activities required for the production of nitric oxide in murine macrophages exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), synthetic lipopeptide (LPP), and mouse interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). The in vitro treatment of macrophages with IFN-gamma and LPS or IFN-gamma and LPP resulted in production of NO, which was inhibited by addition of the specific phosphatase 1 and 2A (PP1/2A) inhibitors okadaic acid (OA), calyculin A, and cantharidin (but not the nonactive analogues okadaic acid tetraacetate and 1,4-dimethylendothall). OA suppressed the accumulation of steady-state inducible NO synthase (iNOS) mRNA and iNOS protein (without alteration of their stability). The cytosol and nuclei of control macrophages contained large amounts of PP1/2A activities that were inhibited by OA in a dose-dependent manner. Taken together, these data indicate that PP1/2A activities are involved in the regulation of iNOS gene expression in murine macrophages.