Evidence shows that the serine/threonine protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) plays a critical role in synaptic plasticity and memory. Little is known about the contribution of the serine/threonine phosphatase 1 (PP2A) to synaptic plasticity. Both protein phosphatases can target the transcription factor cAMP response element binding protein (CREB), whose phosphorylation at Ser133, we previously found, was downregulated during long-term depression (LTD) of glutamatergic transmission in area CA1 of the adult hippocampus in vivo. Other work from our group showed that the activity of PP2A, as well as that of PP1, is increased after LTD induction in area CA1 in vivo. We therefore investigated here whether both protein phosphatases are necessary for LTD in area CA1, and whether they both are involved in the LTD-associated modification of CREB. We found that inhibition of either PP1 or PP2A interferes with the establishment of LTD. Furthermore, inhibition of either enzyme alone abrogated the LTD-associated dephosphorylation of CREB. Interestingly, inhibition of PP1 disrupted CREB dephosphosphorylation rapidly after LTD-inducing stimulation, whereas inhibition of PP2A did not blunt the CREB modification until a later time point. Thus, both PP1 and PP2A regulate CREB during LTD in area CA1, although possibly through different signaling pathways. Our results demonstrate that PP2A, similar to PP1, plays an essential role in the molecular events that underlie LTD at glutamatergic synapses in hippocampal area CA1 in vivo. We propose that one of the mechanisms through which these protein phosphatases may contribute to the prolonged maintenance of LTD is through the regulation of CREB. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.