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PLoS One. 2008;3(12):e4014. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004014. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

The FERM and PDZ domain-containing protein tyrosine phosphatases, PTPN4 and PTPN3, are both dispensable for T cell receptor signal transduction.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America.


PTPN3 and PTPN4 are two closely-related non-receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTP) that, in addition to a PTP domain, contain FERM (Band 4.1, Ezrin, Radixin, and Moesin) and PDZ (PSD-95, Dlg, ZO-1) domains. Both PTP have been implicated as negative-regulators of early signal transduction through the T cell antigen receptor (TCR), acting to dephosphorylate the TCRzeta chain, a component of the TCR complex. Previously, we reported upon the production and characterization of PTPN3-deficient mice which show normal TCR signal transduction and T cell function. To address if the lack of a T cell phenotype in PTPN3-deficient mice can be explained by functional redundancy of PTPN3 with PTPN4, we generated PTPN4-deficient and PTPN4/PTPN3 double-deficient mice. As in PTPN3 mutants, T cell development and homeostasis and TCR-induced cytokine synthesis and proliferation were found to be normal in PTPN4-deficient and PTPN4/PTPN3 double-deficient mice. PTPN13 is another FERM and PDZ domain-containing non-receptor PTP that is distantly-related to PTPN3 and PTPN4 and which has been shown to function as a negative-regulator of T helper-1 (Th1) and Th2 differentiation. Therefore, to determine if PTPN13 might compensate for the loss of PTPN3 and PTPN4 in T cells, we generated mice that lack functional forms of all three PTP. T cells from triple-mutant mice developed normally and showed normal cytokine secretion and proliferative responses to TCR stimulation. Furthermore, T cell differentiation along the Th1, Th2 and Th17 lineages was largely unaffected in triple-mutants. We conclude that PTPN3 and PTPN4 are dispensable for TCR signal transduction.

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