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IUBMB Life. 2001 Mar;51(3):157-63.

Ligands and signaling through receptor-type tyrosine phosphatases.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Miami School of Medicine, FL 33136, USA.


Virtually every aspect of cellular proliferation and differentiation is regulated by changes in tyrosine phosphorylation. Tyrosine phosphorylation, in turn, is controlled by the opposing activities of protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) and protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs). PTKs are often transmembrane proteins (receptor PTKs) whose enzymatic activities and signaling functions are tightly regulated by the binding of specific ligands. A variety of transmembrane PTPs has also been identified; these proteins are called receptor PTPs (RPTPs), but in most cases their roles as receptors are very poorly understood. This review discusses the evidence that RPTPs are actually receptors for extrinsic ligands, and the extent to which interactions with putative ligands are known or suspected to cause changes in enzymatic activity. Finally, some of the RPTP substrates believed to be physiologically important are described. The evidence gathered to date suggests that models derived from studies of receptor PTKs may be too simple to account for the diversity and complexity of mechanisms through which ligand binding controls RPTP function.

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