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J Biol Chem. 2002 Feb 15;277(7):5524-8. Epub 2001 Dec 3.

Inhibition of T cell antigen receptor signaling by VHR-related MKPX (VHX), a new dual specificity phosphatase related to VH1 related (VHR).

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Laboratory of Signal Transduction, La Jolla Cancer Research Center, The Burnham Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


A cDNA encoding a novel, human, dual-specific protein phosphatase was identified in the Incyte data base. The open reading frame predicted a protein of 184 amino acids related to the Vaccinia virus VH1 and human VH1-related (VHR) phosphatases. Expression VHR-related MKPX (VHX) was highest in thymus, but also detectable in monocytes and lymphocytes. A VHX-specific antiserum detected a protein with an apparent molecular mass of 19 kDa in many cells, including T lymphocytes and monocytes. VHX expression was not induced by T cell activation, but decreased somewhat at later time points. In vitro, VHX dephosphorylated the Erk2 mitogen-activated protein kinase with faster kinetics than did VHR, which is thought to be specific for Erk1 and 2. When expressed in Jurkat T cells, VHX had the capacity to suppress T cell antigen receptor-induced activation of Erk2 and of an NFAT/AP-1 luciferase reporter, but not an NF-kappaB reporter. Thus, VHX is a new member of the VH1/VHR group of small dual-specific phosphatases that act in mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways.

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