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Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) have key roles in a diverse range of cellular processes, and their dysregulation is associated with several human diseases. Many PTPs are recognized as potential drug targets; however, inhibitor development has focused only on a small number of enzymes, most notably PTP1B for type II diabetes and obesity, and MKP1 and CDC25 for cancer. The future challenge of selective-inhibitor development for PTPs will be significantly facilitated by the recent rapid progress in the structural biology of the 'PTPome'. In this article, we focus on the family of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-specific tyrosine phosphatases--PTPN5 [also called striatal-enriched phosphatase (STEP)], PTPN7 (also called hematopoietic PTP) and PTPRR (also called PC12 PTP or STEP-like PTP)--and discuss approaches for achieving selectivity for the MAPK-PTPs at the molecular level using recently determined high-resolution X-ray crystal structures. We believe that the development of specific inhibitors would provide a valuable set of experimental pharmacological tools for investigating the physiological role of these phosphatases and exploring their emerging role in human disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Pharmacol Sci

Publication Date





525 - 530


Animals, Crystallography, X-Ray, Drug Design, Humans, Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases, Models, Molecular, Phosphorylation, Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases