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Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) are important regulators of many cellular functions and a growing number of PTPs have been implicated in human disease conditions, such as developmental defects, neoplastic disorders, and immunodeficiency. Here, we review the involvement of PTPs in human autoimmunity. The leading examples include the allelic variant of the lymphoid tyrosine phosphatase (PTPN22), which is associated with multiple autoimmune diseases, and mutations that affect the exon-intron splicing of CD45 (PTPRC). We also find it likely that additional PTPs are involved in susceptibility to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Finally, we discuss the possibility that PTPs regulating the immune system may serve as therapeutic targets.
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