Protein-tyrosine-phosphatase 2C (PTP2C, also named SHPTP2, SHPTP3, or PTP1D) is a cytosolic enzyme with two Src homology 2 domains. We have investigated its regulation by phosphorylation in PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cells. In untreated cells, PTP2C was phosphorylated predominantly on serine residues. A 5-min treatment with epidermal growth factor (EGF) induced an increase in phosphorylation on threonine and, to a lesser degree, on serine. After 45 min of exposure to EGF, PTP2C phosphorylation returned to basal levels. Using an in vitro kinase assay, we found that the 44-kDa mitogen-activated protein kinase, p44mapk, phosphorylated PTP2C on serine and threonine residues. This phosphorylation resulted in a pronounced inhibition of PTP2C enzyme activity measured with phosphorylated EGF receptors as substrate. Moreover, in intact PC12 cells, PTP2C was also inhibited following a short EGF treatment, but its activity returned to normal when the exposure to EGF was maintained for 45 min. The profile of this response to EGF can be inversely correlated to that of the stimulatory action of EGF on p44mapk. These data suggest that the EGF-induced regulation of PTP2C activity is mediated by p44mapk. These findings provide evidence for an additional role of the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade--namely, the regulation of a PTP
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