A novel phosphatase family, structurally related to dual-specificity phosphatases, that displays unique amino acid sequence and substrate specificity

J Mol Biol. 2007 Dec 7;374(4):899-909. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2007.10.008. Epub 2007 Oct 11.


Members of the superfamily of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) share the presence of an evolutionarily conserved PTP catalytic domain. Among them, the dual-specificity phosphatases (DSPs) constitute a diverse group of enzymes in terms of substrate specificity, including nonprotein substrates. In recent years, an increasing number of novel DSPs, whose functions and biological substrates are not well defined, have been discovered in a variety of organisms. In this study, we define the structural and functional properties of evolutionarily related atypical DSPs from different phyla. Sets of conserved motifs were defined that (i) uniquely segregated mammalian atypical DSPs from closely related enzymes and (ii) exclusively characterised a novel family of atypical DSPs present in plants, fungi, and kinetoplastids [plant and fungi atypical (PFA)-DSPs]; despite having different sequence "fingerprints," the PTP tertiary structure of PFA-DSPs is conserved. Analysis of the catalytic properties of PFA-DSPs suggests the existence of a unique substrate specificity for these enzymes. Our findings predict characteristic functional motifs for the diverse members of the DSP families of PTPs and provide insights into the functional properties of DSPs of unknown function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatases / chemistry*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatases