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The binding of a growth factor to its specific receptor catalyzes a complex cascade of intracellular signaling events, characterized by changes in the phosphorylation state of many key proteins. Among these phosphorylation events, tyrosine phosphorylation plays a prominent role in the transmission of postreceptor signals. The state of tyrosine phosphorylation is regulated by the actions of protein-tyrosine kinases (PTKs) and protein-tyrosine-phosphatases (PTPs). Dysregulation of either event can lead to abnormal cellular responses. PTPs generally act to regulate negatively-that is, to turn off-any signals generated by PTKs. However, this is not always the case, as seen by the phosphatase SHP-2, which can either be a positive or negative regulator of signal transduction depending on the particular cellular context. In addition, a novel family of dual specificity phosphatases has been recently discovered. These enzymes are capable of dephosphorylating phosphotyrosine and phosphothreonine/phosphoserine residues, and seem to play a significant role in attenuating the action of MAP kinases. Several themes appear throughout PTP regulation of growth factor signaling, including positive or negative regulation, importance of cell/tissue type, identity of the receptor activated, and subcellular localization. Although only a handful of PTPs have been identified, the present work done in elucidating their function has revealed their significance in the maintenance of normal physiological responses to growth factors.