Protein tyrosine phosphatase activity of an essential virulence determinant in Yersinia

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Science  03 Aug 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4968, pp. 553-556
DOI: 10.1126/science.2166336


Yersinia is the genus of bacteria that is the causative agent in plague or the black death, and on several occasions this organism has killed a significant portion of the world's population. An essential virulence determinant of Yersinia was shown to be a protein tyrosine phosphatase. The recombinant 50-kilodalton Yersinia phosphatase had a specificity for removal of phosphate from Tyr-containing as opposed to Ser/Thr-containing phosphopeptides and proteins. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to show that the Yersinia phosphatase possesses an essential Cys residue required for catalysis. Amino acids surrounding an essential Cys residue are highly conserved, as are other amino acids in the Yersinia and mammalian protein tyrosine phosphatases, suggesting that they use a common catalytic mechanism.

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