It is now well established that the members of the PTP (protein tyrosine phosphatase) superfamily play critical roles in fundamental biological processes. Although there has been much progress in defining the function of PTPs, the task of identifying substrates for these enzymes still presents a challenge. Many PTPs have yet to have their physiological substrates identified. The focus of this review will be on the current state of knowledge of PTP substrates and the approaches used to identify them. We propose experimental criteria that should be satisfied in order to rigorously assign PTP substrates as bona fide. Finally, the progress that has been made in defining the biological roles of PTPs through the identification of their substrates will be discussed.

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