RPTP mu is a receptor-like protein tyrosine phosphatase that mediates homophilic cell-cell interactions. Surface expression of RPTP mu is restricted to cell-cell contacts and is upregulated with increasing cell density, suggesting a role for RPTP mu in contact-mediated signaling. It was recently reported (Brady-Kalnay, S.M., D.L. Rimm, and N.K. Tonks. 1995. J. Cell Biol. 130:977-986) that RPTP mu binds directly to cadherin/catenin complexes, and thus may regulate the tyrosine phosphorylation of such complexes. Here we report that this concept needs revision. Through reciprocal precipitations using a variety of antibodies against RPTP mu, cadherins, and catenins, we show that RPTP mu does not interact with cadherin/catenin complexes, even when assayed under very mild lysis conditions. We find that the anti-RPTP mu antiserum used by others precipitates cadherins in a nonspecific manner independent of RPTP mu. We conclude that, contrary to previous claims, RPTP mu does not interact with cadherin complexes and thus is unlikely to directly regulate cadherin/catenin function.

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