CD45 is a transmembrane tyrosine phosphatase implicated in T cell antigen receptor (TCR)-mediated activation. In T cell variants expressing progressively lower levels of CD45 (from normal to undetectable), CD45 expression was inversely related to spontaneous tyrosine phosphorylation of multiple proteins, including the TCR zeta chain, and was directly correlated with TCR-driven phosphoinositide hydrolysis. The Ca2+ response in these cells was altered in an unexpected fashion. Unlike wild-type cells, stimulated CD45- cell populations did not manifest an early increase in intracellular Ca2+, but did exhibit a delayed and gradual increase in mean intracellular Ca2+. Computer-aided fluorescence imaging of individual cells revealed that CD45- cells experienced late Ca2+ oscillations that were not blocked by removal of extracellular Ca2+. CD45 revertants had the signaling properties of wild-type cells. Thus, CD45 has a profound influence on both TCR-mediated signaling and phosphotyrosine homeostasis, and its loss reveals a novel role for this tyrosine phosphatase in Ca2+ regulation.

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