Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a large number of SNPs that are linked to human autoimmune diseases. However, the functional consequences of most of these genetic variations remain undefined. T cell protein tyrosine phosphatase (TCPTP, which is encoded by PTPN2) is a JAK/STAT and growth factor receptor phosphatase that has been linked to the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease by GWAS. In this issue of the JCI, Wiede and colleagues have generated a T cell–specific deletion of TCPTP and identified a novel role for this phosphatase as a negative regulator of TCR signaling. These data provide new insight as to how noncoding PTPN2 SNPs identified in GWAS could drive human autoimmune diseases.
Julie Zikherman, Arthur Weiss