Protein-tyrosine phosphatases (PTPases) form a novel and important class of cell regulatory proteins. We evaluated the expression of PTPases in mouse brain by polymerase chain amplification of cDNA segments that encode the catalytic domains of these enzymes. Degenerate primer pairs devised on the basis of conserved protein motifs were used to generate a series of distinct PCR-derived clones. In this way, murine homologues of the human PTPases LRP, PTPβ, PTPδ, PTPɛ and LAR were obtained. Corresponding regions in their catalytic domains were used to reveal the evolutionary relationships between all currently known mammalian PTPase protein family members. Phylogenetic reconstruction displayed considerable differences in mutation rates for closely related PTPases.