Recent studies have demonstrated that the protein tyrosine phosphatase CD45 plays an integral role in regulation of B-cell function. Most notably, expression of this phosphatase is required for activation of B lymphocytes and entry into the cell cycle. Here, Louis Justement and colleagues review current information concerning the function of CD45 in the B cell. The discussion focuses on two questions that are of central importance: what are the physiological substrates for CD45 and how does reversible tyrosine phosphorylation affect their function? © 1994.