Although it is well known that Tyr phosphatases play a critical role in signal transduction in animal cells, little is understood of the functional significance of Tyr phosphatases in higher plants. Here, we describe the functional analysis of an Arabidopsis gene (AtPTEN1) that encodes a Tyr phosphatase closely related to PTEN, a tumor suppressor in animals. The recombinant AtPTEN1 protein, like its homologs in animals, is an active phosphatase that dephosphorylates phosphotyrosine and phosphatidylinositol substrates. RNA gel blot analysis and examination of promoter-reporter constructs in transgenic Arabidopsis plants revealed that the AtPTEN1 gene is expressed exclusively in pollen grains during the late stage of development. Suppression of AtPTEN1 gene expression by RNA interference caused pollen cell death after mitosis. We conclude that AtPTEN1 is a pollen-specific phosphatase and is essential for pollen development.