c-Src regulates δ-secretase activation and truncated Tau production by phosphorylating the E3 ligase Traf6

Yanli Jiang, Longfei Li, Ruozhen Wu, Liulin Wu, Bin Zhang, Jian Zhi Wang, Rong Liu, Fei Liu, Jing Wang, Xiaochuan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The accumulation of abnormal Tau protein is a common feature of various neurodegenerative diseases. Truncated Tau, resulting from cleavage by asparaginyl endopeptidase (AEP, δ-secretase), promotes its own phosphorylation and aggregation. Our study focused on understanding the regulatory mechanisms of AEP activation and its interaction with other proteins. We discovered that c-Src plays a critical role in mediating the activation and polyubiquitination of AEP in response to epidermal growth factor stimulation. In addition, we investigated the involvement of tumor necrosis factor receptor–associated factor 6 (Traf6), an E3 ligase, in the regulation of AEP levels and its interaction with c-Src. Knockdown of Traf6 effectively inhibited c-Src-induced AEP activation. To gain further insights into the molecular mechanisms, we employed mass spectrometry to identify the specific tyrosine residues of Traf6 that are phosphorylated by c-Src. By mutating these phosphorylation sites to phenylalanine, we disrupted Traf6-mediated polyubiquitination and subsequently observed the inactivation of AEP. This finding suggests that the phosphorylation of Traf6 by c-Src is crucial for AEP activation. Pharmacological inhibition of c-Src reduced the phosphorylation of Traf6 and inhibited AEP activation in neurons derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells. Conditional knockout of Traf6 in neurons prevented c-Src-induced AEP activation and subsequent Tau truncation in vivo. Moreover, phosphorylation of Traf6 is highly correlated with AEP activation, Tau368 and pathological Tau (AT8) in Alzheimer's disease brain. Overall, our study elucidates the role of c-Src in regulating AEP-cleaved Tau through phosphorylating Traf6. Targeting the c-Src–Traf6 pathway may hold potential for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105462
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • AEP
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Src
  • Tau pathology
  • Traf6
  • truncation


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