Predictive network analysis identifies JMJD6 and other potential key drivers in Alzheimer’s disease

Julie P. Merchant, Kuixi Zhu, Marc Y.R. Henrion, Syed S.A. Zaidi, Branden Lau, Sara Moein, Melissa L. Alamprese, Richard V. Pearse, David A. Bennett, Nilüfer Ertekin-Taner, Tracy L. Young-Pearse, Rui Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Despite decades of genetic studies on late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. To better comprehend its complex etiology, we use an integrative approach to build robust predictive (causal) network models using two large human multi-omics datasets. We delineate bulk-tissue gene expression into single cell-type gene expression and integrate clinical and pathologic traits, single nucleotide variation, and deconvoluted gene expression for the construction of cell type-specific predictive network models. Here, we focus on neuron-specific network models and prioritize 19 predicted key drivers modulating Alzheimer’s pathology, which we then validate by knockdown in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons. We find that neuronal knockdown of 10 of the 19 targets significantly modulates levels of amyloid-beta and/or phosphorylated tau peptides, most notably JMJD6. We also confirm our network structure by RNA sequencing in the neurons following knockdown of each of the 10 targets, which additionally predicts that they are upstream regulators of REST and VGF. Our work thus identifies robust neuronal key drivers of the Alzheimer’s-associated network state which may represent therapeutic targets with relevance to both amyloid and tau pathology in Alzheimer’s disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number503
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


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