Proteomic Signaling of Dual-Specificity Phosphatase 4 (DUSP4) in Alzheimer’s Disease

Erming Wang, Allen L. Pan, Pritha Bagchi, Srikant Rangaraju, Nicholas T. Seyfried, Michelle E. Ehrlich, Stephen R. Salton, Bin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DUSP4 is a member of the DUSP (dual-specificity phosphatase) subfamily that is selective to the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) and has been implicated in a range of biological processes and functions in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this study, we utilized the stereotactic delivery of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-DUSP4 to overexpress DUSP4 in the dorsal hippocampus of 5xFAD and wildtype (WT) mice, then used mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics along with the label-free quantification to profile the proteome and phosphoproteome in the hippocampus. We identified protein expression and phosphorylation patterns modulated in 5xFAD mice and examined the sex-specific impact of DUSP4 overexpression on the 5xFAD proteome/phosphoproteome. In 5xFAD mice, a substantial number of proteins were up- or down-regulated in both male and female mice in comparison to age and sex-matched WT mice, many of which are involved in AD-related biological processes, such as activated immune response or suppressed synaptic activities. Many proteins in pathways, such as immune response were found to be suppressed in response to DUSP4 overexpression in male 5xFAD mice. In contrast, such a shift was absent in female mice. For the phosphoproteome, we detected an array of phosphorylation sites regulated in 5xFAD compared to WT and modulated via DUSP4 overexpression in each sex. Interestingly, 5xFAD- and DUSP4-associated phosphorylation changes occurred in opposite directions. Strikingly, both the 5xFAD- and DUSP4-associated phosphorylation changes were found to be mostly in neurons and play key roles in neuronal processes and synaptic functions. Site-centric pathway analysis revealed that both the 5xFAD- and DUSP4-associated phosphorylation sites were enriched for a number of kinase sets in females but only a limited number of sets of kinases in male mice. Taken together, our results suggest that male and female 5xFAD mice responded to DUSP4 overexpression via shared and sex-specific molecular mechanisms, which might underly similar reductions in amyloid pathology in both sexes while learning deficits were reduced in only females with DUSP4 overexpression. Finally, we validated our findings with the sex-specific AD-associated proteomes in human cohorts and further developed DUSP4-centric proteomic network models and signaling maps for each sex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • 5xFAD
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • DUSP4
  • MaxQuant
  • co-expression network
  • mouse model
  • phosphoproteomics
  • proteomics


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