Differential expression profiles and roles of inducible DUSPs and ERK1/2-specific constitutive DUSP6 and DUSP7 in microglia

Ji Eun Ham, Eun Kyung Oh, Dong-Hun Kim, Sang-Hyun Choi

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Dual-specificity phosphatases (DUSPs) show distinct substrate preferences for specific MAPKs. DUSPs sharing a substrate preference for ERK1/2 may be classified as inducible or constitutive. In contrast to the inducible DUSPs which also dephosphorylate p38 MAPK and JNK in the major inflammatory pathways, constitutive DUSP6 and DUSP7 are specific to ERK1/2 and have not been studied in microglia and other immune cells to date. In the present study, we differentiated mRNA expression profiles of inducible and constitutive DUSPs that dephosphorylate ERK1/2 in microglia. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at 1 ng/ml induced prompt phosphorylation of ERK1/2 with peak induction at 30 min. LPS induced expression of DUSP1, DUSP2, and DUSP5 within 60 min, whereas DUSP4 expression was induced more slowly. DUSP6 and DUSP7 exhibited constitutive basal expression, which decreased immediately after LPS stimulation but subsequently returned to basal levels. The expression of DUSP6 and DUSP7 was regulated inverse to the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in LPS-stimulated microglia. Therefore, we next investigated the correlation between DUSP6 and DUSP7 expression and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in resting and LPS-stimulated microglia. Inhibition of the ERK1/2 pathway by PD98059 and FR180204 resulted in a decrease in DUSP6 and DUSP7 expression, both in resting and LPS-stimulated microglia. These inhibitors partially blocked the LPS-induced expression of DUSP1, DUSP2, and DUSP4, but had no effect on DUSP5. Finally, we examined the role of DUSP6 activity in the downregulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. BCI, an inhibitor of DUSP6, increased the phosphorylation of ERK1/2. However, pretreatment with BCI inhibited the LPS-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2. These results demonstrate that constitutive DUPS6 and DUSP7 expression was downregulated inverse to the expression of inducible DUSPs and the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in LPS-stimulated microglia. The expression of DUPS6 and DUSP7 was mediated by ERK1/2 activity both in resting and LPS-stimulated microglia. In turn, DUSP6 suppressed the basal phosphorylation of ERK1/2, but exerted no suppressive effect on LPS-induced phosphorylation. Although DUSP6 is acknowledged as a negative regulator of the ERK1/2 pathway, such roles of DUSP6 need to be examined further in activated microglia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-260
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 13



  • BCI
  • DUSP6
  • DUSP7
  • FR180204
  • Microglia
  • PD98059

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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