The MAPK family members p38, JNK, and ERK are all activated downstream of innate immunity's TLR to induce the production of cytokines and inflammatory mediators. However, the relative intensity and duration of the activation of different MAPK appears to determine the type of immune response. The mammalian genome encodes a large number of dual specificity phosphatases (DUSP), many of which act as MAPK phosphatases. In this study, we review the emergence of several DUSP as genes that are differentially expressed and regulated in immune cells. Recently, a series of investigations in mice deficient in DUSP1, DUSP2, or DUSP10 revealed specificity in the regulation of the different MAPK proteins, and defined essential roles in models of local and systemic inflammation. The DUSP family is proposed as a set of molecular control devices specifying and modulating MAPK signaling, which may be targeted to unleash or attenuate innate and adaptive immune effector functions.