Large-scale deep multi-layer analysis of Alzheimer's disease brain reveals strong proteomic disease-related changes not observed at the RNA level

Nat Neurosci. 2022 Feb;25(2):213-225. doi: 10.1038/s41593-021-00999-y. Epub 2022 Feb 3.


The biological processes that are disrupted in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain remain incompletely understood. In this study, we analyzed the proteomes of more than 1,000 brain tissues to reveal new AD-related protein co-expression modules that were highly preserved across cohorts and brain regions. Nearly half of the protein co-expression modules, including modules significantly altered in AD, were not observed in RNA networks from the same cohorts and brain regions, highlighting the proteopathic nature of AD. Two such AD-associated modules unique to the proteomic network included a module related to MAPK signaling and metabolism and a module related to the matrisome. The matrisome module was influenced by the APOE ε4 allele but was not related to the rate of cognitive decline after adjustment for neuropathology. By contrast, the MAPK/metabolism module was strongly associated with the rate of cognitive decline. Disease-associated modules unique to the proteome are sources of promising therapeutic targets and biomarkers for AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Proteome
  • Proteomics
  • RNA / metabolism


  • Proteome
  • RNA