Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Seoul National University (2005)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Seoul National University (2012)

Stanford Advisors

  • Jun Ding, Postdoctoral Research Mentor

Research & Scholarship

Lab Affiliations


All Publications

  • Elevated RalA activity in the hippocampus of PI3K gamma knock-out mice lacking NMDAR-dependent long-term depression BMB REPORTS Sim, S., Lee, H., Kim, J., Choi, S., Bakes, J., Jang, D., Lee, K., Han, K., Kim, E., Kaang, B. 2013; 46 (2): 103-106


    Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) play key roles in synaptic plasticity and cognitive functions in the brain. We recently found that genetic deletion of PI3K?, the only known member of class IB PI3Ks, results in impaired N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-dependent long-term depression (NMDAR-LTD) in the hippocampus. The activity of RalA, a small GTP-binding protein, increases following NMDAR-LTD inducing stimuli, and this increase in RalA activity is essential for inducing NMDAR-LTD. We found that RalA activity increased significantly in PI3K? knockout mice. Furthermore, NMDAR-LTD-inducing stimuli did not increase RalA activity in PI3K? knockout mice. These results suggest that constitutively increased RalA activity occludes further increases in RalA activity during induction of LTD, causing impaired NMDAR-LTD. We propose that PI3K? regulates the activity of RalA, which is one of the molecular mechanisms inducing NMDAR dependent LTD.

    View details for DOI 10.5483/BMBRep.2013.46.2.143

    View details for Web of Science ID 000318073100007

    View details for PubMedID 23433113

  • Autistic-like social behaviour in Shank2-mutant mice improved by restoring NMDA receptor function NATURE Won, H., Lee, H., Gee, H. Y., Mah, W., Kim, J., Lee, J., Ha, S., Chung, C., Jung, E. S., Cho, Y. S., Park, S., Lee, J., Lee, K., Kim, D., Bae, Y. C., Kaang, B., Lee, M. G., Kim, E. 2012; 486 (7402): 261-265


    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of conditions characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviours. ASD is a highly heritable disorder involving various genetic determinants. Shank2 (also known as ProSAP1) is a multi-domain scaffolding protein and signalling adaptor enriched at excitatory neuronal synapses, and mutations in the human SHANK2 gene have recently been associated with ASD and intellectual disability. Although ASD-associated genes are being increasingly identified and studied using various approaches, including mouse genetics, further efforts are required to delineate important causal mechanisms with the potential for therapeutic application. Here we show that Shank2-mutant (Shank2(-/-)) mice carrying a mutation identical to the ASD-associated microdeletion in the human SHANK2 gene exhibit ASD-like behaviours including reduced social interaction, reduced social communication by ultrasonic vocalizations, and repetitive jumping. These mice show a marked decrease in NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) glutamate receptor (NMDAR) function. Direct stimulation of NMDARs with D-cycloserine, a partial agonist of NMDARs, normalizes NMDAR function and improves social interaction in Shank2(-/-) mice. Furthermore, treatment of Shank2(-/-) mice with a positive allosteric modulator of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5), which enhances NMDAR function via mGluR5 activation, also normalizes NMDAR function and markedly enhances social interaction. These results suggest that reduced NMDAR function may contribute to the development of ASD-like phenotypes in Shank2(-/-) mice, and mGluR modulation of NMDARs offers a potential strategy to treat ASD.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature11208

    View details for Web of Science ID 000305189000036

    View details for PubMedID 22699620

  • Functional roles of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the dorsal striatum. Learning & memory Do, J., Kim, J., Bakes, J., Lee, K., Kaang, B. 2012; 20 (1): 21-28


    The dorsal striatum, with its functional microcircuits galore, serves as the primary gateway of the basal ganglia and is known to play a key role in implicit learning. Initially, excitatory inputs from the cortex and thalamus arrive on the direct and indirect pathways, where the precise flow of information is then regulated by local GABAergic interneurons. The balance of excitatory and inhibitory transmission in the dorsal striatum is modulated by neuromodulators such as dopamine and acetylcholine. Under pathophysiological states in the dorsal striatum, an alteration in excitatory and inhibitory transmission may underlie dysfunctional motor control. Here, we review the cellular connections and modulation of striatal microcircuits and propose that modulating the excitatory and inhibitory balance in synaptic transmission of the dorsal striatum is important for regulating locomotion.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/lm.025015.111

    View details for PubMedID 23247251

  • Genetic enhancement of behavioral itch responses in mice lacking phosphoinositide 3-kinase-gamma (PI3Kg) MOLECULAR PAIN Lee, B., Descalzi, G., Baek, J., Kim, J., Lee, H., Lee, K., Kaang, B., Zhuo, M. 2011; 7


    Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are important for synaptic plasticity and various brain functions. The only class IB isoform of PI3K, PI3K?, has received the most attention due to its unique roles in synaptic plasticity and cognition. However, the potential role of PI3K? in sensory transmission, such as pain and itch has not been examined. In this study, we present the evidence for the first time, that genetic deletion of PI3K? enhanced scratching behaviours in histamine-dependent and protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR-2)-dependent itch. In contrast, PI3K?-deficient mice did not exhibit enhanced scratching in chloroquine-induced itch, suggesting that PI3K? selectively contributes to certain types of behavioal itch response. Furthermore, PI3K?-deficient mice exhibited normal acute nociceptive responses to thermal and mechanical noxious stimuli. Behavioral licking responses to intraplantar injections of formalin and mechanical allodynia in a chronic inflammatory pain model (CFA) were also not affected by PI3K? gene deletion. Our findings indicate that PI3K? selectively contributes to behavioral itching induced by histamine and PAR-2 agonist, but not chloroquine agonist.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/1744-8069-7-96

    View details for Web of Science ID 000299263200001

    View details for PubMedID 22168443

  • PI3K gamma is required for NMDA receptor-dependent long-term depression and behavioral flexibility NATURE NEUROSCIENCE Kim, J., Lee, H., Sim, S., Baek, J., Yu, N., Choi, J., Ko, H., Lee, Y., Park, S., Kwak, C., Ahn, S., Choi, S. Y., Kim, H., Kim, K., Backx, P. H., Bradley, C. A., Kim, E., Jang, D., Lee, K., Kim, S. J., Zhuo, M., Collingridge, G. L., Kaang, B. 2011; 14 (11): 1447-U123


    Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) has been implicated in synaptic plasticity and other neural functions in the brain. However, the role of individual PI3K isoforms in the brain is unclear. We investigated the role of PI3K? in hippocampal-dependent synaptic plasticity and cognitive functions. We found that PI3K? has a crucial and specific role in NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated synaptic plasticity at mouse Schaffer collateral-commissural synapses. Both genetic deletion and pharmacological inhibition of PI3K? disrupted NMDAR long-term depression (LTD) while leaving other forms of synaptic plasticity intact. Accompanying this physiological deficit, the impairment of NMDAR LTD by PI3K? blockade was specifically correlated with deficits in behavioral flexibility. These findings suggest that a specific PI3K isoform, PI3K?, is critical for NMDAR LTD and some forms of cognitive function. Thus, individual isoforms of PI3Ks may have distinct roles in different types of synaptic plasticity and may therefore influence various kinds of behavior.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nn.2937

    View details for Web of Science ID 000296518600021

    View details for PubMedID 22019731

  • Impairment of long-term potentiation in the hippocampus of alcohol-treated OLETF rats NEUROSCIENCE LETTERS Min, J., Lee, H., Kim, J., Ju, A., Kim, D., Kaang, B. 2011; 500 (1): 52-56


    Type 2 diabetes and chronic heavy alcohol consumption each have been known to be associated with the impairment of hippocampus-dependent cognitive functions. Although both conditions often coexist clinically and there is accumulated evidence of a relationship between the two, the combined effect on hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) has not yet been investigated. We compared the effect of type 2 diabetes itself with that of type 2 diabetes with chronic heavy alcohol consumption on the hippocampal LTP using Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rat model, which resembles the characteristics of human type 2 diabetes. Ten of 16-week-old male OLETF rats were randomized into two treatment groups according to weight: the OLETF-Alcohol (O-A, n=5) and the OLETF-Control (O-C, n=5). The rats in the O-A group were fed Lieber-DeCarli Regular EtOH over a 10-week period and the amount of alcohol consumption was 8.42±2.52g/kg/day. To ensure the effect of poor glycemic control on LTP, intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test was performed after a 10-week treatment. The hippocampal LTP was measured by extracellular field excitatory post-synaptic potentials at Shaffer collateral (SC) synapses in the CA1 region. Although the O-A group showed significantly lower fasting and postprandial glucose (P<0.01 and P=0.02, respectively), the hippocampal LTP was more significantly attenuated in the O-A group than the O-C group (P=0.032). The results of this study suggested that chronic heavy alcohol consumption could potentiate the impairment of hippocampal LTP in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance or early type 2 diabetes, even though it did not aggravate, but did improve glycemic control. Clinical attention to chronic heavy drinking will be required in preventing cognitive impairment in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.05.239

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294087600011

    View details for PubMedID 21683761

  • A novel conditional genetic system reveals that increasing neuronal cAMP enhances memory and retrieval JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE Isiegas, C., McDonough, C., Huang, T., Havekes, R., Fabian, S., Wu, L., Xu, H., Zhao, M., Kim, J., Lee, Y., Lee, H., Ko, H., Lee, N., Choi, S., Lee, J., Son, H., Zhuo, M., Kaang, B., Abel, T. 2008; 28 (24): 6220-6230


    Consistent evidence from pharmacological and genetic studies shows that cAMP is a critical modulator of synaptic plasticity and memory formation. However, the potential of the cAMP signaling pathway as a target for memory enhancement remains unclear because of contradictory findings from pharmacological and genetic approaches. To address these issues, we have developed a novel conditional genetic system in mice based on the heterologous expression of an Aplysia octopamine receptor, a G-protein-coupled receptor whose activation by its natural ligand octopamine leads to rapid and transient increases in cAMP. We find that activation of this receptor transgenically expressed in mouse forebrain neurons induces a rapid elevation of hippocampal cAMP levels, facilitates hippocampus synaptic plasticity, and enhances the consolidation and retrieval of fear memory. Our findings clearly demonstrate that acute increases in cAMP levels selectively in neurons facilitate synaptic plasticity and memory, and illustrate the potential of this heterologous system to study cAMP-mediated processes in mammalian systems.

    View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2935-07.2008

    View details for Web of Science ID 000256668500017

    View details for PubMedID 18550764

  • Synaptic protein degradation underlies destabilization of retrieved fear memory SCIENCE Lee, S., Choi, J., Lee, N., Lee, H., Kim, J., Yu, N., Choi, S., Lee, S., Kim, H., Kaang, B. 2008; 319 (5867): 1253-1256


    Reactivated memory undergoes a rebuilding process that depends on de novo protein synthesis. This suggests that retrieval is dynamic and serves to incorporate new information into preexisting memories. However, little is known about whether or not protein degradation is involved in the reorganization of retrieved memory. We found that postsynaptic proteins were degraded in the hippocampus by polyubiquitination after retrieval of contextual fear memory. Moreover, the infusion of proteasome inhibitor into the CA1 region immediately after retrieval prevented anisomycin-induced memory impairment, as well as the extinction of fear memory. This suggests that ubiquitin- and proteasome-dependent protein degradation underlies destabilization processes after fear memory retrieval. It also provides strong evidence for the existence of reorganization processes whereby preexisting memory is disrupted by protein degradation, and updated memory is reconsolidated by protein synthesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1150541

    View details for Web of Science ID 000253530600047

    View details for PubMedID 18258863