Dr.Jang is a passionate neuroscientist who has strong interests in investigating the mechanisms that underly neurological disorders such as Epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Honors & Awards
2018 Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, American Epilepsy Society (2018)
2015 Pre-Doctoral Research Award, Association of Korean Neuroscientist, USA (2015)
Post-Doc, Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, CA, USA, Neuroscience (2021)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA, Neuroscience (2019)
Master of Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea, Neuroscience (2009)
Bachelor of Science, KonKuk University, Seoul, South Korea, Biological Science (2007)
John Huguenard, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Community and International Work
Volunteer, Champaign, IL
Brain Awareness Day
the Orpheum Children's Science Museum
Opportunities for Student Involvement
Aβ initiates brain hypometabolism, network dysfunction and behavioral abnormalities via NOX2-induced oxidative stress in mice.
2021; 4 (1): 1054
A predominant trigger and driver of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the synergy of brain oxidative stress and glucose hypometabolism starting at early preclinical stages. Oxidative stress damages macromolecules, while glucose hypometabolism impairs cellular energy supply and antioxidant defense. However, the exact cause of AD-associated glucose hypometabolism and its network consequences have remained unknown. Here we report NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) activation as the main initiating mechanism behind Aβ1-42-related glucose hypometabolism and network dysfunction. We utilize a combination of electrophysiology with real-time recordings of metabolic transients both ex- and in-vivo to show that Aβ1-42 induces oxidative stress and acutely reduces cellular glucose consumption followed by long-lasting network hyperactivity and abnormalities in the animal behavioral profile. Critically, all of these pathological changes were prevented by the novel bioavailable NOX2 antagonist GSK2795039. Our data provide direct experimental evidence for causes and consequences of AD-related brain glucose hypometabolism, and suggest that targeting NOX2-mediated oxidative stress is a promising approach to both the prevention and treatment of AD.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s42003-021-02551-x
View details for PubMedID 34504272
A sensitive and specific nanosensor for monitoring extracellular potassium levels in the brain
2020; 15 (4): 321-+
Extracellular potassium concentration affects the membrane potential of neurons, and, thus, neuronal activity. Indeed, alterations of potassium levels can be related to neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease, and, therefore, selectively detecting extracellular potassium would allow the monitoring of disease. However, currently available optical reporters are not capable of detecting small changes in potassium, in particular, in freely moving animals. Furthermore, they are susceptible to interference from sodium ions. Here, we report a highly sensitive and specific potassium nanosensor that can monitor potassium changes in the brain of freely moving mice undergoing epileptic seizures. An optical potassium indicator is embedded in mesoporous silica nanoparticles, which are shielded by an ultrathin layer of a potassium-permeable membrane, which prevents diffusion of other cations and allows the specific capturing of potassium ions. The shielded nanosensor enables the spatial mapping of potassium ion release in the hippocampus of freely moving mice.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41565-020-0634-4
View details for Web of Science ID 000512527400001
View details for PubMedID 32042163
TNF-α increases the intrinsic excitability of cerebellar Purkinje cells through elevating glutamate release in Bergmann Glia.
2018; 8 (1): 11589
For decades, the glial function has been highlighted not only as the 'structural glue', but also as an 'active participant' in neural circuits. Here, we suggest that tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), a key inflammatory cytokine, alters the neural activity of the cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs) by facilitating gliotransmission in the juvenile male rat cerebellum. A bath application of TNF-α (100 ng/ml) in acute cerebellar slices elevates spiking activity of PCs with no alterations in the regularity of PC firings. Interestingly, the effect of TNF-α on the intrinsic excitability of PCs was abolished under a condition in which the type1 TNF receptor (TNFR1) in Bergmann glia (BG) was genetically suppressed by viral delivery of an adeno-associated virus (AAV) containing TNFR1-shRNA. In addition, we measured the concentration of glutamate derived from dissociated cerebellar cortical astrocyte cultures treated with TNF-α and observed a progressive increase of glutamate in a time-dependent manner. We hypothesised that TNF-α-induced elevation of glutamate from BGs enveloping the synaptic cleft may directly activate metabotropic glutamate receptor1 (mGluR1). Pharmacological inhibition of mGluR1, indeed, prevented the TNF-α-mediated elevation of the intrinsic excitability in PCs. Taken together, our study reveals that TNF-α triggers glutamate release in BG, thereby increasing the intrinsic excitability of cerebellar PCs in a mGluR1-dependent manner.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-29786-9
View details for PubMedID 30072733
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6072779
Helicobacter pylori Infection Modulates Host Cell Metabolism through VacA-Dependent Inhibition of mTORC1.
Cell host & microbe
2018; 23 (5): 583-593.e8
Helicobacter pylori (Hp) vacuolating cytotoxin (VacA) is a bacterial exotoxin that enters host cells and induces mitochondrial dysfunction. However, the extent to which VacA-dependent mitochondrial perturbations affect overall cellular metabolism is poorly understood. We report that VacA perturbations in mitochondria are linked to alterations in cellular amino acid homeostasis, which results in the inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and subsequent autophagy. mTORC1, which regulates cellular metabolism during nutrient stress, is inhibited during Hp infection by a VacA-dependent mechanism. This VacA-dependent inhibition of mTORC1 signaling is linked to the dissociation of mTORC1 from the lysosomal surface and results in activation of cellular autophagy through the Unc 51-like kinase 1 (Ulk1) complex. VacA intoxication results in reduced cellular amino acids, and bolstering amino acid pools prevents VacA-mediated mTORC1 inhibition. Overall, these studies support a model that Hp modulate host cell metabolism through the action of VacA at mitochondria.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chom.2018.04.006
View details for PubMedID 29746831
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6538298
Electroconvulsive Seizures in Rats and Fractionation of Their Hippocampi to Examine Seizure-induced Changes in Postsynaptic Density Proteins.
Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Electroconvulsive seizure (ECS) is an experimental animal model of electroconvulsive therapy, the most effective treatment for severe depression. ECS induces generalized tonic-clonic seizures with low mortality and neuronal death and is a widely-used model to screen anti-epileptic drugs. Here, we describe an ECS induction method in which a brief 55-mA current is delivered for 0.5 s to male rats 200 - 250 g in weight via ear-clip electrodes. Such bilateral stimulation produced stage 4 - 5 clonic seizures that lasted about 10 s. After the cessation of acute or chronic ECS, most rats recovered to be behaviorally indistinguishable from sham "no seizure" rats. Because ECS globally elevates brain activity, it has also been used to examine activity-dependent alterations of synaptic proteins and their effects on synaptic strength using multiple methods. In particular, subcellular fractionation of the postsynaptic density (PSD) in combination with Western blotting allows for the quantitative determination of the abundance of synaptic proteins at this specialized synaptic structure. In contrast to a previous fractionation method that requires large amount of rodent brains, we describe here a small-scale fractionation method to isolate the PSD from the hippocampi of a single rat, without sucrose gradient centrifugation. Using this method, we show that the isolated PSD fraction contains postsynaptic membrane proteins, including PSD95, GluN2B, and GluA2. Presynaptic marker synaptophysin and soluble cytoplasmic protein α-tubulin were excluded from the PSD fraction, demonstrating successful PSD isolation. Furthermore, chronic ECS decreased GluN2B expression in the PSD, indicating that our small-scale PSD fractionation method can be applied to detect the changes in hippocampal PSD proteins from a single rat after genetic, pharmacological, or mechanical treatments.
View details for DOI 10.3791/56016
View details for PubMedID 28829421
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5584399
mGlu1 receptor mediates homeostatic control of intrinsic excitability through Ih in cerebellar Purkinje cells.
Journal of neurophysiology
2016; 115 (5): 2446-55
Homeostatic intrinsic plasticity is a cellular mechanism for maintaining a stable neuronal activity level in response to developmental or activity-dependent changes. Type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGlu1 receptor) has been widely known to monitor neuronal activity, which plays a role as a modulator of intrinsic and synaptic plasticity of neurons. Whether mGlu1 receptor contributes to the compensatory adjustment of Purkinje cells (PCs), the sole output of the cerebellar cortex, in response to chronic changes in excitability remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the mGlu1 receptor is involved in homeostatic intrinsic plasticity through the upregulation of the hyperpolarization-activated current (Ih) in cerebellar PCs. This plasticity was prevented by inhibiting the mGlu1 receptor with Bay 36-7620, an mGlu1 receptor inverse agonist, but not with CPCCOEt, a neutral antagonist. Chronic inactivation with tetrodotoxin (TTX) increased the components of Ih in the PCs, and ZD 7288, a hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel selective inhibitor, fully restored reduction of firing rates in the deprived neurons. The homeostatic elevation of Ih was also prevented by BAY 36-7620, but not CPCCOEt. Furthermore, KT 5720, a blocker of protein kinase A (PKA), prevented the effect of TTX reducing the evoked firing rates, indicating the reduction in excitability of PCs due to PKA activation. Our study shows that both the mGlu1 receptor and the PKA pathway are involved in the homeostatic intrinsic plasticity of PCs after chronic blockade of the network activity, which provides a novel understanding on how cerebellar PCs can preserve the homeostatic state under activity-deprived conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1152/jn.00566.2015
View details for PubMedID 26912592
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4922465
Seizure-Induced Regulations of Amyloid-β, STEP61, and STEP61 Substrates Involved in Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity.
2016; 2016: 2123748
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive cognitive decline. Pathologic accumulation of soluble amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers impairs synaptic plasticity and causes epileptic seizures, both of which contribute to cognitive dysfunction in AD. However, whether seizures could regulate Aβ-induced synaptic weakening remains unclear. Here we show that a single episode of electroconvulsive seizures (ECS) increased protein expression of membrane-associated STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP61) and decreased tyrosine-phosphorylation of its substrates N-methyl D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) subunit GluN2B and extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) in the rat hippocampus at 2 days following a single ECS. Interestingly, a significant decrease in ERK1/2 expression and an increase in APP and Aβ levels were observed at 3-4 days following a single ECS when STEP61 level returned to the baseline. Given that pathologic levels of Aβ increase STEP61 activity and STEP61-mediated dephosphorylation of GluN2B and ERK1/2 leads to NMDAR internalization and ERK1/2 inactivation, we propose that upregulation of STEP61 and downregulation of GluN2B and ERK1/2 phosphorylation mediate compensatory weakening of synaptic strength in response to acute enhancement of hippocampal network activity, whereas delayed decrease in ERK1/2 expression and increase in APP and Aβ expression may contribute to the maintenance of this synaptic weakening.
View details for DOI 10.1155/2016/2123748
View details for PubMedID 27127657
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4835651
Emerging Link between Alzheimer's Disease and Homeostatic Synaptic Plasticity.
2016; 2016: 7969272
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an irreversible brain disorder characterized by progressive cognitive decline and neurodegeneration of brain regions that are crucial for learning and memory. Although intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and extracellular senile plaques, composed of insoluble amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides, have been the hallmarks of postmortem AD brains, memory impairment in early AD correlates better with pathological accumulation of soluble Aβ oligomers and persistent weakening of excitatory synaptic strength, which is demonstrated by inhibition of long-term potentiation, enhancement of long-term depression, and loss of synapses. However, current, approved interventions aiming to reduce Aβ levels have failed to retard disease progression; this has led to a pressing need to identify and target alternative pathogenic mechanisms of AD. Recently, it has been suggested that the disruption of Hebbian synaptic plasticity in AD is due to aberrant metaplasticity, which is a form of homeostatic plasticity that tunes the magnitude and direction of future synaptic plasticity based on previous neuronal or synaptic activity. This review examines emerging evidence for aberrant metaplasticity in AD. Putative mechanisms underlying aberrant metaplasticity in AD will also be discussed. We hope this review inspires future studies to test the extent to which these mechanisms contribute to the etiology of AD and offer therapeutic targets.
View details for DOI 10.1155/2016/7969272
View details for PubMedID 27019755
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4785275
Regulation of STEP61 and tyrosine-phosphorylation of NMDA and AMPA receptors during homeostatic synaptic plasticity.
2015; 8 (1): 55
Sustained changes in network activity cause homeostatic synaptic plasticity in part by altering the postsynaptic accumulation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAR) and α-amino-3-hydroxyle-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPAR), which are primary mediators of excitatory synaptic transmission. A key trafficking modulator of NMDAR and AMPAR is STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP61) that opposes synaptic strengthening through dephosphorylation of NMDAR subunit GluN2B and AMPAR subunit GluA2. However, the role of STEP61 in homeostatic synaptic plasticity is unknown.We demonstrate here that prolonged activity blockade leads to synaptic scaling, and a concurrent decrease in STEP61 level and activity in rat dissociated hippocampal cultured neurons. Consistent with STEP61 reduction, prolonged activity blockade enhances the tyrosine phosphorylation of GluN2B and GluA2 whereas increasing STEP61 activity blocks this regulation and synaptic scaling. Conversely, prolonged activity enhancement increases STEP61 level and activity, and reduces the tyrosine phosphorylation and level of GluN2B as well as GluA2 expression in a STEP61-dependent manner.Given that STEP61-mediated dephosphorylation of GluN2B and GluA2 leads to their internalization, our results collectively suggest that activity-dependent regulation of STEP61 and its substrates GluN2B and GluA2 may contribute to homeostatic stabilization of excitatory synapses.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s13041-015-0148-4
View details for PubMedID 26391783
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4578242
The phosphorylation of STAT6 during ischemic reperfusion in rat cerebral cortex.
2014; 25 (1): 18-22
For many years, brain ischemia has been known to be a leading cause of adult neurological disorder. In particular, many reports have shown that hyperexcitability of neurons and inflammatory response of the glia induced by ischemic reperfusion (I/R) determine the fate of cells in the ischemic core and the penumbra region. Although there are many reports on the activation and roles of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins (STAT1, STAT3, and STAT5) during hyperexcitation in the neuron and inflammation occurring following I/R, the temporal and spatial activation of STAT6 protein in the ischemic cortex still remain elusive. In this study, using a transient rat middle cerebral artery occlusion model, we primarily investigated the time-course expression of the phosphorylated STAT6 (pSTAT6) in the ischemic core region following I/R, which was compared with that of pSTAT3. We found that pSTAT6 significantly decreases at 1 and 12 h following I/R, whereas pSTAT3 markedly increases at each follow-up time point. In addition, the level of pSTAT6 is reduced in the ischemic core in comparison with the penumbra region at 12 h following I/R. However, there is no significant difference in pSTAT3 expression between the ischemic core and the penumbra. Taken together, our data suggest that pSTAT6 and pSTAT3 are modulated differently following I/R during ischemic stroke.
View details for DOI 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000022
View details for PubMedID 24296793
Endothelial progenitor cells functionally express inward rectifier potassium channels.
American journal of physiology. Cell physiology
2011; 301 (1): C150-61
Since the first isolation of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) from human peripheral blood in 1997, many researchers have conducted studies to understand the characteristics and therapeutic effects of EPCs in vascular disease models. Nevertheless, the electrophysiological properties of EPCs have yet to be clearly elucidated. The inward rectifier potassium channel (Kir) performs a major role in controlling the membrane potential and cellular events. Here, via the whole cell patch-clamp technique, we found inwardly rectifying currents in EPCs and that these currents were inhibited by Ba(2+) (100 μM) and Cs(+) (1 mM), known as Kir blockers, in a dose-dependent manner (Ba(2+), 91.2 ± 1.4% at -140 mV and Cs(+), 76.1 ± 6.9% at -140 mV, respectively). Next, using DiBAC(3), a fluorescence indicator of membrane potential, we verified that Ba(2+) induced an increase of fluorescence in EPCs (10 μM, 123 ± 2.8%), implying the depolarization of EPCs. At the mRNA and protein levels, we confirmed the existence of several Kir subtypes, including Kir2.x, 3.x, 4.x, and 6.x. In a functional experiment, we observed that, in the presence of Ba(2+), the number of tubes on Matrigel formed by EPCs was dose-dependently reduced (10 μM, 62.3 ± 6.5%). In addition, the proliferation of EPCs was increased in a dose-dependent fashion (10 μM, 157.9 ± 17.4%), and specific inhibition of Kir2.1 by small interfering RNA also increased the proliferation of EPCs (116.2 ± 2.5%). Our results demonstrate that EPCs express several types of Kir which may modulate the endothelial function and proliferation of EPCs.
View details for DOI 10.1152/ajpcell.00002.2010
View details for PubMedID 21411724
A role of canonical transient receptor potential 5 channel in neuronal differentiation from A2B5 neural progenitor cells.
2010; 5 (5): e10359
Store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) channels are the main pathway of Ca(2+) entry in non-excitable cells such as neural progenitor cells (NPCs). However, the role of SOCE channels has not been defined in the neuronal differentiation from NPCs. Here, we show that canonical transient receptor potential channel (TRPC) as SOCE channel influences the induction of the neuronal differentiation of A2B5(+) NPCs isolated from postnatal-12-day rat cerebrums. The amplitudes of SOCE were significantly higher in neural cells differentiated from proliferating A2B5(+) NPCs and applications of SOCE blockers, 2-aminoethoxy-diphenylborane (2-APB), and ruthenium red (RR), inhibited their rise of SOCE. Among TRPC subtypes (TRPC1-7), marked expression of TRPC5 and TRPC6 with turned-off TRPC1 expression was observed in neuronal cells differentiated from proliferating A2B5(+) NPCs. TRPC5 small interfering RNA (siRNA) blocked the neuronal differentiation from A2B5(+) NPCs and reduced the rise of SOCE. In contrast, TRPC6 siRNA had no significant effect on the neuronal differentiation from A2B5(+) NPCs. These results indicate that calcium regulation by TRPC5 would play a key role as a switch between proliferation and neuronal differentiation from NPCs.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0010359
View details for PubMedID 20479868
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2866321
Agonist-induced internalization of mGluR1 alpha is mediated by caveolin
JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY
2009; 111 (1): 61-71
Agonist-induced internalization of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) plays an important role in neuronal signaling. Although internalization of mGluRs has been reported to be mediated by clathrin-dependent pathway, studies describing clathrin-independent pathways are emerging. Here, we report that agonist-induced internalization of mGluR1alpha is mediated by caveolin. We show that two caveolin-binding motifs of mGluR1alpha interact with caveolin1/2. Using cell surface-immunoprecipitation and total internal reflection fluorescence imaging, we found that agonist-induced internalization of mGluR1alpha is regulated by caveolin-binding motifs of the receptor in heterologous cells. Moreover, in the cerebellum, group I mGluR agonist dihydroxyphenylglycol increased the interaction of phosphorylated caveolin with mGluR1alpha. This interaction was blocked by methyl-beta-cyclodextrin, known to disrupt caveolin/caveolae-dependent signaling by cholesterol depletion. Methyl-beta-cyclodextrin also blocked the agonist-induced internalization of mGluR1alpha. Thus, these findings represent the evidence for agonist-induced internalization of mGluR1alpha via caveolin and suggest that caveolin might play a role in synaptic metaplasticity by regulating internalization of mGluR1alpha in the cerebellum.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06289.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000269807900006
View details for PubMedID 19627451