Systems Neuroscience of Adaptive Motor Behavior

Animals have innate motivation to navigate their environments to get useful resources. For this adaptive behavior, the brain integrates tremendous amounts of information from sensory organs and yields appropriate and specific actions to targets during navigation. By analyzing the relationship between the bait signal input and motor outputs, we are beginning to understand the neural circuit mechanisms that rapidly orchestrate goal-directed actions. Coupled with exciting optogenetic tools and cutting-edge technologies including the brain-machine interface and artificial intelligence (AI), the near future promises an exciting time for unraveling the mechanism, how the brain helps us adapt to the world.

Adaptive motor behavior modulated by the thalamus

The thalamus integrates sensory and motor information and relays it to the cortex. This thalamic function is abnormally activated or inhibited to induce severe behavioral symptoms in many neurological conditions, from depression to Parkinson’s disease. By using physiological and genetic technologies, we have revealed principles on the thalamus-dependent behavioral control with hoping that our study opens up promising new avenues for alleviating the suffering of patients.

Adaptive motor behavior to target objects and prey

Since 2014, we initiated a research project inspired by our finding that mice show play-like exploration to small toys. We have identified target neurons activated during object play and found that optogenetic stimulation of these neurons induces hunting-like behaviors to toys and natural preys. Our study may explain how the brain makes motivation toward acquiring useful resources and will unveil the neural basis of economic theories and related disorders. We are studying about how this object-craving circuit interacts with other sensory and motor brain areas and eventually contributes to the adaptation of animals by facilitating the gain of useful resources.

Selected publications

-Park, S.-G. *, Jeong Y.-C. *, Kim, D.-G. *, Lee, M.-H. Lee, Shin A., Park G., Ryoo, J., Hong, J., Bae, S., Kim, C.-H., Lee, P.-S. *, and Kim, D.* (2018) Medial preoptic circuit induces hunting-like actions to target objects and prey. Nature Neuroscience, in press (IF=16)
-Kim, J., Kim Y., Nakajima, R., Shin, A., Jeong M., Park AH., Jeong, Y., Yang, S., Park, H., Cho, SH., Cho, K., Chung J.H., Paik SB., Auguestine, G., Kim D. (2017). Inhibitory basal ganglia inputs induce excitatory motor signals in the thalamus. Neuron, (IF=14)

-Park, A. H.*, Lee, S. H.*, Lee, C., Kim, J., Lee, H. E., Paik, SB., Lee, KJ.*, Kim, D.* (2016). Optogenetic mapping of functional connectivity in freely moving mice via insertable wrapping electrode array beneath the skull. ACS Nano, doi: 10.1021/acsnano.5b07889 (IF=14)

-Kyung, T. *, Lee, S. *, Kim, J. E., Kim, S., Jeong, Y.-M., Kim, D., Woo, D., Park, H., Kim, J., Kim, N. Y., Chae, S., Kim, CH., Han, YM. *, Kim, D. * and Heo, W. D. * (2015) Optogenetic control of endogenous Ca2+ channels in vivo. Nature Biotechnology (IF=41.5)

-Kim, Y., Kim, SH., Kim, KH., Chae, S., Kim, C., Kim, J., Shin, HS., Lee, MS.*, Kim, D.* (2015). Age-dependent gait abnormalities in mice lacking the Rnf170 gene linked to human autosomal-dominant sensory ataxia. Human Molecular Genetics, doi:10.1093/hmg/ddv417

-Hwang, G.-T*., Kim, Y.*, Lee, JH., Oh, SK., Jeong, CK., Park, DY., Ryu, J., Kwon, HS., Lee, SG., Joung, B., Kim, D.* and Lee, KJ.* (2015). Self-powered deep brain stimulation via a flexible PIMNT energy harvester. Energy & Environmental Science, doi: 10.1039/C5EE01593F (IF=20)

-Jo, S.*, Yarishkin, O.*, Hwang, YJ., Chun, YE., Park, M., Woo, DH., Bae, JY., Kim, T., Lee, J., Chun, H., Park, HJ., Lee, D.Y., Hong, J., Kim, HY., Oh, SJ., Park, SJ., Lee, H., Yoon, BE., Kim, Y., Jeong, Y., Shim, I., Bae, YC., Cho, J., Kowall, NW., Ryu, H., Hwang, E., Kim, D.*, Lee, CJ.* (2014). GABA from reactive astrocytes impairs memory in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. Nature Medicine, doi:10.1038/nm.3639 (IF=27.3)

-Kim, J., Woo, J., Park, YG., Chae, S., Jo, S., Choi, JW., Jun, H.Y., Yeom, YI., Park, SH., Kim, KH., Shin, HS. and Kim D. (2011). Thalamic T-type Ca2+ channels mediate frontal lobe dysfunctions caused by a hypoxia-like damage in the prefrontal cortex.  Journal of Neuroscience, 31:4063-4073 (IF=6.3)

-Park, Y., Park, H., Lee, C., Choi, S., Jo, S., Choi, H., Kim, Y., Shin, HS., Llinas, R.R., Kim, D. (2010) CaV3.1 is a tremor rhythm pacemaker in the inferior olive. PNAS, 8;107(23):10731-6 (IF=9.6)

-Kim, D., Park, D., Choi, S., Lee, S., Sun, M., Kim, C., Shin, HS. (2003). "Thalamic control of visceral nociception mediated by T-type Ca2+ channels." Science, 302: 117-119. (IF=33.6)

-Kim, D., Song, I., Keum, S., Lee, T., Jeong, MJ., Kim, SS., McEnery, M. W., Shin, HS. (2001). Lack of the burst firing of thalamocortical relay neurons and resistance to absence seizures in mice lacking alpha(1G) T-type Ca2+ channels.  Neuron, 31(1): 35-45. (IF=15)

-Kim, D., Jun, KS., Lee, S.B., Kang, N.G., Min, DS., Kim, YH., Ryu, SH., Suh, PG., Shin, HS. (1997). Phospholipase C isozymes selectively couple to specific neurotransmitter receptors. Nature, 389: 290-293. (IF=41.4)