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Junn, Eunsung PhD

Associate Professor

Ph.D. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), 1996

Phone: 732-235-5478 (office) 732-235-4762 (lab)
Fax: 732-235-4773


Research Interest

My research employs genetic, cell biological and biochemical approaches to explore the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is a common disorder of the nervous system that affects patients later in life with tremor, slowness of movements, gait instability, and rigidity. These impairments stem from the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. Although the majority of Parkinson cases appear to be sporadic, the disorder runs in families in about 15-20% of the cases. Mutations in several genes including alpha-synuclein, parkin, pink1, dj-1 and lrrk2 are responsible for familial forms of PD. Understanding how mutations in these genes cause neurodegeneration is crucial in the development of new treatments that might slow or stop the disease progression. Consequently, my lab is currently investigating the role of these genes in the pathogenesis of PD.

MicroRNAs are a class of endogenous 20-25 base-long single-stranded, non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression in a sequence-specific manner by binding to their target sequence in the 3’ untranslated region (UTR) of mRNA. We reported that microRNA-7 plays a protective role in cellular models of PD by directly targeting and downregulating the expression of alpha-synuclein and RelA. Currently, my research extends these findings to investigate the effects of microRNA-7 in in vivo mouse models. Identifying microRNA species involved in the pathogenesis of PD is one of my active research interests.

Selected Publications

  • Junn E, Ronchetti RD, Quezado MM, Kim SY, Mouradian MM. “Tissue transglutaminase- induced aggregation of {alpha}-synuclein: Implications for Lewy body formation in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 100(4): 2047-2052, 2003.
  • Junn E, Taniguchi H, Jeong BS, Zhao X, Ichijo H and Mouradian MM “ Interaction of DJ-1 with Daxx inhibits apoptosis signal-regulating kinase activity and cell death” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 102(27): 9691-9696. 2005.
  • Junn E, Lee KW, Jeong BS, Chan TW, Im JW and Mouradian MM “Repression of alpha-synuclein expression and toxicity by microRNA-7” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 106(31): 13052-7. 2009.
  • Choi DC, Chae YJ, Kabaria S, Chaudhuri AD, Jain MR, Li H, Mouradian MM, and Junn E “MicroRNA-7 protects against1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium-induced cell death by targeting RelA” J. of Neuroscience, 34(38): 12725-12737, 2014.
  • Kabaria S, Chaudhuri AD, Choi DC, Mouradian MM and Junn E “Inhibition of miR-34b and miR-34c enhances α-synuclein expression in Parkinson's disease” FEBS Lett., 589(3) 319-325, 2015.
  • Chaudhuri AD, Kabaria S, Choi DC, Mouradian MM and Junn E “MicroRNA-7 promotes glycolysis to protect against 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium-induced cell death” J. Biol. Chem., 290(19): 12425-34, 2015.


View Dr. Junn’s whole publication here