Molecular & Cellular Smell Biology Lab


Prof. JaeHyung Koo


Ph.D. Yonsei University

Office : E4-409

Phone : +82-53-785-6112

E-mail :

homepage :


We live on the complexity of the chemical world inside and outside us. Therefore, we are continuously exposed to numerous chemical signals, which are then detected, interpreted, and translated into a cellular response. A thousand of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are responsible for this role on cell membrane and known to exist in the human body, where they play major roles in almost all physiological processes, including smell, taste, sight, glucose metabolism, immune response, and pain tolerance.


In the past two decades, plenty of evidence has been reported on how chemicals (odorants and food) affect the brain through chemoreceptors [olfactory receptor (OR) and taste receptor (TR)] in the nose and tongue, respectively [BRAIN CHEMICALS; smell and taste perception; Figure I]. However, the expression of taste receptors are recently reported in GUT and studied in various parts of the body. The other function of TRs is verified as a non-classical chemoreceptor and even the brain interacts with TRs in the Body (BRAIN BODY via TRs CHEMICALS; Figure II-b). But in the case of ORs, approximately 400 OR genes in humans and more than 1000 genes in rodents are identified with extensive sequence similarities within their transmembrane domains (homology of 40–90%) and relatively few known ligands. In recent years, it is clear that ORs are expressed in many tissues. However, in the majority of these cases, the physiological functions of the ORs remain elusive (CHEMICALS BODY via ORs; Figure II-a).

My research focuses on:

I. Deciphering the molecular and physiological roles of peripheral chemoreceptor functions outside of the sensory neuronal system, in order to identify in vivo ligands, characterize the chemoreceptor-ligand complexes, and develop a drug to maintain homeostasis within this system.

II. Understanding the molecular and physiological mechanisms of how chemoreceptors recognize ligands in the brain, and gene expression regulation of chemoreceptor in diseases (neuroinflammation and metabolism-related diseases) associated animal models and its application.

III. Developing an entirely new technology combining big-data computing methodology and biological insights together.

To address our interests, Our research is performing by the following five groups,

  • NeuroImmuneTEAM
  • BrainTEAM
  • OlfactionTEAM
  • MetaTEAM
  • ConvergenceTEAM

* MRPrimerW(search valid primers for multiple targets of qPCR experiments without matching off-targets)
* Useful sites for Olfaction & Olfactory Receptor
1. Human Olfactory Data Explorer (HORDE)
2. Olfactory Receptor Database (ORDB)
3. Odor Molecules DataBase (OdorDB)
4. Olfactory receptor & their ligands (OlfactionDB)
5. The Human Gene Compendium (Genecard)
6. BioGPS (Gene annotation portal, a complete resource for learning about gene & protein function)

* Chemical senses related website
1. AchemS (The Association for Chemoreception Sciences)
2. ECRO (The European Chemoreception Research Organisation)
3. JASTS (Japanese Association for the Study of Taste and Smell)
4. Monell Chemical Senses Center (A scientific institute for multidisciplinary research on taste, smell and chemosensory irritation)

Selected Publications

  • Kim YH*, Lee NH*, Park BB, Jae YG, Ok K, Kang NN, Hong YR, Choi S, Jeon YH, Lee EH, Byun Y**, Koo JH** (2017) Analogue of dehydroacetic acid as a selective and potent agonist of ectopic odorant receptor by a combination of hydrophilic and hydrophobic interactions. In press.
  • Gillam MP, Ku CR, Lee YJ, Kim J, Kim SH, Lee SJ, Hwang B, Koo JH, Kineman RD, Kiyokawa H, Lee EJ (2017) Somatotroph-specific Aip deficient mice display pre-tumorigenic alterations in cell cycle signaling. J. Endocr. Soc. 1(2): 78-95.
  • Kim D, Chung S, Lee JY, Koo JH, Lee J-H, Jahng JW (2017) Decreased expression of 5-HT1A in the circumvallate taste cells in an animal model of depression. Archives of Oral Biology. 76:42-47.
  • Kim JH and Koo JH (2017) Ectopic odorant receptor: expression and function. 2017(1) TiBMB, KSBMB Webzine
  • Kim H*, Kang NN*, An KH, Kim D, Koo JH**, Kim MS** (2016) MRPrimerV: A database of PCR primers for RNA virus detection. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw1095. Nucleic Acids Res.
  • Park YJ, Lee SK, Jung YS, Lee M, Lee HY, Kim SD, Park JS, Koo JH, Hwang JS, Bae YS (2016) Promotion of formyl peptide receptor 1-mediated neutrophil chemotactic migration by antimicrobial peptides isolated from the centipede Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans. BMB Rep. 49(9):520-525.
  • Koo JH, Wang S, Kang NN, Hur SJ, Bahk YY. (2016) Induction of MAP kinase phosphatase 3 through Erk/MAP kinase activation in three oncogenic Ras (H-, K- and N-Ras)-expressing NIH/3T3 mouse embryonic fibroblast cell lines. BMB Rep. 49(7):370-375.
  • Bae GY, Hong SK, Park JR, Kwon OS, Kim KT, Koo JH, Oh E, Cha HJ. (2016) Chronic TGFβ stimulation promotes the metastatic potential of lung cancer cells by Snail protein stabilization through integrin β3-Akt-GSK3β signaling. Oncotarget. 7(18):25366-76.
  • Cho SJ, Koo JH, Chun KH, Cha HJ (2016) Control of stress signaling in stem cells: crossroads of stem cells and cancer. Tumour Biol. 37(10):12983-12990.
  • Kim H*, Kang NN*, An KH, Koo JH**, Kim M-S** (2016) MRPrimerW: A tool for rapid design of valid high-quality primers for multiple target qPCR experiments. Nucleic Acids Res. 44(W1):W259-66.
  • Kim N, Cho A, Watanabe H, Choi YL, Aziz M, Kassner M, Joung JG, Park AK, Francis JM, Bae JS, Ahn SM, Kim KM, Park JO, Park WY, Ahn MJ, Park K, Koo JH, Yin HH, Cho J. (2016) Integrated genomic approaches identify upregulation of SCRN1 as a novel mechanism associated with acquired resistance to erlotinib in PC9 cells harboring oncogenic EGFR mutation. Oncotarget, 7(12):13797-809.
  • Kang NN, Koo JH, Sen S, Hur SJ, Bahk YY. (2016) A Systematic Study of Nuclear Interactome for C-Terminal Domain Small Phosphatase-Like 2 using the Inducible Expression System and Shotgun Proteomics. BMB Rep. 49(6):319-24.
  • Kwon OS, Oh E, Park JP, Lee JS, Bae GY, Koo JH, Kim H, Choi YL, Choi YS, Kim J, Cha HJ (2015) GalNAc-T14 promotes metastasis through Wnt dependent HOXB9 expression in lung adenocarcinoma. Oncotarget, 6(39):41916-28.
  • Youn S, Kim KI, Ptacek J, Ok K, Novakova Z, Kim Y, Koo JH, Barinka C, Byun Y (2015) Carborane-containing urea-based inhibitors of glutamate carboxypeptidase II: Synthesis and structural characterization. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 25(22): 5232-6.
  • Kim H*, Kang NN*, Chon KW, Kim S, Lee NH, Koo JH**, and Kim MS** (2015) MRPrimer: a MapReduce-based method for the through design of valid and ranked primers for PCR. Nucleic Acids Res. 43(20):e130.
  • Kim JY, Lee JH, Kim D, Kim SM, Koo JH, Jahng JW (2015) Beneficial Effects of Highly Palatable Food on the Behavioral and Neural Adversities induced by Early Life Stress Experience in Female Rats. Int. J. Biol. Sci. 11(10): 1150-1159.
  • Kang NN*, Bahk YY*, Lee NH, Jae YG, Cho YH, Ku CR, Byun Y, Lee EJ, Kim MS**, Koo JH** (2015) Olfactory receptor Olfr544 responding to azelaic acid regulates glucagon secretion in α-cells of mouse pancreatic islets. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 460(3):616-621.
  • Kim D, Lee SH, Kim JY, Koo JH, Kim SM, Kim KN, Lee JH, Jahng JW (2015) Anorexia, anhedonia and depression in rats by chronic dexamethasone. Int. J. Biosci. 6(11): 32-41.
  • Kim SH, Yoon YC, Lee AS, Kang NN, Koo JH, Rhyu MR, Park JH (2015) Expression of human olfactory receptor 10J5 in heart aorta, coronary artery, and endothelial cells and its functional role in angiogenesis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 460(2):404-408.
  • Kang NN*, Kim H*, Jae YG*, Lee NH, Ku CR, Margolis FL, Lee EJ, Bahk YY, Kim MS**, Koo JH** (2015) Olfactory marker protein expression is an indicator of olfactory receptor-associated events in non-olfactory tissues. PLoS ONE. 10(1):e0116097.
  • Lee JY, Kim JY, Ryu V, Kim BT, Koo JH, Lee JH, Jahng JW (2015) Bicuculline ameliorated chronic, but not acute, stress-induced feeding suppression. Int. J. Pharmacol., 11(4): 335-342.
  • Lee NH*, Jung YS*, Lee HY, Kang NN, Park YJ, Hwang JS, Bahk YY, Koo JH**, and Bae YS** (2014) Mouse neutrophils express functional umami taste receptor T1R1/T1R3. BMB Rep. 47(11):649-654.
  • Choi S, Kim YH, Park BB, Park S, Park J. Ok K, Koo JH, Jung YW, Jeon YH, Lee EH, Lee KS, Byun Y (2014) X-ray diffraction and VT-NMR studies of [E]-3-[piperidinyl]-1[2’-hydroxyphenyl]-prop-2-en-1-one. J Mol Struct. 1076: 600-605.
  • Koo JH and Bahk YY (2014) In vivo putative O-GlcNAcylation of human SCP1 and evidence for possible role of its N-terminal disordered structure. BMB Rep. 47(10):593-598.
  • Koo JH** and Byun Y** (2013) Current Status of PET-Imaging Probes of β–Amyloid Plaques. Arch Pharm Res 36(10):1178-1184.
  • Kang NN and Koo JH (2012) Olfactory receptor in non-chemosensory tissues. BMB reports 45 (11):612-622.
  • Khazaei MR, Halfter H, Karimzadeh F, Koo JH, Margolis FL, Young P. (2010) Bex1 is involved in the regeneration of axons after injury. J Neurochem. 115(4):910-920.
  • Koo JH (2010) Bex1 participates in muscle regeneration by regulating myogenic satellite cell differentiation.
  • Lab Anim Res. 26(2):145-151.
  • Kwon HJ*, Koo JH*, Zufall F, Leinders-Zufall T, Margolis FL. (2009) Ca extrusion by NCX is compromised in olfactory sensory neurons of OMP mice. PLoS ONE. 4(1):e4260.
  • Kwon HJ, Koo JH, Margolis JW, Margolis FL. (2008) Molecular Mechanism of NCX regulation via Dynamic Interaction of CAM, OMP and Bex in Olfactory Sensory Neurons. Chemical Senses 33 (8), S59-60.
  • Koo JH**, Smiley MA, Lovering RM, Margolis FL. (2007) Bex1 knockout mice show altered skeletal muscle regeneration. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 363(2):405-410.
  • Pyrski M*, Koo JH*, Polumuri SK, Ruknudin AM, Margolis JW, Schulze DH, Margolis FL. (2007) Sodium/calcium exchanger expression in the mouse and rat olfactory systems. J Comp Neurol. 501(6):944-958.
  • Bernstein SL, Koo JH, Slater BJ, Guo Y, Margolis FL. (2006) Analysis of optic nerve stroke by retinal Bex expression. Mol Vis. 12:147-55.
  • Margolis FL, Koo JH. (2006) Olfactory marker protein (OMP) from PAGE band to structure and function: An overview. Wako Jyunyaku Jiho. 74:9-12.
  • Koo JH, Santasas M, Margolis FL. (2005) Immunolocalization of Bex protein in the mouse brain and olfactory system. J Comp Neurol. 487(1):1-14.
  • Koo JH, Gill S, Pannell L, Menco BP, Margolis JW, Margolis FL. (2004) The interaction of Bex and OMP reveals a dimer of OMP with a short half-life. J Neurochem. 90(1):102-116.
  • Baldisseri DM, Margolis JW, Weber DJ, Koo JH, Margolis FL. (2002) Olfactory marker protein (OMP) exhibits a beta-clam fold in solution: implications for target peptide interaction and olfactory signal transduction. J Mol Biol 319(3):823-837.
  • Koo JH, Margolis JW, Behrens M, Pyrski MM, Margolis FL. (2001) Purification and characterization of Bex, an OMP partner. FASEB J. 15(5), A894-A894.