Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, NEURS-PHD (2018)
  • Bachelor of Science, University of California Santa Cruz, Neuroscience and Behavior (2010)

Lab Affiliations

All Publications

  • A SxIP motif interaction at the microtubule plus end is important for processive retrograde axonal transport. Cellular and molecular life sciences Kapur, M., Maloney, M. T., Wang, W., Chen, X., Millan, I., Mooney, T., Yang, J., Yang, Y. 2014; 71 (20): 4043-4054


    The retrograde transport of endosomes within axons proceeds with remarkable uniformity despite having to navigate a discontinuous microtubule network. The mechanisms through which this navigation is achieved remain elusive. In this report, we demonstrate that access of SxIP motif proteins, such as BPAG1n4, to the microtubule plus end is important for the maintenance of processive and sustained retrograde transport along the axon. Disruption of this interaction at the microtubule plus end significantly increases endosome stalling. Our study thus provides strong insight into the role of plus-end-binding proteins in the processive navigation of cargo within the axon.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00018-014-1611-6

    View details for PubMedID 24687423

  • Calcium tips the balance: a microtubule plus end to lattice binding switch operates in the carboxyl terminus of BPAG1n4 EMBO REPORTS Kapur, M., Wang, W., Maloney, M. T., Millan, I., Lundin, V. F., Thuy-An Tran, T. A., Yang, Y. 2012; 13 (11): 1021-1029


    Microtubules (MTs) are integral to numerous cellular functions, such as cell adhesion, differentiation and intracellular transport. Their dynamics are largely controlled by diverse MT-interacting proteins, but the signalling mechanisms that regulate these interactions remain elusive. In this report, we identify a rapid, calcium-regulated switch between MT plus end interaction and lattice binding within the carboxyl terminus of BPAG1n4. This switch is EF-hand dependent, and mutations of the EF-hands abolish this dynamic behaviour. Our study thus uncovers a new, calcium-dependent regulatory mechanism for a spectraplakin, BPAG1n4, at the MT plus end.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/embor.2012.140

    View details for Web of Science ID 000310773300016

    View details for PubMedID 22995871

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3492708

  • Nemitin, a Novel Map8/Map1s Interacting Protein with Wd40 Repeats PLOS ONE Wang, W., Lundin, V. F., Millan, I., Zeng, A., Chen, X., Yang, J., Allen, E., Chen, N., Bach, G., Hsu, A., Maloney, M. T., Kapur, M., Yang, Y. 2012; 7 (4)


    In neurons, a highly regulated microtubule cytoskeleton is essential for many cellular functions. These include axonal transport, regional specialization and synaptic function. Given the critical roles of microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) in maintaining and regulating microtubule stability and dynamics, we sought to understand how this regulation is achieved. Here, we identify a novel LisH/WD40 repeat protein, tentatively named nemitin (neuronal enriched MAP interacting protein), as a potential regulator of MAP8-associated microtubule function. Based on expression at both the mRNA and protein levels, nemitin is enriched in the nervous system. Its protein expression is detected as early as embryonic day 11 and continues through adulthood. Interestingly, when expressed in non-neuronal cells, nemitin displays a diffuse pattern with puncta, although at the ultrastructural level it localizes along the microtubule network in vivo in sciatic nerves. These results suggest that the association of nemitin to microtubules may require an intermediary protein. Indeed, co-expression of nemitin with microtubule-associated protein 8 (MAP8) results in nemitin losing its diffuse pattern, instead decorating microtubules uniformly along with MAP8. Together, these results imply that nemitin may play an important role in regulating the neuronal cytoskeleton through an interaction with MAP8.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0033094

    View details for Web of Science ID 000305345000007

    View details for PubMedID 22523538

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3327699

  • Parkinson's Disease-Associated Kinase PINK1 Regulates Miro Protein Level and Axonal Transport of Mitochondria PLOS GENETICS Liu, S., Sawada, T., Lee, S., Yu, W., Silverio, G., Alapatt, P., Millan, I., Shen, A., Saxton, W., Kanao, T., Takahashi, R., Hattori, N., Imai, Y., Lu, B. 2012; 8 (3)


    Mutations in Pten-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) are linked to early-onset familial Parkinson's disease (FPD). PINK1 has previously been implicated in mitochondrial fission/fusion dynamics, quality control, and electron transport chain function. However, it is not clear how these processes are interconnected and whether they are sufficient to explain all aspects of PINK1 pathogenesis. Here we show that PINK1 also controls mitochondrial motility. In Drosophila, downregulation of dMiro or other components of the mitochondrial transport machinery rescued dPINK1 mutant phenotypes in the muscle and dopaminergic (DA) neurons, whereas dMiro overexpression alone caused DA neuron loss. dMiro protein level was increased in dPINK1 mutant but decreased in dPINK1 or dParkin overexpression conditions. In Drosophila larval motor neurons, overexpression of dPINK1 inhibited axonal mitochondria transport in both anterograde and retrograde directions, whereas dPINK1 knockdown promoted anterograde transport. In HeLa cells, overexpressed hPINK1 worked together with hParkin, another FPD gene, to regulate the ubiquitination and degradation of hMiro1 and hMiro2, apparently in a Ser-156 phosphorylation-independent manner. Also in HeLa cells, loss of hMiro promoted the perinuclear clustering of mitochondria and facilitated autophagy of damaged mitochondria, effects previously associated with activation of the PINK1/Parkin pathway. These newly identified functions of PINK1/Parkin and Miro in mitochondrial transport and mitophagy contribute to our understanding of the complex interplays in mitochondrial quality control that are critically involved in PD pathogenesis, and they may explain the peripheral neuropathy symptoms seen in some PD patients carrying particular PINK1 or Parkin mutations. Moreover, the different effects of loss of PINK1 function on Miro protein level in Drosophila and mouse cells may offer one explanation of the distinct phenotypic manifestations of PINK1 mutants in these two species.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002537

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302254800014

    View details for PubMedID 22396657

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3291531