Yang Lab

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Our laboratory aims to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of ion and lipid transport across cell membranes and their impacts on health and treatment of disease. We currently focus on calcium-activated ion channels and calcium-activated lipid scramblases, including but not limited to the TMEM16 protein family.

What We’re Asking

  1. How ions and lipids are transported through cell membranes?
  2. What are the cellular functions of ion and lipid transport?
  3. How do ion and lipid transport proteins contribute to physiology and pathology?
  4. Can we target ion and lipid transport proteins to treat related diseases?

What We’ve Discovered

  • TMEM16F is a calcium-activated ion channel and lipid scramblase, which plays a critical role in blood coagulation (Yang, et al, Cell, 2012)

  • Structural basis of the calcium-dependent activation of TMEM16 proteins (Tien, et al, eLife, 2014)

  • TMEM16B as an overlooked calcium-activated chloride channel mediates cerebellar motor learning (Zhang, et al, Neuron, 2017)

  • Subdued is a new calcium-activated lipid scramblase with non-selective channel functions in Drosophila (Le, et al, JBC, 2019)

  • An activation gate that controls TMEM16F lipid and ion transport (Le, et al, Nat. Commun., 2019)

  • Molecular basis of TMEM16A channel desensitization, two-module design of the ion permeation pore and a putative PI(4,5)P2 binding site (Le, et al, Nat. Commun., 2019, accepted)

  • Development of a simple and robust fluorescent labeling method to quantify cell-cell fusion (Zhang and Yang, Placenta, 2019)



Our Techniques and Approaches

  • in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology
  • in vitro and in vivo optical imaging
  • Mouse models
  • Behavioral physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Biochemistry and biophysics