Photo of Mayu  Inaba, M.D., Ph.D.

Mayu Inaba, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology
Academic Office Location:
Cell Biology
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-8739

Inaba Lab Page

Cell Biology Graduate Program

Genetics and Developmental Biology Graduate Program

Curriculum Vitae:
M.D.Ehime University School of MedicineMedicine
Ph.D.Graduate School of Kyushu UniversityPathological Medicine

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
R35 Outstanding Investigator Award, The National Institute of General Medical SciencesNIH, NIGMS
DeLill Nasser Travel Award for Professional Development in GeneticsGenetics Society of America
Travel Award for 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell BiologyAmerican Society for Cell Biology
Research Fellowship 2003 - 2006Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Young Scientists

Tissue stem cells continuously supply new cells to replace short-lived but highly differentiated cell types, such as blood, skin, and sperm. Asymmetric stem cell division balances the self-renewal and differentiation of stem cells, thus essential for the tissue homeostasis. Using Drosophila germline stem cell system, we investigate the mechanism of how one cell becomes two different cells, combining developmental- and cell-biological approaches.


Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Summer 2021, Fall 2021, and Spring 2022

1. Investigate the niche-stem cell signaling dynamics.
Niche ligands have been believed to travel only within a short distance so that they only activate adjacent stem cells but not surrounding differentiating cells. We previously demonstrated that the microtubule-rich cellular protrusions (MT-nanotubes) project from stem cells into the niche cell cluster and help stem cells to engage in adequate level of signaling. We are investigating/testing; 1) dynamics of signal activation on MT-nanotubes using BiFC (Bimolecular fluorescent complementation) technique and live cell imaging, 2) optogenetic induction of nanotube formation, 3) molecular mechanism of local cytoskeleton rearrangement for nanotube formation.   

2. Investigate the mechanism of breaking symmetry at chromatin level.
Transvection is an epigenetic phenomenon that results from a pairing (physical interaction) of homologous chromosomes. Transvection influences gene expression either positively or negatively. We recently found that the local chromatin pairing status of certain gene loci become different during asymmetric cell division. We are characterizing the behavior of several gene loci and determining the relationship of locus pairing status and gene expression level by combining oligopaint DNA FISH, single molecule RNA FISH and live imaging techniques. Although much has been studied about how cells maintain epigenetic information during/after the cell division, the process that alters such information during the differentiation is poorly understood. We are expecting that our finding will open a new venue for understanding this fundamental question of biology.

3. Investigate the mechanism of breaking symmetry of cell cycle program.
We previously demonstrated that phosphorylated Mad protein levels (pMad, a downstream effector of niche signaling) become different during asymmetric division before the completion of cytokinesis when cells are still fully sharing their cytoplasm. At that phase, two daughter cells always synchronously enter S-phase. However, soon after the cytokinesis, each cell starts a different cell cycle program (i.e, stem cell enters longer G2 phase than the other daughter cell). The mechanism of how they acquire different lengths of G2 phases is unclear. As we identified multiple cell cycle regulators as target genes of Mad, we hypothesize that different level of pMad may contribute to reprogram G2 length, whereas elongated cell connectivity enables equalization of factors for S phase synchronization. We are currently investigating the mechanism of this intriguing regulation.


Journal Articles

Book Chapters


Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
Developmental Biology Seminar Series, Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge (Talk: Mayu Inaba)TalkGurdon Institute, University of Cambridge2021Online
Queens College Biology Colloquium, Queens College, CUNY (Talk: Mayu Inaba)Talk Queens College, CUNY, NY2019NY, United States
The Fifth International Oocyte Meeting (Talk: Mayu Inaba)TalkThe Fifth International Oocyte Meeting2019Nice, France
2019 Gordon Research Conference on Fertilization and Activation of Development (Talk: Mayu Inaba)TalkGordon Research Conference2019NH, United States
Cold Spring Harbor Meeting, Germ Cells, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Talk: Mayu Inaba)TalkCold Spring Harbor Laboratory2018NY, United States
The 15th Stem Cell Research Symposium (Talk: Mayu Inaba)Talk2017Tokyo, Japan
Keio University, Department of Microbiology and Immunology (Talk: Mayu Inaba)Talk2017Tokyo, Japan
Northeast Society for Developmental Biology Regional Meeting at MBL (Talk: Mayu Inaba)TalkNortheast Society for Developmental Biology2017MA, United States
International Society for Stem Cell Research, Annual Meeting (Talk: Mayu Inaba)TalkISSCR2016San Francisco, CA, United States
56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, “Cell Biology & Signal Transduction” (Talk: Mayu Inaba)TalkGSA2015Chicago, IL, United States
Annual Meeting, The American Society for Cell Biology, “Positioning the Microtubule Organizing Center: A Matter of Life or Death?” (Talk: Mayu Inaba)TalkASCB2014Philadelphia, PA, United States
52nd Annual Meeting, The American Society for Cell Biology, Mini symposium, Cell Polarity (Talk: Mayu Inaba)TalkASCB2012San Francisco, CA, United States