Keith Mostov, MD, PhD

Keith Mostov, MD, PhD

Professor, Departments of Anatomy and Biochemistry/Biophysics, UCSF

Phone: (415) 476-6048 (voice)
Box 2140, UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-2140

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Cancer Center Membership

Program Member » Breast Oncology

Research Summary

I discovered and cloned the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR) while I was an MD-PhD student with Nobel laureate Günter Blobel and have been a leader in the analysis of the mechanism of how it transcytoses polymeric IgA (pIgA) across epithelial cells ever since. I then moved to the Whitehead Institute as a Whitehead Fellow and PI, where I began R01 AI25144. We expressed the pIgR in MDCK cells and used this as a model to analyze the mechanism of pIgR-pIgA transcytosis, and more generally membrane traffic in polarized epithelial cells. This led to the uncovering of many broad principles in polarized trafficking. We have moved into 3D cultures of epithelial cells in cysts and tubules, which more closely resemble in vivo conditions. We are leaders in how membrane traffic is involved in developing cell polarity in 3D cultures. Most of this work has in common the central role of transcytosis and its regulation. We have trained >50 PhDs and postdoctoral fellows, almost all of whom have academic positions around the world.


University of Chicago, B.A., 1976, Biology
New College, Oxford, Rhodes Scholar, 1976-77, Physiology
Rockefeller University, Ph.D., 1983, Cell Biology
Cornell University Medical College, M.D., 1984, Medicine

Professional Experience

  • 1977-1984
    MD-PhD Program, Rockefeller University and Cornell University (Advisor Günter Blobel)
  • 1984-1988
    Whitehead Fellow and Principal Investigator, Whitehead Institute
  • 1988-1992
    Assistant Professor, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1992-1998
    Associate Professor, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1997-1999
    Vice-Chairman, University of California, San Francisco, Department of Anatomy
  • 1998-present
    Professor, University of California, San Francisco, Departments of Anatomy, and Biochemistry and Biophysics, Cardiovascular Research Inst., Liver Center and Cell Biology Program

Honors & Awards

  • 1976
    Rhodes Scholar
  • 1985
    Charles Hood Foundation Award
  • 1989
    Searle Scholar
  • 1990
    Cancer Research Institute Investigator Award
  • 1991
    Charles E. Culpeper Foundation Scholar in Medical Science
  • 1991
    Edward Mallinckrodt Foundation Medical Scholar
  • 1992
    American Heart Association Established Investigator Award
  • 2002-2012

Selected Publications

  1. p114RhoGEF governs cell motility and lumen formation during tubulogenesis through a ROCK-myosin-II pathway. J Cell Sci. 2015 Dec 1; 128(23):4317-27.
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  2. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase p110d promotes lumen formation through the enhancement of apico-basal polarity and basal membrane organization. Nat Commun. 2015; 6:5937.
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  3. A molecular switch for the orientation of epithelial cell polarization. Dev Cell. 2014 Oct 27; 31(2):171-87.
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  4. Parasympathetic innervation regulates tubulogenesis in the developing salivary gland. Dev Cell. 2014 Aug 25; 30(4):449-62.
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  5. Host cell polarity proteins participate in innate immunity to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Cell Host Microbe. 2014 May 14; 15(5):636-43.
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  6. Intercellular transfer of GPRC5B via exosomes drives HGF-mediated outward growth. Curr Biol. 2014 Jan 20; 24(2):199-204.
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  7. Polarity, cell division, and out-of-equilibrium dynamics control the growth of epithelial structures. J Cell Biol. 2013 Oct 28; 203(2):359-72.
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  8. Apical targeting of the formin Diaphanous in Drosophila tubular epithelia. Elife. 2013; 2:e00666.
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  9. Polarity in mammalian epithelial morphogenesis. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2013 Feb; 5(2).
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  10. Cell height: Tao rising. J Cell Biol. 2012 Dec 24; 199(7):1023-4.
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  11. Synaptotagmin-like proteins control the formation of a single apical membrane domain in epithelial cells. Nat Cell Biol. 2012 Aug; 14(8):838-49.
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  12. Grainyhead-like 2 regulates epithelial morphogenesis by establishing functional tight junctions through the organization of a molecular network among claudin3, claudin4, and Rab25. Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Aug; 23(15):2845-55.
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  13. Cyclic AMP regulates formation of mammary epithelial acini in vitro. Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Aug; 23(15):2973-81.
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  14. Scrib regulates HGF-mediated epithelial morphogenesis and is stabilized by Sgt1-HSP90. J Cell Sci. 2012 Sep 1; 125(Pt 17):4147-57.
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  15. Reduced immunoglobulin A transcytosis associated with immunoglobulin A nephropathy and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 30; 286(52):44921-5.
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  16. Regulation of intrahepatic biliary duct morphogenesis by Claudin 15-like b. Dev Biol. 2012 Jan 1; 361(1):68-78.
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  17. Phosphoinositides in cell architecture. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2011 Aug; 3(8):a004796.
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  18. Pseudomonas aeruginosa interacts with epithelial cells rapidly forming aggregates that are internalized by a Lyn-dependent mechanism. Cell Microbiol. 2011 Aug; 13(8):1212-22.
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  19. p120 catenin is required for normal renal tubulogenesis and glomerulogenesis. Development. 2011 May; 138(10):2099-109.
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  20. MDCK cystogenesis driven by cell stabilization within computational analogues. PLoS Comput Biol. 2011 Apr; 7(4):e1002030.
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