Peter Walter, PhD


Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry/Biophysics, UCSF; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Phone: (415) 476-5017 (voice)
Box 2200, UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-2200

Additional Websites


Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany, Vordiplom, 1976, Chemistry
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, M.Sc., 1977, Organic Chemistry
The Rockefeller University, New York, Ph.D., 1981, Cell Biology

Professional Experience

  • 1976-1977
    Direct Exchange Fellow, Vanderbilt University, in the laboratory of Dr. T.M. Harris
  • 1977-1981
    Graduate Fellow, The Rockefeller University, in the laboratory of Dr. G. Blobel
  • 1981-1982
    Postdoctoral Fellow, The Rockefeller University, in the laboratory of Dr. G. Blobel
  • 1982-1983
    Assistant Professor, Laboratory of Cell Biology, The Rockefeller University
  • 1983-1986
    Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco
  • 1986-1991
    Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, UCSF
  • 1991-present
    Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, UCSF
  • 1997-present
    Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • 2001-present
    Chair, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics Department, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • 1983
    Searle Scholar Award
  • 1988
    Eli Lilly Award for Fundamental Research in Biological Chemistry
  • 1988
    Passano Award
  • 1989
    Alfred P. Sloan Award
  • 1993
    NIH MERIT Award
  • 1996
    Harvey Lecturer, Rockefeller University, New York
  • 1998
    American Academy of Microbiology (elected Fellow)
  • 1998
    Feodor-Lynen-Lecture, Mosbach Kolloquium, Germany
  • 2001
    American Academy of Arts & Sciences (elected Fellow)
  • 2004
    National Academy of Sciences (elected Member)
  • 2004
    European Molecular Biology Organization (elected Associate Member)
  • 2004
    Virchow Lecture, Universität Würzburg
  • 2005
    Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences (with Dr. Kazutoshi Mori)
  • 2005
    George E. Palade Distinguished Lecture, Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • 2006
    47th Stadtler Lecture, University of Texas
  • 2006
    Leopoldina Academy of Scientists (elected member)

Selected Publications

  • Cox, J.S. & Walter, P. (1996) A novel mechanism for regulating activity of a transcription factor that controls the unfolded protein response. Cell 87: 391-404.
  • Sidrauski, C., Cox, J.S. & Walter, P. (1996) tRNA ligase is required for regulated mRNA splicing in the unfolded protein response. Cell 87: 405-413.
  • Freymann, D.M., Keenan, R.J., Stroud, R.M.,& Walter, P. (1997) Structure of the conserved GTPase domain of the signal recognition particle. Nature 385: 361-364.
  • Cox, J., Chapman, R., & Walter, P. (1997) The unfolded protein response coordinates the production of ER protein and ER membrane. Molecular Biology of the Cell 8:1805-1814.
  • Keenan, R., Freymann, D., Walter, P. & Stroud, R. (1998) Crystal structure of the signal sequence binding subunit of the signal recognition particle. Cell 94: 181-191.
  • Freymann, D.M., Keenan, R.J., Stroud, R.M., & Walter, P. (1999) Functional changes in the structure of the SRP GTPase on binding GDP and Mg2+GDP. Nature Structural Biology 6: 793-801.
  • Gonzalez, T., Sidrauski, C., Dörfler, S., & Walter, P. (1999) Mechanism of non-spliceosomal mRNA splicing in the unfolded protein response pathway. EMBO J. 18: 3119-3132.
  • Niwa, M., Sidrauski, C., & Walter, P. (1999) A Role for presenilin-1 in nuclear accumulation of Ire1 fragments and induction of the mammalian unfolded protein response. Cell 99: 691-702.
  • Travers, K.J., Patil, C.K., Wodicka, L., Lockhart, D.J., Weissman, J., & Walter, P. (2000) Functional and genomic analyses reveal essential coordination between the UPR and ER-associated degradation. Cell 101: 249-258.
  • Peluso, P., Herschlag, D., Nock, S., Freymann, D., Johnson, A.E., & Walter, P. (2000) Role of 4.5 S RNA in assembly of the bacterial signal recognition particle with its receptor. Science 288: 1640-1643.
  • Heiman, M.G. & Walter, P. (2000) Prm1p, a pheromone-regulated multispanning membrane protein, facilitates plasma membrane fusion during yeast mating. J. Cell Biology 151: 719-730.
  • Rüegsegger, U., Leber, J.H., & Walter, P. (2001) Block of HAC1 mRNA translation by long-range base pairing is released by cytoplasmic splicing upon induction of the unfolded protein response. Cell 107: 103-114.
  • Peluso, P., Shan, S., Nick, S., Herschlag, D., & Walter, P. (2001) Role of SRP RNA in the GTPase cycles of Ffh and FtsY. Biochemistry 40: 15224-15233.
  • Helenius, J., Ng, D.T.W., Marolda, C.L., Walter, P., Valvano, M.A., & Aebl, M. (2002) Translocation of lipid-linked oligosaccharides across the ER membrane requires Rft1 protein. Nature 415: 447-450.
  • Shan, S. & Walter, P. (2003) Induced nucleotide specificity in a GTPase. Proc Natl Acad Sci 100: 4480-85.
  • Papa, F., Zhang, C. Shokat, K. & Walter, P. (2003) Bypassing a kinase activity with an ATP-competitive drug. Science 302: 1533-1537.
  • Egea, P., Shan, S., Napetschnig, J., Savage, D., Walter, P., & Stroud, R. (2004) Substrate twinning activates the signal recognition particle and its receptor. Nature 427: 215-221.
  • Leber, J., Bernales, S., & Walter, P. (2004) IRE1-independent gain control of UPR, PLoS Biol 2 (8): e235.
  • Patil, C., Li, H., & Walter, P. (2004) A role for Gcn4p and novel upstream activating sequences in the unfolded protein response, Public Library of Science, Biology 2 (8): e246.
  • Shan, S., Stroud, R., & Walter, P. (2004) Mechanism of association and reciprocal activation of two GTPases. Public Library of Science, Biology 2 (11): e320.
  • Chu, F., Shan, S. Moustakas, D., Alber, F., Egea, P., Stroud, R., Walter, P. & Burlingame, A. (2004) Unraveling the interface of SRP and its receptor using chemical cross-linking and mass spectrometry. Proc Natl Acad Sciences 101: 16454-16459.
  • Niwa, M., Patil, C., DeRisi, J., & Walter, P. (2004) Genome-scale approaches for discovering novel non-conventional splicing substrates of the Ire1 nuclease. Genome Biol. 6 (1): R3.1-10.
  • Shan, S. & Walter, P. (2005) Molecular crosstalk between the nucleotide specificity determinant of the SRP GTPase and the SRP receptor. Bichemistry 44: 6214-6222.
  • Credle, J., Finer-Moore, J., Papa, F., Stroud, R., & Walter, P. (2005) On the mechanism of sensing unfolded protein in the Endoplasmic Reticulum. Proc Natl Acad Sciences 102: 18773-84.
  • Walther, T., Brickner, J. Aguilar, P., Bernales, S., Pantoja, C., & Walter, P. (2006) Eisosomes define static sites of endocytosis. Nature 439 (23): 998-1003.
  • Bernales, S., McDonald KL, & Walter, P. Autophagy counterbalances endoplasmic reticulum expansion during the unfolded protein response. PLoS Biology 4 (12): e423.