University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Keith Mostov, MD, PhD

Keith Mostov, MD, PhD

Professor, Departments of Anatomy and Biochemistry/Biophysics, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Affiliate Member

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. Yang J, Antin P, Berx G, Blanpain C, Brabletz T, Bronner M, Campbell K, Cano A, Casanova J, Christofori G, Dedhar S, Derynck R, Ford HL, Fuxe J, García de Herreros A, Goodall GJ, Hadjantonakis AK, Huang RJY, Kalcheim C, Kalluri R, Kang Y, Khew-Goodall Y, Levine H, Liu J, Longmore GD, Mani SA, Massagué J, Mayor R, McClay D, Mostov KE, Newgreen DF, Nieto MA, Puisieux A, Runyan R, Savagner P, Stanger B, Stemmler MP, Takahashi Y, Takeichi M, Theveneau E, Thiery JP, Thompson EW, Weinberg RA, Williams ED, Xing J, Zhou BP, Sheng G. Guidelines and definitions for research on epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2020 Jun; 21(6):341-352.
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  2. Yu W, Marshall WF, Metzger RJ, Brakeman PR, Morsut L, Lim W, Mostov KE. Simple Rules Determine Distinct Patterns of Branching Morphogenesis. Cell Syst. 2019 09 25; 9(3):221-227.
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  3. Román-Fernández Á, Roignot J, Sandilands E, Nacke M, Mansour MA, McGarry L, Shanks E, Mostov KE, Bryant DM. The phospholipid PI(3,4)P2 is an apical identity determinant. Nat Commun. 2018 11 28; 9(1):5041.
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  4. Kwon SH, Oh S, Nacke M, Mostov KE, Lipschutz JH. Adaptor protein CD2AP and L-type lectin LMAN2 regulate exosome cargo protein trafficking through the Golgi complex. J Biol Chem. 2017 10 06; 292(40):16523.
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  5. Datta A, Sandilands E, Mostov KE, Bryant DM. Fibroblast-derived HGF drives acinar lung cancer cell polarization through integrin-dependent RhoA-ROCK1 inhibition. Cell Signal. 2017 12; 40:91-98.
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  6. Gao L, Yang Z, Hiremath C, Zimmerman SE, Long B, Brakeman PR, Mostov KE, Bryant DM, Luby-Phelps K, Marciano DK. Afadin orients cell division to position the tubule lumen in developing renal tubules. Development. 2017 10 01; 144(19):3511-3520.
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  7. Ruch TR, Bryant DM, Mostov KE, Engel JN. Par3 integrates Tiam1 and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling to change apical membrane identity. Mol Biol Cell. 2017 01 15; 28(2):252-260.
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  8. Kwon SH, Oh S, Nacke M, Mostov KE, Lipschutz JH. Adaptor Protein CD2AP and L-type Lectin LMAN2 Regulate Exosome Cargo Protein Trafficking through the Golgi Complex. J Biol Chem. 2016 Dec 02; 291(49):25462-25475.
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  9. Nedvetsky PI, Zhao X, Mathivet T, Aspalter IM, Stanchi F, Metzger RJ, Mostov KE, Gerhardt H. cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) regulates angiogenesis by modulating tip cell behavior in a Notch-independent manner. Development. 2016 10 01; 143(19):3582-3590.
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  10. Kim M, M Shewan A, Ewald AJ, Werb Z, Mostov KE. p114RhoGEF governs cell motility and lumen formation during tubulogenesis through a ROCK-myosin-II pathway. J Cell Sci. 2015 Dec 01; 128(23):4317-27.
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  11. Peng J, Awad A, Sar S, Komaiha OH, Moyano R, Rayal A, Samuel D, Shewan A, Vanhaesebroeck B, Mostov K, Gassama-Diagne A. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase p110d promotes lumen formation through the enhancement of apico-basal polarity and basal membrane organization. Nat Commun. 2015 Jan 13; 6:5937.
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  12. Bryant DM, Roignot J, Datta A, Overeem AW, Kim M, Yu W, Peng X, Eastburn DJ, Ewald AJ, Werb Z, Mostov KE. A molecular switch for the orientation of epithelial cell polarization. Dev Cell. 2014 Oct 27; 31(2):171-87.
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  13. Nedvetsky PI, Emmerson E, Finley JK, Ettinger A, Cruz-Pacheco N, Prochazka J, Haddox CL, Northrup E, Hodges C, Mostov KE, Hoffman MP, Knox SM. Parasympathetic innervation regulates tubulogenesis in the developing salivary gland. Dev Cell. 2014 Aug 25; 30(4):449-62.
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  14. Tran CS, Eran Y, Ruch TR, Bryant DM, Datta A, Brakeman P, Kierbel A, Wittmann T, Metzger RJ, Mostov KE, Engel JN. 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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  15. Kwon SH, Liu KD, Mostov KE. Intercellular transfer of GPRC5B via exosomes drives HGF-mediated outward growth. Curr Biol. 2014 Jan 20; 24(2):199-204.
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  16. Cerruti B, Puliafito A, Shewan AM, Yu W, Combes AN, Little MH, Chianale F, Primo L, Serini G, Mostov KE, Celani A, Gamba A. 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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  17. Rousso T, Shewan AM, Mostov KE, Schejter ED, Shilo BZ. Apical targeting of the formin Diaphanous in Drosophila tubular epithelia. Elife. 2013 Jul 09; 2:e00666.
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  18. Roignot J, Peng X, Mostov K. Polarity in mammalian epithelial morphogenesis. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2013 Feb 01; 5(2).
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  19. Cai L, Mostov KE. Cell height: Tao rising. J Cell Biol. 2012 Dec 24; 199(7):1023-4.
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  20. Gálvez-Santisteban M, Rodriguez-Fraticelli AE, Bryant DM, Vergarajauregui S, Yasuda T, Bañón-Rodríguez I, Bernascone I, Datta A, Spivak N, Young K, Slim CL, Brakeman PR, Fukuda M, Mostov KE, Martín-Belmonte F. 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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