Jeremy Reiter, MD, PhD

Professor and Chair
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
+1 415 476-0156
Research Overview: 

Eukaryotic cilia and flagella are cellular structures familiar to schoolchildren everywhere for the elegant swath they cut as they propel protozoa through pond water. Less well recognized is the fact that a single immotile cilium is present on almost every type of vertebrate cell. These so-called primary cilia were discovered more than a century ago and, yet, their functions remain largely unexplored (Singla and Reiter, 2006).

It is now becoming clear that the primary cilium plays important roles in both development and disease. Perhaps its most dramatic function is in the kidney - ciliary defects cause polycystic kidney disease, the most common life-threatening monogenic illness. Primary cilia also have roles in sensing environmental information. Photoreceptors and odorant receptors function on primary cilia, and primary cilia are essential for sound reception. Therefore, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that we see, smell and hear through cilia.

Our work suggests that cilia also function as critical mediators of intercellular signals during development (Corbit et al., 2005; May et al., 2005; Reiter and Skarnes, 2006). One crucial role is in the coordination of the Hedgehog signal transduction pathway. Hedgehog signals are essential regulators of embryonic patterning and cell proliferation, and defects in Hedgehog signaling are important causes of both birth defects and many cancers. We are currently extending this work by asking a few fundamental questions about primary cilia:

  • Do cilia transduce intercellular signals other than Hedgehog?
  • How do cilia interpret signals essential to vertebrate development?
  • Do cilia participate in Hedgehog-mediated oncogenesis?
  • How do cells regulate whether they form a cilium?

This work has begun to suggest that the primary cilium is an organelle dedicated to signal transduction, somewhat analogous to a cellular antenna. We hope that our current endeavors will reveal how this antenna interprets the signals required for normal development and homeostasis, and how malfunctions in the antenna contribute to cancer and other important human diseases.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Cancer Biology & Cell Signaling
Research Summary: 
Signaling at the Primary Cilium, the Cell's Antenna

Websites

Publications: 

Zika virus alters centrosome organization to suppress the innate immune response.

EMBO reports

Kodani A, Knopp KA, Di Lullo E, Retallack H, Kriegstein AR, DeRisi JL, Reiter JF

A kinesin mimics DNA.

Nature cell biology

Kumar D, Reiter JF

The Intimate Connection Between Lipids and Hedgehog Signaling.

Frontiers in cell and developmental biology

Nguyen TD, Truong ME, Reiter JF

The Tabula Sapiens: A multiple-organ, single-cell transcriptomic atlas of humans.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Tabula Sapiens Consortium*, Jones RC, Karkanias J, Krasnow MA, Pisco AO, Quake SR, Salzman J, Yosef N, Bulthaup B, Brown P, Harper W, Hemenez M, Ponnusamy R, Salehi A, Sanagavarapu BA, Spallino E, Aaron KA, Concepcion W, Gardner JM, Kelly B, Neidlinger N, Wang Z, Crasta S, Kolluru S, Morri M, Pisco AO, Tan SY, Travaglini KJ, Xu C, Alcántara-Hernández M, Almanzar N, Antony J, Beyersdorf B, Burhan D, Calcuttawala K, Carter MM, Chan CKF, Chang CA, Chang S, Colville A, Crasta S, Culver RN, Cvijovic I, D'Amato G, Ezran C, Galdos FX, Gillich A, Goodyer WR, Hang Y, Hayashi A, Houshdaran S, Huang X, Irwin JC, Jang S, Juanico JV, Kershner AM, Kim S, Kiss B, Kolluru S, Kong W, Kumar ME, Kuo AH, Leylek R, Li B, Loeb GB, Lu WJ, Mantri S, Markovic M, McAlpine PL, de Morree A, Morri M, Mrouj K, Mukherjee S, Muser T, Neuhöfer P, Nguyen TD, Perez K, Phansalkar R, Pisco AO, Puluca N, Qi Z, Rao P, Raquer-McKay H, Schaum N, Scott B, Seddighzadeh B, Segal J, Sen S, Sikandar S, Spencer SP, Steffes LC, Subramaniam VR, Swarup A, Swift M, Travaglini KJ, Van Treuren W, Trimm E, Veizades S, Vijayakumar S, Vo KC, Vorperian SK, Wang W, Weinstein HNW, Winkler J, Wu TTH, Xie J, Yung AR, Zhang Y, Detweiler AM, Mekonen H, Neff NF, Sit RV, Tan M, Yan J, Bean GR, Charu V, Forgó E, Martin BA, Ozawa MG, Silva O, Tan SY, Toland A, Vemuri VNP, Afik S, Awayan K, Botvinnik OB, Byrne A, Chen M, Dehghannasiri R, Detweiler AM, Gayoso A, Granados AA, Li Q, Mahmoudabadi G, McGeever A, de Morree A, Olivieri JE, Park M, Pisco AO, Ravikumar N, Salzman J, Stanley G, Swift M, Tan M, Tan W, Tarashansky AJ, Vanheusden R, Vorperian SK, Wang P, Wang S, Xing G, Xu C, Yosef N, Alcántara-Hernández M, Antony J, Chan CKF, Chang CA, Colville A, Crasta S, Culver R, Dethlefsen L, Ezran C, Gillich A, Hang Y, Ho PY, Irwin JC, Jang S, Kershner AM, Kong W, Kumar ME, Kuo AH, Leylek R, Liu S, Loeb GB, Lu WJ, Maltzman JS, Metzger RJ, de Morree A, Neuhöfer P, Perez K, Phansalkar R, Qi Z, Rao P, Raquer-McKay H, Sasagawa K, Scott B, Sinha R, Song H, Spencer SP, Swarup A, Swift M, Travaglini KJ, Trimm E, Veizades S, Vijayakumar S, Wang B, Wang W, Winkler J, Xie J, Yung AR, Artandi SE, Beachy PA, Clarke MF, Giudice LC, Huang FW, Huang KC, Idoyaga J, Kim SK, Krasnow M, Kuo CS, Nguyen P, Quake SR, Rando TA, Red-Horse K, Reiter J, Relman DA, Sonnenburg JL, Wang B, Wu A, Wu SM, Wyss-Coray T

Endoderm development requires centrioles to restrain p53-mediated apoptosis in the absence of ERK activity.

Developmental cell

Xie C, Abrams SR, Herranz-Pérez V, García-Verdugo JM, Reiter JF