Karl S. Matlin, PhD

Karl S. Matlin, PhD

Department of Surgery
University of Chicago
5841 S. Maryland Ave.,
SBRI J557 (MC 5032)
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: (773) 834-2242
Fax: (773) 834-4546


Committee on Cell Physiology
Senior Fellow, Institute of Genomics and Systems Biology


BS, 1973, Indiana University, Biological Sciences
PhD, 1979, Rockefeller University, Cell Biology



Matlin Group Links

Complete Bibliography


Biogenesis of epithelial polarity

Research in the Matlin Laboratory is focused on understanding the biogenesis of apical-basal polarity in epithelial cells. Epithelial polarity is critical for the normal functioning of epithelial organs, such as the kidney and the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, the loss of epithelial polarity is an important contributor to the pathogenesis of disease following epithelial injury and carcinogenesis.

A primary current project is focused on deciphering how interaction of epithelial cells with the underlying extracellular matrix helps to orient the apical-basal axis in cells. In particular, we are examining how two forms of laminin, a major protein of the basal lamina, affect cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, and, ultimately polarization. One of these is laminin 332 (formerly known as laminin 5), a truncated form implicated in epithelial regeneration after injury. The other is laminin 511 (formerly known as laminin 10), a network-forming laminin whose assembly is believed to be required for polarization. Experiments in this area are conducted using Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, the leading mammalian model for the study of polarization mechanisms.

A variety of other projects are also underway or are being planned. These include examination of laminin involvement in regeneration of the renal tubular epithelium after acute or chronic kidney injury using mouse models, investigation of the roles of laminins in cancer metastasis, and determination of the effects of laminin 332 on network assembly of laminin 511 using atomic force microscopy. In addition, our laboratory is very interested in developing computational approaches to model epithelial polarization on a systems level.

Aside from work in the laboratory, we are also conducting research on the history and philosophy of cell biology, particulary in the modern period after 1970, and the relationship of the discipline of cell biology to the parallel discipline of molecular biology.


Selected Publications

Mak, G., Kavanaugh, G.M., Stickley, S.M.., Zuk, A., Koch, M., Buschmann, M.E., Goss, K.H., and Matlin, K.S. Regulated synthesis and functions of laminin 5 in polarized Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells. Molecular Biology of the Cell 2006; 17:3664-3677. (PubMed)

Yu, W., Datta, A., Leroy, P., O’Brien, L., Jou, T-S., Mak, G., Matlin, K.S., Mostov, K.E., and Zegers, M.M.P. Beta1-integrin orients epithelial polarity via Rac1 and laminin assembly. 2005; Mol. Biol. Cell 16:433-445. (PubMed)

Prahalad, P., Calvo, I., Waechter, H. Matthews, J.B., Zuk, A., and Matlin, K.S. Regulation of MDCK cell-substratum adhesion by rhoA and myosin light chain kinase after ATP-depletion. Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 2004; 286: C693-C707. (PubMed)

Zuk, A and Matlin, K.S. Induction of a laminin isoform and the alpha(3)beta(1) integrin in renal ischemic injury and repair in vivo. Am. J. Physiol. 2002;283:F971-984. (PubMed)

Matlin, K.S. The strange case of the signal recognition particle. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 2002;3:538-42. (PubMed)

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