Curtis T. Okamoto

Curtis T. Okamoto, PhD

Associate Professor

Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Research Topics

  1. Cell Structure & Organization
  2. Membranes & Transport
  3. Physiology

Contact Information


AB 1982 Biology - University of California, Berkeley
PhD 1989 Physiology - University of California, Berkeley

Curtis T. Okamoto

Research Interest

Research Interests The focus of our lab is to characterize the mechanisms by which the sorting of membrane proteins is regulated in epithelial cells. We are primarily interested in the role of clathrin and clathrin adaptors in the regulation of membrane traffic and of sorting of membrane proteins in epithelial cells. By using a combination of cellular, biochemical, and molecular techniques, we are trying to characterize the interaction of clathrin adaptors with cargo proteins and to identify and characterize novel adaptor proteins associated with specific membrane trafficking pathways. Two organ-based cellular systems are being investigated, gastric acid secretory (oxyntic) cells and lacrimal gland acinar cells. Oxyntic cells possess a well-regulated apical recycling pathway along which the H,K-ATPase is sorted and are therefore being used as a model system for investigation into this particular membrane trafficking pathway in epithelial cells. Lacrimal acinar cells possess a vigorous basal-to-apical transcytotic pathway along which the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor is sorted. We are studying the regulation of its sorting in collaboration with the lab of Dr. Austin Mircheff (Physiology-Biophysics). We also use cultured epithelial cell lines, such as the Madin-Darby canine kidney and Caco-2 cell lines, to study these trafficking pathways. The knowledge gained from these studies may ultimately provide insight into the trafficking and processing of exogenously admininstered therapeutic macromolecules in epithelial cells in vivo.


Curtis T. Okamoto received his Ph.D. in physiology from the University of California, Berkeley, in the laboratory of John G. Forte, Ph.D. He received his post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco, in the laboratory of Keith E. Mostov, M.D., Ph.D. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at USC.

Selected Projects/Publications

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Suda J, Zhu L, Okamoto CT, Karvar S - Rab27b localizes to the tubulovesicle membranes of gastric parietal cells and regulates acid secretion. - Gastroenterology [2011] Mar;140(3):868-78 PubMed

Okamoto CT - Duodenal epithelial cells provide a stimulus package for the recovery from an acid load. - J Physiol [2009] Jul 15;587(Pt 14):3409 PubMed

Evans E, Zhang W, Jerdeva G, Chen CY, Chen X, Hamm-Alvarez SF, Okamoto CT - Direct interaction between Rab3D and the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor and trafficking through regulated secretory vesicles in lacrimal gland acinar cells. - Am J Physiol Cell Physiol [2008] Mar;294(3):C662-74 PubMed

Shapiro JL,Wen X,Okamoto CT,Wang HJ,Lyngstadaas SP,Goldberg M,Snead ML,Paine ML - Cellular uptake of amelogenin, and its localization to CD63, and Lamp1-positive vesicles. - Cell Mol Life Sci [2007] Jan;64(2):244-56 PubMed

Zou Y,Wang H,Shapiro JL,Okamoto CT,Brookes SJ,Lyngstadaas SP,Snead ML,Paine ML - Determination of protein regions responsible for interactions of amelogenin with CD63 and LAMP1. - Biochem J [2007] Dec 15;408(3):347-54 PubMed

Zaro JL,Rajapaksa TE,Okamoto CT,Shen WC - Membrane transduction of oligoarginine in HeLa cells is not mediated by macropinocytosis. - Mol Pharm [2006] Mar-Apr;3(2):181-6 PubMed

Zhang N,Kannan R,Okamoto CT,Ryan SJ,Lee VH,Hinton DR - Characterization of brimonidine transport in retinal pigment epithelium. - Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci [2006] Jan;47(1):287-94 PubMed

Jerdeva GV,Yarber FA,Trousdale MD,Rhodes CJ,Okamoto CT,Dartt DA,Hamm-Alvarez SF - Dominant-negative PKC-epsilon impairs apical actin remodeling in parallel with inhibition of carbachol-stimulated secretion in rabbit lacrimal acini. - Am J Physiol Cell Physiol [2005] Oct;289(4):C1052-68 PubMed

Wen X,Lei YP,Zhou YL,Okamoto CT,Snead ML,Paine ML - Structural organization and cellular localization of tuftelin-interacting protein 11 (TFIP11). - Cell Mol Life Sci [2005] May;62(9):1038-46 PubMed

Chew CS,Okamoto CT,Chen X,Thomas R - Drebrin E2 is differentially expressed and phosphorylated in parietal cells in the gastric mucosa. - Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol [2005] Aug;289(2):G320-31 PubMed