Dr. Gilles-Gonzalez earned her PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she examined structure-function relationships in the proton-pumping membrane protein bacteriorhodopsin under the mentorship of Dr. Gobind Khorana. During postdoctoral research with Dr. Donald Helinski at UC San Diego, she discovered FixL to be a heme protein and identified it as the first known direct sensor of molecular oxygen. During postdoctoral research with Dr. Max Perutz at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, she began to elucidate FixL's signal-transduction mechanism.
Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which living organisms respond to oxygen and other physiological gases. Since demonstrating that FixL is an enzyme (a protein histidine kinase) that is switched on and off by a sensory heme, she and her colleagues have established that FixL belongs to a much broader family of sensors with varying heme-binding folds and enzymatic activities. Members of this family include diguanylate cyclases, c-di-GMP phosphodiesterases, and transcription factors. The research has expanded to examine sensors that span all three major kingdoms of life and govern important physiological adaptations to fluctuating levels of oxygen. These include sensors that control dormancy in pathogenic bacteria such as mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- SUNY at Stony Brook (1980), Biochemistry
- Graduate School
- Massachusetts Inst of Technol (1988), Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular genetics of signal transduction
- Biological heme-based sensors
- Protein engineering
- Sensory globins, PAS-domains, and GAF-domains
- Signal-transducing kinases, cyclases, and phosphodiesterases
- Oxygen triggers signal transduction in the DevS (DosS) sensor of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by modulating the quaternary structure.
- Lobão JBDS, Gondim ACS, Guimarães WG, Gilles-Gonzalez MA, Lopes LGF, Sousa EHS FEBS J. 2019 Feb 286 3 479-494
- Escherichia coli DosC and DosP: a role of c-di-GMP in compartmentalized sensing by degradosomes
- Gilles-Gonzalez MA, Sousa, EHS Adv Microbial Physiol 2019 75
- Target DNA stabilizes Mycobacterium tuberculosis DevR/DosR phosphorylation by the full-length oxygen sensors DevS/DosS and DosT.
- Sousa EHS, Gonzalez G, Gilles-Gonzalez MA FEBS J. 2017 Oct
- Haem-Based Sensors of O2: Lessons and Perspectives.
- Sousa EHS, Gilles-Gonzalez MA Adv. Microb. Physiol. 2017 71 235-257
- Drug discovery targeting heme-based sensors and their coupled activities.
- Sousa EH, Lopes LG, Gonzalez G, Gilles-Gonzalez MA J. Inorg. Biochem. 2016 Nov 167 12-20
- Cyclic di-GMP activation of polynucleotide phosphorylase signal-dependent RNA processing.
- Tuckerman JR, Gonzalez G, Gilles-Gonzalez MA J. Mol. Biol. 2011 Apr 407 5 633-9
- Insights into signal transduction by a hybrid FixL: Denaturation study of on and off states of a multi-domain oxygen sensor.
- Guimarães WG, Gondim ACS, Costa PMDS, Gilles-Gonzalez MA, Lopes LGF, Carepo MSP, Sousa EHS J. Inorg. Biochem. 2017 Apr 172 129-137
- Signal transduction and phosphoryl transfer by a FixL hybrid kinase with low oxygen affinity: importance of the vicinal PAS domain and receiver aspartate.
- Sousa EH, Tuckerman JR, Gondim AC, Gonzalez G, Gilles-Gonzalez MA Biochemistry 2013 Jan 52 3 456-65
- Novel FixL homologues in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii bind heme and O(2).
- Murthy UM, Wecker MS, Posewitz MC, Gilles-Gonzalez MA, Ghirardi ML FEBS Lett. 2012 Dec 586 24 4282-8
- Hell's Gate globin I: an acid and thermostable bacterial hemoglobin resembling mammalian neuroglobin.
- Teh AH, Saito JA, Baharuddin A, Tuckerman JR, Newhouse JS, Kanbe M, Newhouse EI, Rahim RA, Favier F, Didierjean C, Sousa EH, Stott MB, Dunfield PF, Gonzalez G, Gilles-Gonzalez MA, Najimudin N, Alam M FEBS Lett. 2011 Oct 585 20 3250-8
A surfeit of heme-based sensors. In The Smallest Biomolecules: Diatomics and their Interactions with Heme Proteins
M. A. Gilles-Gonzalez and G. Gonzalez (2008). United Kingdom, Elsevier
Oxygen-sensing histidine-protein kinases: Assays of ligand binding and response-regulator turnover rates. In Methods in Enzymology
M. A. Gilles-Gonzalez, G. Gonzalez, E. H. S. Sousa, and J. R. Tuckerman (2008). New York, Academic Press
Soluble guanylyl cyclase and its evolutionary relatives. In The Smallest Biomolecules: Diatomics and their Interactions with Heme Proteins
E. H. S. Sousa, G. Gonzalez, and M. A. Gilles-Gonzalez (2008). UK, Elsevier
Biochemistry and physiological importance of heme proteins as oxygen sensors. In Oxygen Sensing: Responses and Adaptation to Hypoxia
M. A. Gilles-Gonzalez (2003). New York, Marcel Dekker, Inc.
Making Sense of Oxygen. In Letters to a Young Chemist
M. A. Gilles-Gonzalez (2011). New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Honors & Awards
- Ohio State University Woman Pioneer in the STEM Fields
Recognition for leadership in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (2007)
- Forum Engelberg Prize Award, Max F. Perutz Designate
Postdoctoral award in recognition for forging connections between research, ethics, industry, and government. (1991-1995)
Postdoctoral Fellowship (1988-1991)
National Research Service Award (1982)
Undergraduate Summer Research Opportunity Award (1978)
- American Chemical Society
- American Society for Microbiology
- New York Academy of Sciences
- The Biophysical Society