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
- Signal transduction by heme-containing PAS-domain proteins.
- Gilles-Gonzalez MA, Gonzalez G J. Appl. Physiol. 2004 Feb 96 2 774-83
- A distal arginine in oxygen-sensing heme-PAS domains is essential to ligand binding, signal transduction, and structure.
- Dunham CM, Dioum EM, Tuckerman JR, Gonzalez G, Scott WG, Gilles-Gonzalez MA Biochemistry 2003 Jul 42 25 7701-8
- NPAS2: a gas-responsive transcription factor.
- Dioum EM, Rutter J, Tuckerman JR, Gonzalez G, Gilles-Gonzalez MA, McKnight SL Science 2002 Dec 298 5602 2385-7
- Nature of the displaceable heme-axial residue in the EcDos protein, a heme-based sensor from Escherichia coli.
- Gonzalez G, Dioum EM, Bertolucci CM, Tomita T, Ikeda-Saito M, Cheesman MR, Watmough NJ, Gilles-Gonzalez MA Biochemistry 2002 Jul 41 26 8414-21
- Max Perutz never grew old.
- Gilles-Gonzalez MA IUBMB Life 2002 Jul 54 1 41-2
- Ligand and oxidation-state specific regulation of the heme-based oxygen sensor FixL from Sinorhizobium meliloti.
- Tuckerman JR, Gonzalez G, Dioum EM, Gilles-Gonzalez MA Biochemistry 2002 May 41 19 6170-7
- A comparative resonance Raman analysis of heme-binding PAS domains: heme iron coordination structures of the BjFixL, AxPDEA1, EcDos, and MtDos proteins.
- Tomita T, Gonzalez G, Chang AL, Ikeda-Saito M, Gilles-Gonzalez MA Biochemistry 2002 Apr 41 15 4819-26
- Dos, a heme-binding PAS protein from Escherichia coli, is a direct oxygen sensor.
- Delgado-Nixon VM, Gonzalez G, Gilles-Gonzalez MA Biochemistry 2000 Mar 39 10 2685-91
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