Gisela Therese Storz, Ph.D.

NIH Distinguished Investigator

Section on Environmental Gene Regulation


49 1C04


Research Topics

Small Regulatory RNAs and Small Regulatory Proteins

Currently, we have two main interests: the identification and characterization of small noncoding RNAs and the identification and characterization of small proteins of less than 50 amino acids. For two reasons, small RNAs and small proteins have been overlooked. First, biochemical assays do not detect these small molecules. Second, genome annotation misses the corresponding genes, which are poor targets for genetic approaches. However, mounting evidence suggests that both classes of these small molecules play important regulatory roles.


Dr. Gisela Storz is the Associate Scientific Director of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology of NICHD. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and then carried out postdoctoral work at the National Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. For many years, a major focus of her group was the study of the bacterial and fungal responses to oxidative stress and redox-sensitive transcription factors. Her lab made the exciting discovery that the activity of the E. coli transcription factor OxyR is regulated by reversible disulfide bond formation, establishing a paradigm for redox-sensing proteins. As a result of the serendipitous detection of the peroxide-induced OxyS RNA, one of the first small, regulatory RNAs to be discovered, work in her lab shifted to the genome-wide identification of small RNAs. The pioneering characterization of many of these small RNAs revealed that they are integral to most regulatory circuits in bacteria. Recently, work in the Storz lab has extended to the detection and characterization of proteins of less than 50 amino acids, another class of molecules that is overlooked by traditional methods of investigation.

Selected Publications

  1. Guo MS, Updegrove TB, Gogol EB, Shabalina SA, Gross CA, Storz G. MicL, a new σE-dependent sRNA, combats envelope stress by repressing synthesis of Lpp, the major outer membrane lipoprotein. Genes Dev. 2014;28(14):1620-34.

  2. Hobbs EC, Yin X, Paul BJ, Astarita JL, Storz G. Conserved small protein associates with the multidrug efflux pump AcrB and differentially affects antibiotic resistance. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109(41):16696-701.

  3. Wang H, Yin X, Wu Orr M, Dambach M, Curtis R, Storz G. Increasing intracellular magnesium levels with the 31-amino acid MgtS protein. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017;114(22):5689-5694.

  4. Dambach M, Sandoval M, Updegrove TB, Anantharaman V, Aravind L, Waters LS, Storz G. The ubiquitous yybP-ykoY riboswitch is a manganese-responsive regulatory element. Mol Cell. 2015;57(6):1099-1109.

  5. Storz G, Wolf YI, Ramamurthi KS. Small proteins can no longer be ignored. Annu Rev Biochem. 2014;83:753-77.

This page was last updated on October 20th, 2019