Gisela Therese Storz, Ph.D.

NIH Distinguished Investigator

Section on Environmental Gene Regulation


NIHBC 49 - Conte 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. These small molecules have been overlooked for several reasons. Biochemical assays often do not detect these small molecules. Additionally, the corresponding genes are missed by genome annotation and are poor targets for genetic approaches. However, mounting evidence suggests that both classes of these small molecules play important regulatory roles in all organisms.


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. Melamed S, Adams PP, Zhang A, Zhang H, Storz G. RNA-RNA Interactomes of ProQ and Hfq Reveal Overlapping and Competing Roles. Mol Cell. 2020;77(2):411-425.e7.
  2. Adams PP, Baniulyte G, Esnault C, Chegireddy K, Singh N, Monge M, Dale RK, Storz G, Wade JT. Regulatory roles of Escherichia coli 5' UTR and ORF-internal RNAs detected by 3' end mapping. Elife. 2021;10.
  3. Aoyama JJ, Raina M, Zhong A, Storz G. Dual-function Spot 42 RNA encodes a 15-amino acid protein that regulates the CRP transcription factor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022;119(10):e2119866119.
  4. Du D, Neuberger A, Orr MW, Newman CE, Hsu PC, Samsudin F, Szewczak-Harris A, Ramos LM, Debela M, Khalid S, Storz G, Luisi BF. Interactions of a Bacterial RND Transporter with a Transmembrane Small Protein in a Lipid Environment. Structure. 2020;28(6):625-634.e6.
  5. Zhong A, Jiang X, Hickman AB, Klier K, Teodoro GIC, Dyda F, Laub MT, Storz G. Toxic antiphage defense proteins inhibited by intragenic antitoxin proteins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023;120(31):e2307382120.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, November 9, 2021