Robert P. Gunsalus

Work Titles
UCLA Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics Member, Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology GPB Home Area Member, Genetics & Genomics GPB Home Area Member, Immunity, Microbes & Molecular Pathogenesis GPB Home Area Member, themes Member, Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics
Honors and Awards:
2005 - American Academy of Microbiology, Fellow

Contact Information:

Lab Number:

(310) 825-4099

Office Phone Number:


Work Address:

Los Angeles, CA 90095

Los Angeles, CA 90095

Research Interest:

Regulation of Cell Respiratory and Metabolic Functions in Microbes

My research program focuses on the physiology of gene regulation and cell metabolism using a variety of genetic, molecular and biochemical approaches. Current projects include: 1) elucidation of the mechanisms for aerobic/anaerobic gene expression in Escherichia coli. This organism can differentially synthesize multiple types of cytochrome oxidase, nitrate reductase, nitrite reductase plus a fumarate reductase depending on the cellular oxygen level. We are identifying the regulatory network responsible.  2) gene regulation in the methanogenic archaea. The molecular basis of gene expression in the methanogenic archaea remains poorly understood relative to the bacteria. To address this we are studying how cells adapt to changing environmental conditions of nutrient and substrate availability in several model archaeal species. 3) Genomics and proteomics of model syntrophic bacteria. We are performing genomic, transcript and proteomic analysis of core metabolic pathways in model syntrophic microbes  to understand how they form and maintain partnerships with their methanogenic hydrogen consumers. 4) cell envelope structure and biogenesis in model archaeal species. Most archaea have protein sheathed cell envelopes rather than peptidoglycan walls. We are examining the composition and roles of the major envelope components using proteomic and molecular tools. These microbes are believed to be among the most ancient on Earth and provide interesting clues about the biochemical and molecular events that occurred early in evolution or microbial life forms.


Poweleit Nicole, Ge Peng, Nguyen Hong H, Ogorzalek Loo Rachel R, Gunsalus Robert P, Zhou Z Hong   CryoEM structure of the Methanospirillum hungatei archaellum reveals structural features distinct from the bacterial flagellum and type IV pilus Nature microbiology, 2016; 2: 16264.
Gunsalus Robert P, Cook Lauren E, Crable Bryan, Rohlin Lars, McDonald Erin, Mouttaki Housna, Sieber Jessica R, Poweleit Nicole, Zhou Hong, Lapidus Alla L, Daligault Hajnalka Erzsebet, Land Miriam, Gilna Paul, Ivanova Natalia, Kyrpides Nikos, Culley David E, McInerney Michael J   Complete genome sequence of Methanospirillum hungatei type strain JF1 Standards in genomic sciences, 2016; 11(4): 2.
Toso Daniel B, Javed Muhammad Mohsin, Czornyj Elizabeth, Gunsalus Robert P, Zhou Z Hong   Discovery and Characterization of Iron Sulfide and Polyphosphate Bodies Coexisting in Archaeoglobus fulgidus Cells Archaea (Vancouver, B.C.), 2016; 2016(4): 4706532.
James Kimberly L, Ríos-Hernández Luis A, Wofford Neil Q, Mouttaki Housna, Sieber Jessica R, Sheik Cody S, Nguyen Hong H, Yang Yanan, Xie Yongming, Erde Jonathan, Rohlin Lars, Karr Elizabeth A, Loo Joseph A, Ogorzalek Loo Rachel R, Hurst Gregory B, Gunsalus Robert P, Szweda Luke I, McInerney Michael J   Pyrophosphate-Dependent ATP Formation from Acetyl Coenzyme A in Syntrophus aciditrophicus, a New Twist on ATP Formation mBio, 2016; 7(4): 16222.
Katsir Galit, Jarvis Michael, Phillips Martin, Ma Zhongcai, Gunsalus Robert P   The Escherichia coli NarL receiver domain regulates transcription through promoter specific functions BMC microbiology, 2015; 15(1): 174.
Leon Deborah R, Ytterberg A Jimmy, Boontheung Pinmanee, Kim Unmi, Loo Joseph A, Gunsalus Robert P, Ogorzalek Loo Rachel R   Mining proteomic data to expose protein modifications in Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 Frontiers in microbiology, 2015; 6(3): 149.
Sieber Jessica R, Crable Bryan R, Sheik Cody S, Hurst Gregory B, Rohlin Lars, Gunsalus Robert P, McInerney Michael J   Proteomic analysis reveals metabolic and regulatory systems involved in the syntrophic and axenic lifestyle of Syntrophomonas wolfei Frontiers in microbiology, 2015; 6(3): 115.
Briegel Ariane, Ortega Davi R, Huang Audrey N, Oikonomou Catherine M, Gunsalus Robert P, Jensen Grant J   Structural conservation of chemotaxis machinery across Archaea and Bacteria Environmental microbiology reports, 2015; 7(3): 414-9.
Keseler Ingrid M, Mackie Amanda, Peralta-Gil Martin, Santos-Zavaleta Alberto, Gama-Castro Socorro, Bonavides-Martínez César, Fulcher Carol, Huerta Araceli M, Kothari Anamika, Krummenacker Markus, Latendresse Mario, Muñiz-Rascado Luis, Ong Quang, Paley Suzanne, Schröder Imke, Shearer Alexander G, Subhraveti Pallavi, Travers Mike, Weerasinghe Deepika, Weiss Verena, Collado-Vides Julio, Gunsalus Robert P, Paulsen Ian, Karp Peter D   EcoCyc: fusing model organism databases with systems biology Nucleic acids research, 2013; 41(Database issue): D605-12.
Plugge Caroline M, Henstra Anne M, Worm Petra, Swarts Daan C, Paulitsch-Fuchs Astrid H, Scholten Johannes C M, Lykidis Athanasios, Lapidus Alla L, Goltsman Eugene, Kim Edwin, McDonald Erin, Rohlin Lars, Crable Bryan R, Gunsalus Robert P, Stams Alfons J M, McInerney Michael J   Complete genome sequence of Syntrophobacter fumaroxidans strain (MPOB(T)) Standards in genomic sciences, 2012; 7(1): 91-106.
Sieber Jessica R, McInerney Michael J, Gunsalus Robert P   Genomic Insights into Syntrophy: The Paradigm for Anaerobic Metabolic Cooperation Annual Review of Microbiology, 2012; 109(29): .
Rohlin Lars, Leon Deborah R, Kim Unmi, Loo Joseph A, Ogorzalek Loo Rachel R, Gunsalus Robert P   Identification of the major expressed S-layer and cell surface-layer-related proteins in the model methanogenic archaea: Methanosarcina barkeri Fusaro and Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A Archaea, 2012; 2012(29): 873589.
Arbing Mark A, Chan Sum, Shin Annie, Phan Tung, Ahn Christine J, Rohlin Lars, Gunsalus Robert P   Structure of the surface layer of the methanogenic archaean Methanosarcina acetivorans Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2012; 109(29): 11812-7.
Toso Daniel B, Henstra Anne M, Gunsalus Robert P, Zhou Z Hong   Structural, mass and elemental analyses of storage granules in methanogenic archaeal cells Environmental microbiology, 2011; 13(9): 2587-99.
Keseler Ingrid M, Collado-Vides Julio, Santos-Zavaleta Alberto, Peralta-Gil Martin, Gama-Castro Socorro, Muñiz-Rascado Luis, Bonavides-Martinez César, Paley Suzanne, Krummenacker Markus, Altman Tomer, Kaipa Pallavi, Spaulding Aaron, Pacheco John, Latendresse Mario, Fulcher Carol, Sarker Malabika, Shearer Alexander G, Mackie Amanda, Paulsen Ian, Gunsalus Robert P, Karp Peter D   EcoCyc: a comprehensive database of Escherichia coli biology Nucleic acids research, 2011; 39(Database issue): D583-90.
McInerney Michael J, Sieber Jessica R, Gunsalus Robert P   Syntrophy in anaerobic global carbon cycles Current opinion in biotechnology, 2009; 20(6): 623-32.
Francoleon Deborah R, Boontheung Pinmanee, Yang Yanan, Kin UnMi, Ytterberg A Jimmy, Denny Patricia A, Denny Paul C, Loo Joseph A, Gunsalus Robert P, Loo Rachel R Ogorzalek   S-layer, surface-accessible, and concanavalin A binding proteins of Methanosarcina acetivorans and Methanosarcina mazei Journal of proteome research, 2009; 8(4): 1972-82.
McInerney Michael J, Struchtemeyer Christopher G, Sieber Jessica, Mouttaki Housna, Stams Alfons J M, Schink Bernhard, Rohlin Lars, Gunsalus Robert P   Physiology, ecology, phylogeny, and genomics of microorganisms capable of syntrophic metabolism Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2008; 1125(Database issue): 58-72.
McInerney Michael J, Rohlin Lars, Mouttaki Housna, Kim UnMi, Krupp Rebecca S, Rios-Hernandez Luis, Sieber Jessica, Struchtemeyer Christopher G, Bhattacharyya Anamitra, Campbell John W, Gunsalus Robert P   The genome of Syntrophus aciditrophicus: life at the thermodynamic limit of microbial growth Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2007; 104(18): 7600-5.

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