Rice University
BioSciences at Rice

Michael Gustin

Professor of BioSciences

A fundamental problem in biology is how cells sense and respond to stimuli such as changes in pressure, osmolarity, or mechanical forces. Gustin's Research Most of our research employs the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system for understanding the molecular mechanisms required for sensing and responding to changes in external osmolarity and other stresses. Genetic and biochemical analysis of mutants that fail to grow in high (or low) osmolarity media has allowed us to uncover two stress-activated signaling pathways, the hog and cell intensity pathways, respectively. Both of these pathways contain a unique map kinase cascade. We are currently investigating the mechanism of osmosensing and transcriptional regulation by these pathways plus their role in osmotic stress-induced cell cycle delay. A pathway similar to the yeast hog pathway is found in osteoblasts, mammalian cells not usually exposed to osmotic stress. We are therefore investigating the role of the hog pathway in responses of these cells to mechanical stress. In addition, my research group, in collaboration with Dr. Mikos (Bioengineering, Rice U.), is examining the function of the mammalian hog pathway in mediating activation of bone forming cells by mechanical stress.

Pubmed Search for articles by MC Gustin

Select Publications

Brewster JL, Gustin MC Hog1: 20 years of discovery and impact.  Sci Signal, 7(343) 2014: re7

Radmaneshfar E, Kaloriti D, Gustin MC, Gow NA, Brown AJ, Grebogi C, Romano MC, Thiel M. From START to FINISH: the influence of osmotic stress on the cell cycle.  PLOS ONE 2013: e68067

Vu MT, Zhai P, Lee J, Guerra C, Liu S, Gustin MC, and Silberg JJ. The DNLZ/HEP zinc-binding subdomain is critical for regulation of the mitochondrial chaperone HSPA9.  Protein Sci., 21(2) 2012 Feb: 258-67

Chiranand, W., McLeod, I., Zhou, H., Lynn, J.J., Vega, L.A., Myers, H., Yates, J.R., 3rd., Lorenz, M.C., and Gustin, M.C. The CTA4 transcription factor mediates induction of nitrosative stress response in Candida albicans.  Eukaryotic Cell, 7 2008: 268-278

Christian, J.B., Shaw, C., Noyola-Martinez, J., Gustin, M.C., Scott, D.W., and Guerra, R. Chromosomal spatial correlation of gene expression in Plasmodium falciparum.  Methods Microarray Data Analysis, 5 2007: 157-171

Guerra, R., Shaw, C., Christian, J.B., Fox, G., Noyola-Martinez, J., Stevens, M., Garg, N., and Gustin, M.C. Oxidative stress genes in Plasmodium falciparum as indicated by temporal gene expression.  Methods Microarray Data Analysis, 5 2007: 45-58

Allen, G.I., Christian, J.B., Chiranand, W., Pletcher, S., Gustin, M.C., and Guerra, R. Chomosomal spatial correlation of gene expression: Analysis and visualization.  Bioinformatic 2006In Press

Padda, R., Wamsley-Davis, A., Gustin, M.C., Ross, R., Yu, C., and Sheikh-Hamad, D. MEKK3-Mediated signaling to p38 kinase and TonE in hypertonically stressed kidney cells.  Am. J. Physiol. Renal. Physiol, 291 2006: F874-F881

Helmick, R.A., Fletcher, A.E,, Gardner, A.M., Gessner, C.R., Hvitved, A.N., Gustin, M.C. and Gardner, P.R. Imidazole antibiotics inhibit the nitric oxide dioxygenase function of microbial flavohemoglobins.  Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 49 2005: 1837-1843

May, G.S., Xue, T., Kontoyiannis, D.P., and Gustin, M.C. The mitogen activated protein kinases of Aspergillus fumigatus.  Medical Mycology, 43 Suppl 1 2005: 583-586

Sheikh-Hamad, D., and Gustin, M.C. Adaptation to dehydration: osmostress response pathways in mammals and yeast.  Amer. J. Physiol., 287 2004: F1002-1110

Ullmann, B.D., Myers, H., Chiranand, W., Lazzell, A.L., Zhao, Q., Vega, L., Lopez-Ribot, J., Gardner, P., and Gustin, M.C. Inducible defense mechanism against nitric oxide in Candida albicans.  Eukaryotic Cell, 3 2004: 715-723

Huang, X., Huang, Y., Chinnappan, R., Bocchini, C., Gustin, M., and Stern, M. The Drosophila inebriated-Encoded Neurotransmitter/Osmolyte Transporter: Dual Roles in the Control of Neuronal Excitability and the Osmotic Stress Response.  Genetics, 160 2002: 561-569

Goldstein, A.S., Juarez, T.M., Helmke, C.D., Gustin, M.C., and Mikos, A.G. Effect of Convection on Osteoblastic Cell Growth and Function in Biodegradable Foam Scaffolds.  Biomaterials, 22 2001: 1279-1288

Alexander, M., Tyers, M., Perret, M., Craig, B.M., Fang, K.S., and Gustin, M.C. Regulation of Cell Cycle Progression by Swe1p and Hog1p Following Hypertonic Stress.  Mol. Biol. Cell, 12 2001: 53-62

Davenport, K.D., Williams, K.E., Ullmann, B.D., and Gustin, M.C. Activation of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Filamentation/Invasion Pathway by Osmotic Stress in HOG Pathway Mutants.  Genetics, 153 1999: 1091-1103

Alonso-Monge, R., Navarro-Garcia, F., Molero, G., Diez-Orejas, R., Gustin, M., Pla, J., Sanchez, M., and Nombela , C. Role of the Mitogen-activated Protein Kinase Hog1p in Morphogenesis and Virulence of Candida albicans.  J. Bacteriology, 181 1999: 3058-3068

  • B.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1974 (Biology) ()
  • Ph.D., Yale University, 1981 (Cell Biology) ()
  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering
Research Areas
  • Molecular genetics and biochemistry of signal transduction.
Professional Experience
  • Post-doctoral fellow
    University of Wisconsin
    1981-1985
  • Assistant Scientist
    University of Wisconsin
    1985-1988
  • Associate Professor
    Rice University
    1994-2007
  • Professor
    Rice University
    2007-present
Contact Information
Email: gustin@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-5158
Office: George R. Brown Hall, W200G