Signal transduction by heme-containing PAS-domain proteins

Marie Alda Gilles-Gonzalez, Gonzalo Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


The most common physiological strategy for detecting the gases oxygen, carbon monoxide, and nitric oxide is signal transduction by heme-based sensors, a. broad class of modular proteins in which a heme-binding domain governs the activity of a neighboring transmitter domain. Different structures are possible for the heme-binding domains in these sensors, but, so far, the Per-ARNT-Sim motif, or PAS domain, is the one most commonly encountered. Heme-binding PAS (heme-PAS) domains can accomplish ligand-dependent switching of a variety of partner domains, including histidine kinase, phosphodiesterase, and basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) DNA-binding modules. Proteins with heme-PAS domains occur in all kingdoms of life and are quite diverse in their physiological roles. Examples include the neuronal bHLH-PAS carbon monoxide sensor NPAS2 that is implicated in the mammalian circadian clock, the acetobacterial oxygen sensor AxPDEA1 that directs cellulose production, and the rhizobial oxygen sensor FixL, which governs nitrogen fixation. What factors determine the range of detection of these sensors? How do they transduce their signal? This review examines the recent advances in answering these questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)774-783
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Escherichia coli dos
  • Hemoglobin
  • Response regulator
  • Sensor kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Signal transduction by heme-containing PAS-domain proteins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this