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Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center, 4021
Phone: +1-508-831-5326
Fax: +1-508-831-4116

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José M. Argüello

Micronutrient transition metals (copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel, iron, and manganese) play a central role in the interaction of pathogenic (and beneficial) bacteria with higher eukaryote hosts. Our research is directed to understand the bacterial mechanisms of metal homeostasis required for these interactions. In particular, we focus on the functions of transmembrane transporters and chaperone molecules that tightly control metal uptake and distribution. These molecules appear to be key determinants of virulence in pathological bacteria like Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or symbionts such as Rhizobium meliloti.

In addition, we study the molecular structure and biochemical mechanisms of metal selectivity in transmembrane transport ATPases. Our multidisciplinary approaches include structural and molecular biology, enzymology, biophysics, protein chemistry, fluorescence microscopy, and microbiology. Through a number of ongoing collaborations, we also employ crystallography, X-ray fluorescence and spectroscopy, and bioinformatics to gain insights into the role of metals in bacterial virulence. Collaboration and camaraderie among postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students are hallmarks of our work. I enjoy mentoring these young colleagues and guiding their progress into a scientific career.


Research Interests

  • Homeostasis of micronutrient metals
  • Ion transport across membranes
  • Bacterial virulence
  • Host-bacterial interactions


  • PhD (Biological Sciences), Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, Argentina 1985
  • Biological Chemist, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina 1979

Featured Publications

  • Argüello J.M., González-Guerrero M., and Raimunda, D. (2011) “Bacterial Heavy Metal P1B-ATPases, Transport Mechanism and Roles in Virulence Biochemistry,” Current Topics series 50:9940–9949.
  • González-Guerrero, M. and Argüello, J.M. (2008). “Mechanism of Cu+ Transporting ATPases: Soluble Cu+-Chaperones Directly Transfer Cu+ to Transmembrane Transport Sites,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences-USA 105, 5992 - 5997.
  • Argüello, J.M., Eren, E., González-Guerrero, M. (2007). “The Structure and Function of Heavy Metal Transport P1B-ATPases,” Biometals 20, 233-248.
  • González-Guerrero M., Raimunda, D., Cheng, X. and Argüello J.M. (2010). “Distinct Functional Roles of Homologous Cu+ Efflux ATPases Required for Virulence in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa,” Molecular Microbiology 78,1246-1258.
  • Argüello, J.M. (2003). “Identification of On Selectivity Determinants in Heavy Metal Transport P1B-ATPases,” The Journal of Membrane Biology 195, 93-108.
  • View full list of publications.

Professional Highlights

  • Sigma Xi - WPI Chapter, Senior Faculty Research Award
  • Research Development Award, National Institutes of Health
  • Program Director, National Science Foundation (2009-2020)
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