Role of protein secretion systems in plant-bacteria interactions

Francisco Javier López Baena

Associate Professor




+34-954 557116

Patricia Bernal Guzmán

Researcher "Ramón y Cajal"




+34-954 557116

Other group members

Carlos Medina Morillas

Assistant Professor

Irene Jiménez Guerrero


Cristina Civantos Jiménez

Lab Technician

Marina Murillo Torres

Master student

Natalia Moreno de Castro

Master student

Research lines

  • Role of the Type III secretion system (T3SS) in rhizobium-legume interactions
  • The Type VI secretion system (T6SS) as a biocontrol tool
  • Control of protein expression by a cascade-regulated overexpression system induced by salicylate

Representative publications

  • Jiménez-Guerrero I, Acosta-Jurado S, Medina C, Ollero FJ, Alias-Villegas C, Vinardell JM, Pérez-Montaño F, López-Baena FJ (2020) The Sinorhizobium fredii HH103 Type III secretion system effector NopC blocks nodulation with Lotus japonicus J Exp Bot 71: 6043-6056.
  • Allsopp LP, Bernal P, Nolan L, Filloux A (2020) Causalities of war: The connection between T6SS and microbiota. Cell Microbiol 22: e13153 (doi: 10.1111/cmi.13153).
  • Bernal P, Murillo-Torres M, Allsopp LP (2020) Integrating signals to drive T6SS killing. Environ Microbiol (doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.15255).
  • Jiménez-Guerrero I, Pérez-Montaño F, Zdyb A, Beutler M, Werner G, Göttfert M, Ollero FJ, Vinardell JM, López-Baena FJ (2019) GunA of Sinorhizobium (Ensiferfredii HH103 is a T3SS-secreted cellulase that differentially affects symbiosis with cowpea and soybean. Plant Soil 435: 15-26.
  • Bernal P*, Llamas MA, Filloux A (2018) Type VI secretion Systems in plant-associated bacteria. Environ Microbiol 20: 1-15.
  • Bernal P*, Allsopp LP, Filloux A, Llamas MA (2017) The Pseudomonas putida T6SS is a plant warden against phytopathogens. ISME J 11: 972-987.
  • Jiménez-Guerrero I, Pérez-Montaño F, Medina C, Ollero FJ, López-Baena FJ (2017) The Sinorhizobium (Ensiferfredii HH103 nodulation outer protein NopI Is a determinant for efficient nodulation of soybean and cowpea plants. Appl Environ Microbiol 83(doi: 10.1128/AEM.02770-16).
  • Pérez-Montaño F, Jiménez-Guerrero I, Acosta-Jurado S, Navarro-Gómez P, Ollero FJ, Ruiz-Sainz JE, López-Baena FJ, Vinardell JM (2016) A transcriptomic analysis of the effect of genistein on Sinorhizobium fredii HH103 reveals novel rhizobial genes putatively involved in symbiosis. Sci Rep 6: 31592 (doi: 10.1038/srep31592).

* Corresponding author


  • López-Baena FJ (IP), Vinardell JM (co-IP), Ruiz-sainz JE, Gil A, Espuny MR, Ollero FJ, Cubo MT, Rodríguez-Carvajal MA, Medina C (2020-2023) Identification of new molecular signals and genes involved in the rhizobium-legume symbiosis. PID2019-107634RB-I00.
  • Bernal P (IP), López-Baena FJ (2019-2022) Developing effective biocontrol agents to protect crop infections by exploiting their type VI secretion systems (T6SSs). RTI2018-096936-J-I00.
  • López-Baena FJ (IP), Medina C (co-IP), Ruiz-Sainz JE, Buendía-Clavería A, Rodríguez-Navarro DN, Jiménez-Guerrero I (2020-2022) Legume targets for effectors secreted through the symbiotic Type 3 secretion system. US-1259948.
  • Bernal P (IP), López-Baena FJ (2020-2021) Improving a biocontrol agent for crop protection through the use of a Type VI secretion system (T6SS). FEDER18-1264962.
  • López-Baena FJ (IP), Ollero FJ, Espuny MR, Cubo MT, Jiménez-Guerrero I (2013-2017) The Type III secretion system in the rhizobium-legume symbiotic interaction. P11-CVI-7050.

Relevant methods

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in plant-bacteria interactions
  • Bacterial physiology

Collaborations with other national and international research groups

  • Thomas N. Martin (Universidade Federal de Santa Maria. Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil)
  • Saul Burdman (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel)
  • Luke Allsopp (Imperial College, UK)
  • Despoina Mavridou (University of Texas at Austin, USA)
  • Eduardo Santero (Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla)