Leonardo De La Fuente

Leonardo De La Fuente

Professor
Entomology and Plant Pathology faculty

Education:

2005 Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA (Plant Pathology). Dissertation: Characterization of ecological and physiological basis of superior rhizosphere colonization of fluorescent pseudomonad genotypes. Advisors: David M. Weller and Linda S. Thomashow
2000 M.S., University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay (Biology). Thesis: Biological control strategies of the native strain Pseudomonas fluorescens UP61
1996 B.S., University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay (Biochemistry)

Research Focus:

The research conducted in my laboratory focuses on the interactions between plant and associated bacteria. I am especially interested in plant pathogenic bacteria in aspects such as infection processes, host colonization, biofilm formation and molecular interactions. Questions about the biology of the pathogenic bacteria are being studied using microbiology and molecular biology techniques, as well as nanotechnology.

Professional Experience:

2014-Present Associate Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University
2008-2014 Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University
2005-2008 Postdoctoral Associate. Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University. Supervisors: Harvey Hoch and Tom Burr. Use of “artificial” xylem vessels (microfluidic chambers) to study biological aspects of the bacterial pathogen Xylella fastidiosa, such as xylem colonization, biofilm formation and twitching movement.
2001-2005 Graduate research assistant. Department of Plant Pathology. Washington State University. Advisers: D.M. Weller and L.S. Thomashow. I studied ecological and physiological aspects of rhizosphere colonization by Pseudomonas fluorescens producing the antibiotic 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG).
1999-2001 Research assistant for Project “Reduction of the chemical inputs in a vegetable crop by the use of beneficial rhizospheric microorganisms.” Project Director: Philippe Lemanceau (INRA, Dijon, France). Funded by European Union. INCO-DC EU. In this joint project among European and South American laboratories, we studied the use of beneficial Pseudomonas and mycorrhizas to improve tomato yield.
1998-2001 Teaching assistant. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of the Republic. Montevideo, Uruguay. Professors: Susana Castro, Adriana Estévez, Claudio Martínez. 2000. Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology courses for graduates and undergraduates students.
1997-1998 Teaching assistant. Nitrogen Fixation and Mycorrhizal Fungi Associate Unit. Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Agrononomy, University of the Republic. Montevideo, Uruguay. Professor: Lillián Frioni. 1997. Microbiology courses for graduates and undergraduates students.
1993-2001 Research scholar. Department of Biochemistry, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable (IIBCE). Montevideo, Uruguay. Supervisor: Alicia Arias. I studied the use of native fluorescent Pseudomonas strains to protect forage legumes against seedling diseases. The mechanisms of biocontrol elucidated in P. fluorescens UP61 included the production of antibiotics with broad range of activity against phytopathogens. I studied the interactions among biocontrol P. fluorescens strains and commercially available rhizobial strains used as inoculants in Uruguay.

Awards and Honors:

  • 2012 – Schroth Faces of the Future – New Frontiers in Plant Bacteriology. American Phytopathological Society
  • 2004-2005 – Storkan-Hanes-McCaslin Foundation. Grant: “Ecology of rhizosphere fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. involved in suppression of soilborne pathogens”
  • 2004 – Graduate and Professional Students Association of the Washington State University. Graduate student travel grant to attend the 2004 APS Annual Meeting held at Anaheim, California (USA)
  • 2003 – APS Student Travel Award to attend the 2003 APS Annual Meeting held at Charlotte, North Carolina (USA)
  • 1999-2000 – International Foundation for Science (IFS) (Sweden). Grant: “Native fluorescent Pseudomonas as biocontrol agents of alfalfa seedling diseases”
  • 1999-2000 – M.Sc. Scholarship. PEDECIBA Biology (Program for the Development of Basic Sciences), University of the Republic. Montevideo, Uruguay

Elected and Appointed Offices:

  • 2011-2012 – Vice Chair, Bacteriology Committee of the American Phytopathological Society
  • 2003-2004 – Senator of the students of the Department of Plant Pathology at the Graduate and Professional Students Association (GPSA) of the Washington State University
  • 2000-2001 – Member of the Board of Directors of the Uruguayan Society of Microbiology (SUM).

Professional Societies:

  • American Phytopathological Society
  • American Society for Microbiology

Publications:

  • Oliver, J.E., S. A. Sefick, J. K. Parker, T. Arnold, P. A. Cobine, and L. De La Fuente. 2014. Ionome changes in Xylella fastidiosa-infected Nicotiana tabacum correlate with virulence and discriminate between subspecies of bacterial isolates. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/MPMI-05-14-0151-R, posted 07/01/2014.
  • Navarrete, F. and L. De La Fuente. 2014. Xylella fastidiosa response to zinc: decreased culturability, increased exopolysaccharide production, and resilient biofilms under flow conditions. Appl Environ Microbiol, 80(30):1097-1107.
  • Parker, J.K., S.R. Wisotsky, E.G. Johnson, F.M. Hijaz, N. Killiny, M.E. Hilf, and L. De La Fuente. 2014. Viability of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ prolonged by addition of citrus juice to culture medium. Phytopathology, 104(1):15-26.
  • Cai, W., L. De La Fuente, and C.R. Arias. 2013. Biofilm formation by the fish pathogen Flavobacterium columnare: development and parameters affecting surface attachment. Applied and Environmental Microbiology,
  • De La Fuente, L., J.K. Parker, J.E. Oliver, S. Granger, P.M. Brannen, E. van Santen, and P.A. Cobine. 2013. The bacterial pathogen Xylella fastidiosa affects the leaf ionome of plant hosts during infection. PLoS ONE, 8(5):e62945.
  • Cogan, N.G., M.R. Donahue, M. Whidden, and L. De La Fuente. 2013. Pattern formation exhibited by biofilm formation within microfluidic chambers. The Biophysical Journal, 104(9):1867-1874.
  • Cobine, P., L. F. Cruz, F. Navarrete, D. Duncan, M. Tygart, and L. De La Fuente. 2013. Xylella fastidiosa differentially accumulates mineral elements in biofilm and planktonic cells. PLoS ONE, 8(1):e54936.
  • Yanes, M.L., L. De La Fuente, N. Altier and A. Arias. 2012. Characterization of native fluorescent Pseudomonas isolates associated with alfalfa roots in Uruguayan agroecosystems. Biological Control, 63(3):287-295.
  • Sang-Dal, K., L. De La Fuente, D.M. Weller, and L.S. Thomashow. 2012. Colonizing ability of Pseudomonas fluorescens 2112, among collections of 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol-producing Pseudomonas fluorescens spp. in pea rhizosphere. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 22(6):763-770.
  • Parker, J.K., J.C. Havird, and L. De La Fuente. 2012. Differentiation of Xylella fastidiosa strains via multi-locus sequence analysis of environmentally-mediated genes (MLSA-E). Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78(5):1385-1396.
  • Cruz, L.F., P.A. Cobine, and L. De La Fuente. 2012. Calcium increases surface attachment, biofilm formation, and twitching motility in Xylella fastidiosa. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78(5):1321-1331.
  • De La Fuente, L. and S. Burdman. 2011. Pathogenic and beneficial plant-associated bacteria. In Agricultural Sciences, [Ed.Rattan Lal], in Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO, Eolss Publishers, Oxford ,UK, [http://www.eolss.net]
  • De La Fuente, L. and H. Hoch. 2011. Promises and realities of nanotechnology for plant pathology. Tropical plant pathology, 36:13-15.
  • Cursino, L., C.D. Galvani, D. Athinuwat, P.A. Zaini, Y. Li, L. De La Fuente, H. Hoch, T.J. Burr, and P. Mowery. 2011. Identification of an operon, Pil-Chp, that controls twitching motility and virulence in Xylella fastidiosa. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 24(10), 1198-1206.
  • Burdman, S., O. Bahar, J.K. Parker, and L. De La Fuente. 2011. Involvement of type IV pili in pathogenicity of plant pathogenic bacteria. Genes, 2(4), 706-735.
  • Bahar, O., L. De La Fuente, and S. Burdman. 2010. Assessing adhesion, biofilm formation and motility of Acidovorax citrulli using microfluidic flow chambers. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2010 Nov;312(1):33-9.
  • Cursino, L., Y. Li, P. Zaini, L. De La Fuente, H.C. Hoch and T.J. Burr. 2009. Twitching motility and biofilm formation are associated with tonB1 in Xylella fastidiosa. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 299:193-199
  • Zaini, P., L. De La Fuente, H.C. Hoch and T.J. Burr. 2009. Grapevine xylem sap enhances biofilm development by Xylella fastidiosa. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 295:129-134.
  • De La Fuente, L., T.J. Burr, and H.C. Hoch. 2008. Type I and type IV pili influence the rapid formation of cell aggregates of Xylella fastidiosa. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 74: 5579-5582.
  • De La Fuente, L., O.V. Mavrodi, N. Bajsa, and D.V. Mavrodi. 2008. Antibiotics produced by fluorescent Pseudomonas. In Prospects and Applications for Plant-Associated Microbes. A Laboratory Manual, Part A: Bacteria, pp. 81-84. S. Sorvari and A. M. Pirttilä (Eds.). BioBien Innovations, Piikkiö, Finland.
  • De La Fuente, L., T.J. Burr, and H.C. Hoch. 2007. Mutations in type I and type IV pilus biosynthetic genes affect twitching motility rates in Xylella fastidiosa. Journal of Bacteriology, 189:7507-7510.
  • De La Fuente, L., E. Montanes, Y. Meng, Y. Li, T.J. Burr, H.C. Hoch, and M. Wu. 2007. Assessing adhesion forces of type I and type IV pili of Xylella fastidiosa using a microfluidic flow chamber. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 73:2690-2696.
  • Li, Y., G. Hao, C.D. Galvani, Y. Meng, L. De La Fuente, H.C. Hoch, and T.J. Burr. 2007. Type I and type IV pili of Xylella fastidiosa affect twitching motility, biofilm formation, and cell-cell aggregation. Microbiology, 153:719-726.
  • De La Fuente, L., D.V. Mavrodi, L.S. Thomashow, and D.M. Weller. 2007. Utilization of trehalose, benzoate, valerate, and seed and root exudates by genotypes of 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol producing Pseudomonas fluorescens. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 39:2712-2722.
  • Weller, D.M., B.B. Landa, O.V. Mavrodi, K. Schroeder, L. De La Fuente, S. Blouin-Bankhead, R. Allende-Molar, R.F. Bonsall, D.V. Mavrodi, and L.S. Thomashow. 2007. Role of 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol-producing fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. in the defense of plant roots. Plant Biology, 9:4-20.
  • De La Fuente, L., B.B. Landa, and D.M. Weller. 2006. Host crop affects rhizosphere colonization and competitiveness of 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol-producing Pseudomonas fluorescens. Phytopathology, 96:751-762.
  • De La Fuente, L., D.V. Mavrodi, B.B. Landa, L.S. Thomashow, and D.M. Weller. 2006. phlD-based genetic diversity and detection of genotypes of 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol-producing Pseudomonas fluorescens. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 56:64-78.
  • Validov, S., O. Mavrodi, L. De La Fuente, A. Boronin, D. Weller, L. Thomashow, and D. Mavrodi. 2005. Antagonistic activity among 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol-producing fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 242:249-256.
  • De La Fuente, L., L.S. Thomashow, D.M. Weller, N. Bajsa, L. Quagliotto, L. Chernin, and A. Arias. 2004. Pseudomonas fluorescens UP61 isolated from birdsfoot trefoil rhizosphere produces multiple antibiotics and exerts a broad spectrum of biocontrol activity. European Journal of Plant Pathology, 110:671-681.
  • De La Fuente, L., L. Quagliotto, N. Bajsa, E. Fabiano, N. Altier, and A. Arias. 2002. Inoculation with Pseudomonas fluorescens biocontrol strains does not affect the symbiosis between rhizobia and forage legumes. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 34:545-548.
  • Pérez, C., L. De La Fuente, A. Arias, and N. Altier. 2001. Uso de Pseudomonas fluorescentes nativas para el control de enfermedades de implantación en Lotus corniculatus. Agrociencias, 5: 41-47.
  • De La Fuente, L., N. Bajsa, P. Bagnasco, L. Quagliotto, L. Thomashow and A. Arias. 2000. Antibiotic production by biocontrol Pseudomonas fluorescens isolated from forage legume rhizosphere. Proceedings of the 5th International PGPR Workshop. Córdoba, Argentina.
  • Bagnasco, P., L. De La Fuente, F. Noya, G. Gualtieri, and A. Arias. 1998. Fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. as biocontrol agents against forage legume root pathogenic fungi. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 30:1317-1322.
  • Chernin, L., L. De La Fuente, V. Sobolev, S. Haran, C. E. Vorgias, A. Oppenheim, and I. Chet. 1997. Molecular cloning, structural analysis and expression in Escherichia coli of a chitinase from Enterobacter agglomerans. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 63:834-839.
  • Fabiano, E., P. R. Gill, F. Noya, P. Bagnasco, L. De La Fuente, and A. Arias. 1996. Siderophore-mediated iron acquisition mutants in Rhizobium meliloti 242 and its effect on the nodulation kinetic on alfalfa nodules. Symbiosis, 19:197-211.

Selected Abstracts/Talks:

  • 2012 – L. De La Fuente. Minerals influence interactions between the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa and its host plants. “Scroth Faces of the Future – New Frontiers in Plant Bacteriology” Oral Presentation Awardee: American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting, Providence, RI.
  • 2011 – Parker, J.K., and L. De La Fuente. Analysis of environmentally-mediated genes of the pathogen Xylella fastidiosa to define relationships between isolates from different plant hosts. 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, New Orleans, LA, May 21-24.
  • 2011 – Cruz, L., P. Cobine, and L. De La Fuente. Calcium as a stimulant of Xylella fastidiosa cell attachment structures. 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, New Orleans, LA, May 21-24.
  • 2010 – Parker, J. K., and L. De La Fuente. Xylella fastidiosa genes and phenotypes related to host specificity. Poster Presentation. Proceedings of the 10th Annual Pierce’s Disease Research Symposium, San Diego, CA:147.
  • 2010 – Cruz, L.F. and L. De La Fuente. The role of calcium and other minerals on biofilm formation and adhesion force in Xylella fastidiosa cells. Poster Presentation: American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting. Phytopathology 100:S28.
  • 2010 – Parker, J. K., and L. De La Fuente. Differentiation of Xylella fastidiosa strains via analysis of environmentally-mediated genes. Poster Presentation: American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting. Phytopathology 100:S97.
  • 2010 – De La Fuente, L., L.F. Cruz, J.K. Parker, and P.A. Cobine. Influence of Xylella fastidiosa on mineral content of infected host plants. Oral Presentation: American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting.

Contact

209 Life Sciences Bldg
Auburn Univ, AL 36849