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Alfredo Herrera-Estrella (CV) - old

Principal Investigator

Alfredo Herrera-Estrella (CV) - old

Principal Investigator


Profesor Investigador 3E (Full Professor)



Phone, office

+52 (462) 166-3010

Phone, lab

+52 (462) 166-3000, ext. 3070

+52 (462) 166-3000, ext. 3110




Gene Expression and Development in Fungi


Dr. Alfredo Herrera-Estrella was born in Mexico City, where he received higher education as Engineer in Biochemistry at the National School of Biological Sciences from the National Polytechnic Institute. His interest for research led him to work on his undergraduate thesis with phage lambda under the direction of Dr. Gabriel Guarneros at the Centre for Research and Advance Studies (Cinvestav).

After graduating he obtained a fellowship from the National Council for Technological Education (COSNET) for doctoral studies on Plant Genetics at the State University of Ghent in Belgium, which he carried out under the direction of Prof. Marc Van Montagu. During his PhD he focussed on two biological phenomena, DNA transfer from the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens to plant cells, and the molecular basis of parasitism of phytopathogenic fungi by fungi belonging to the genus Trichoderma. He stayed in the laboratory in Ghent as a pos-doctoral fellow leading the group of Molecular Biology of Fungi. In 1991 he decided to return to Mexico and be part of the research group of the Irapuato Unit of Cinvestav.

Dr. Alfredo Herrera-Estrella is a founding member of the National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity, and editor for the journals Eukaryotic Cell, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, PlosOne, and “Revista Latinoamericana de Microbiología”. His scientific career has been recognized with the “CARLOS CASAS CAMPILLO” prize, the prize of the Mexican Academy of Sciences in the Area of Natural Sciences, and the prize on Biotechnology given by Agrobio Mexico.

Research Interests

The scientific interest of Dr. Herrera-Estrella is focussed in the analysis of gene expression and development in fungi of the genus Trichoderma. This interest is due to the fact that several species of the genus have been successfully used as biocontrol agents to eradicate a broad range of phytopathogenic fungi. Trichoderma parasitizes and feeds on plant pathogenic fungi, and its main mechanism of survival and dispersion in soil is through the production of asexual spores (conidia). Additionally, this process has great importance from a biotechnological point of view since the vast majority of commercial products are formulated using Trichoderma spores. We are particularly interested in studying the influence of light in fungal development, and this is why we have made an important effort in the identification of light receptors, and massive analyzes of gene expression patterns in response to this stimulus. Similarly, and given the importance of small RNAs in development in a diversity of organisms, we have begun the study of their relevance in conidiation in Trichoderma. At the moment we are working in the elucidation of the complete genome sequence of Trichoderma atroviride y Trichoderma virens. With these tools in hand we expect to contribute in aspects of comparative genomics, and analyzes of transcription factors involved in conidiation triggered by light (photoconidiation). Additionally, our interest on functional genomics has led us to also study the transcriptome of the scorpion (Centruroides noxius), and the elucidation of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) genome.

Education and training


Biochemical Engineering


PhD in Plant Genetics


Posdoctoral fellow at the State University of Ghent



“CARLOS CASAS CAMPILLO” prize given by the Mexican Society of Biotechnology and Bioengineering. Recipients must be under 36 years old


Award from The National Polytechnic Institute for an Outstanding Career in Science and Technology


Prize of the Mexican Academy of Sciences in the Area of Natural Sciences. Highest Mexican Award for Young Scientists


Agrobio prize in Biotechnology. Given by Agrobio México.

Publications list

Gariglio P., Del Angel, R., Herrera, A., and Bonilla, M. 1987. Theoretical Model for the Post-transcriptional Regulation of the Human c-myc Gene Expression, Involving Double-stranded RNA Processing. J. Theor. Biol. 125, 83-92.

Vernade D., Herrera-Estrella, A., Wang, K., and Van Montagu, M. 1988. Glycine betaine allows enhanced vir gene induction by acetosyringone at low pH. J. Bacteriol. 170, 5822-5829.

Herrera-Estrella, A., Chen, Z-M., Van Montagu, M., and Wang, K. 1988. Vir D proteins of Agrobacterium tumefaciens are required for the formation of a covalent DNA-protein complex at the 5\\\\\' terminus of T-strand molecules. The EMBO Journal. 7, 4055-4062.

Herrera-Estrella, A., Goldman, G.H., and Van Montagu, M. 1990. High efficiency transformation system for the biocontrol agents Trichoderma spp. Mol. Microbiol. 4, 839-843.

Goldman, G.H., Van Montagu, M., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1990. Transformation of Trichoderma harzianum by high-voltage electric pulse. Curr. Genet. 17, 169-174.

Wang, K., Herrera-Estrella, A., and Van Montagu, M. 1990. Overexpression of virD1/D2 Genes in A. tumefaciens Enhances T-complex Formation and Plant Transformation. J. Bacteriol. 172, 4432-4440.

Goldman, G.H., Villaroel, R., Van Montagu, M., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1990. Sequence of the Trichoderma viride phosphoglycerate kinase gene. Nucleic Acids Res. 18, 6717.

Herrera-Estrella, A., Van Montagu, M., and Wang, K. 1990. A bacterial peptide acting as a nuclear targeting signal: The amino-terminal portion of Agrobacterium VirD2 protein directs a b-galactosidase fusion into tobacco nuclei. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 87, 9534-9537.

Goldman, G.H., Demolder, J., Dewaele, S., Herrera-Estrella, A., Geremia, R., Van Montagu, M., and Contreras, R. 1992. Molecular cloning of the Imidazoleglycerolphosphate dehydratase gene of Trichoderma harzianum by genetic complementation in Sacharomyces cerevisiae using a direct expression vector. Mol. Gen. Genet. 234, 481-488.

Goldman, G.H., Geremia, R.A., Caplan, A.B., Vila, S.B., Villaroel, R., Van Montagu, M., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1992. Molecular characterization and regulation of the phosphoglycerate kinase gene from Trichoderma viride. Mol. Microbiol., 6, 1231-1242.

Herrera-Estrella, A., Goldman, G.H., Van Montagu, M., and Geremia, R. 1993. Electrophoretic karyotype and genes assignment to resolved chromosomes of Trichoderma spp. Mol. Microbiol., 7, 515-521.

Geremia, R., Goldman, G.H., Jacobs, D., Ardiles, W., Vila, S.B., Van Montagu, M., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1993. Molecular characterization of the proteinase-encoding gene, prb1, related to mycoparasitism by Trichoderma harzianum. Mol. Microbiol., 8, 603-613.

Goldman, G.H., Temmerman, W., Jacobs, D., Contreras, R., Van Montagu, M., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1993. A nucleotide substitution in one of the b-tubulin genes of Trichoderma viride confers resistance to the antimitotic drug methyl benzimidazole-2-yl-carbamate. Mol. Gen. Genet., 240, 73-80.

Migheli, Q., Herrera-Estrella, A., Avataneo, M., and Gullino, M.L. 1994. Fate of transformed Trichoderma harzianum in the phylloplane of tomato plants. Molecular Ecology, 3, 153-159.

Carsolio, C., Gutiérrez, A., Jiménez, B., Van Montagu, M., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1994. Characterization of ech-42, a Trichoderma harzianum endochitinase gene expressed during mycoparasitism. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 91, 10903-10907.

Goldman, G.H., Van Montagu, M., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1995. Transformation of filamentous fungi. En "Transformation of plants and soil microorganisms", Wang K., Herrera-Estrella A., and Van Montagu M. (eds), Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, U.K. pp. 34-49.

Flores, A., Chet, I., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1997. Improved biocontrol activity of Trichoderma harzianum strains by overexpression of the proteinase encoding gene prb1. Curr. Genet. 31, 30-37.

Carle-Urioste, J.C., Escobar-Vera, J., El-Gogary, S., Henrique-Silva, F., Torigoi, E., Crivellaro, O., Herrera-Estrella, A., and El-Dorry, H. 1997. Cellulase induction in Trichoderma reesei by cellulose requires its own basal expression. J. Biol. Chem. 272 (15), 10169.

Sametz-Baron, L., Berrocal, G.M., Amit, R., Herrera-Estrella, A., and Horwitz, B.A. 1997. Photoreactivation of UV-inactivated spores of Trichoderma harzianum. Photochem. Photobiol. 65 (5), 849-854.

Gómez, I., Chet, I., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1997. Vegetative compatibility and molecular variation among Trichoderma harzianum isolates. Mol. Gen. Genet. 256 (2), 127-135.

Puyesky, M., Ponce-Noyola, P., Horwitz, B.A., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1997. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase expression in Trichoderma harzianum is repressed during conidiation and mycoparasitism. Microbiology. 143, 3157–3164.

Vázquez-Garcidueñas, S., Leal-Morales, C.A., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1998. Analysis of the b-1,3-glucanolytic system of the biocontrol agent Trichoderma harzianum. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 64, 1442-1446.

Herrera-Estrella, A., and Chet, I. 1998. Biological control of bacteria and phytopathogenic fungi. En “Agricultural Biotechnology”. Arie Altman Ed. Marcel Dekker, Inc. New York, NY 10016, USA. pp. 263-282.

Cortés, C., Gutiérrez, A., Olmedo, V., Inbar, J., Chet, I., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1998. The expression of genes involved in parasitism by Trichoderma harzianum is triggered by a diffusible factor. Mol. Gen. Genet. 260, 218-225.

Gold, J., Good, L., Herrera-Estrella, A., Diener, T.O., and Martínez-Soriano, J.P. 1999. "Plant-Pathogen Interactions in Plant Biotechnology". En "Molecular Biotechnology for Plant Food Production". O. Paredes-Lopez (Ed.). Technomic Publishing Co. London. pp 131-186.

Herrera-Estrella, A., and Chet, I. 1999. Chitinases in Biological Control. En “Chitin and Chitinases”. Jolles, P., and Muzzarelli, R. A. A. Eds. Birkhäuser Publishing, Ltd. Basel, Switzerland. pp. 171-184.

Barba, P., Herrera-Estrella, A., Utsumi, S., and Paredes-López, O. 1996. Molecular characterization, cloning and structural analysis of a cDNA encoding an Amaranth globulin. J. Plant Physiol., 149, 527-532.

Omero, C., Inbar, J., Rocha-Ramírez, V., Herrera-Estrella, A., Chet, I., and Horwitz, B. A. 1999. G protein activators and cAMP promote mycoparasitic behaviour in Trichoderma harzianum. Mycol. Res. 103, 1637-1642.

Berrocal-Tito, G., Sametz-Baron, L., Eichenberg, K., Horwitz, B. A., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1999. Rapid blue-light regulation of a Trichoderma harzianum photolyase gene. J. Biol. Chem. 274, 14288-14294.

Valdés-Rodríguez, S., Blamco-Labra, A., Gutiérrez-Benicio, G., Boradenenko, A., Herrera-Estrella, A., and Simpson, J. 1999. Cloning and characterization of a trandpsin inhibitor cDNA from amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) seeds. Plant Mol. Biol. 41, 15-23.

Puyesky, M., Benhamou, N., Ponce-Noyola, P., Bauw, G., Ziv, T., Van Montagu, M., Herrera-Estrella, A., and Horwitz, B. A. 1999. Developmental regulation of cmp1, a gene encoding a multidomain conidiospore surface protein of Trichoderma. Fungal Genet. Biol. 27, 88-99.

Carsolio, C., Benhamou, N., Haran, S., Cortés, C., Gutiérrez, A., Chet, I., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 1999. Role of the Trichoderma harzianum endochitinase gene, ech42, in mycoparasitism. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 65, 929-935.

Berrocal-Tito, G., Rosales-Saavedra, T., Herrera-Estrella, A., and Horwitz, B.A. 2000. Characterization of blue-light and developmental regulation of the photolyase gene phr1 in Trichoderma harzianum. Photochem. Photobiol. 71, 662-668.

Muñoz Ruíz, C., Virgen Calleros, G., Herrera Estrella, A. and Olalde Portugal, V. 2001. Introducción de agentes de control biológico de Rhizoctonia solani en suelos solarizados o encalados en condiciones de invernadero. Manejo Integrado de Plagas 59, 10-14.

Sharon, E., Bar-Eyal, M., Chet, I., Herrera-Estrella, A., Kleifeld, O., and Spiegel, Y. 2001. Biological Control of the Root-Knot Nematode Meloidogyne javanica by Trichoderma harzianum. Phytopathology 91, 687-693.

Rocha-Ramírez, V., Omero, C., Chet, I., Horwitz, B.A., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2002. Trichoderma atroviride G protein a-Subunit gene tga1 is involved in mycoparasitic coiling and conidiation. Eukaryotic Cell, 1, 594–605.

Olmedo-Monfil, V., Mendoza-Mendoza, A., Gómez, I., Cortés, C. and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2002. Multiple environmental signals determine the transcriptional activation of the mycoparasitism related gene prb1 in Trichoderma atroviride. Mol. Gen. Genom., 267, 703-712.

Mendoza-Mendoza, A., Pozo, M., Grzegorski, D., Martínez, P., García, J., Olmedo-Monfil, V., Cortes, C., Kenerley, C., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2003. Enhanced biocontrol activity of Trichoderma through inactivation of a mitogen-activated protein kinase. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 100, 15965–15970.

Sánchez-Murillo, R.I., de la Torre-Martínez, M., Aguirre-Linares, J., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2004. Light regulated asexual reproduction in Paecilomyces fumosoroseus. Microbiology, 150, 311-319.

Herrera-Estrella, A. and Chet, I. 2004. “The Biological Control Agent Trichoderma from Fundamentals to Applications“. En “Handbook of Fungal Biotechnology 2/e“ Arora, D. (Ed.). Marcel Dekker, Inc. New York 10016, U.S.A. Vol. 21, pp. 147-156.

Casas-Flores, S., Rosales-Saavedra, T., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2004. “Three decades of fungal transformation: Novel Technologies” En “Recombinant Gene Expression Protocols 2/e“ Balbas, P. y Lorence (Eds.). Humana Press International, Totowa NJ, U.S.A. Vol. 267, pp. 297-313.

Olmedo-Monfil, V., Cortés-Penagos, C., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2004. “Three decades of fungal transformation: Key Concepts and Applications”. En “Recombinant Gene Expression Protocols 2/e“ Balbas, P. y Lorence (Eds.). Humana Press International, Totowa NJ, U.S.A. Vol. 267, pp. 315-325.

Casas-Flores, S., Rios-Momberg, M., Bibbins, M., Ponce-Noyola, P., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2004. BLR-1 and BLR-2, key regulatory elements of photoconidiation and mycelial growth in Trichoderma atroviride. Microbiology, 150, 3561-3569.

Casas-Flores, S., Rios-Momberg, M., Rosales-Saavedra, T., Martínez-Hernández, P., Olmedo-Monfil, V., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2006. Crosstalk between a fungal blue light perception system and the cAMP signaling pathway. Eukaryotic Cell, 5, 499-506.

Avila, M., Herrera-Estrella, A., and Peña-Cabriales, J.J. 2006. Colonization of the Rhizosphere, rhizoplane and endorhiza of garlic (Allium sativum L.) by strains of Trichoderma harzianum and their capacity to control allium white-rot under field conditions. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 38, 1823-1830.

Rosales-Saavedra, T., Esquivel-Naranjo, E.U., Casas-Flores, S., Martínez-Hernández, P., Ibarra-Laclette, E., Cortes-Penagos, C. and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2006. Novel light regulated genes in Trichoderma atroviride: a dissection by cDNA microarrays. Microbiology, 152, 3319-3325.

Alfredo Herrera-Estrella and Benjamin A. Horwitz. 2007. “Looking through the eyes of fungi: molecular genetics of photoreception”. Molecular Microbiology, 64, 5-15.

Mendoza-Mendoza, A., Rosales-Saavedra, T., Cortés, C., Castellanos-Juárez, V., Martínez, P., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2007. The MAP Kinase TVK1 regulates conidiation, hydrophobicity and the expression of genes encoding cell wall proteins in the fungus Trichoderma virens. Microbiology, 153, 2137-2147.

Cortes-Penagos, C., Olmedo-Monfil, V. and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2007. “The Nature of Fungal Mycoparasitic Biocontrol Agents” En “Biological Control of Plant Diseases” Chincholkar, S.B. & Mukerji K. G. (Eds.). The Haworth Press, Inc., New York, USA. pp. 327-345.

Casas-Flores, S. and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2007. “Antagonism of Plant Parasitic Nematodes by Fungi”. En "Environmental and Microbial Relationships" (Mycota IV). Kubicek, C. & Druzhinina, I. (Eds). Springer, Heidelberg, Alemania. pp. 147-157. ISBN 978-3-540-71839-0.

Berrocal-Tito, G., Esquivel-Naranjo, E.U., Horwitz, B.A., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2007. Trichoderma PHR1, a fungal photolyase responsible for DNA repair, autoregulates its own photoinduction. Eukaryotic Cell, 6 (9), 1682-1692.

Pérez-Martínez, A.S., De León-Rodríguez, A., Harris, L.J., Herrera-Estrella, A., and Barba de la Rosa, A.P. 2007. Overexpression, Purification and Characterization of the Trichoderma atroviride endochitinase, Ech42, in Pichia pastoris. Protein Expres. Purif. 55, (1), 183-188.

Esquivel-Naranjo, E.U., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2007. Enhanced responsiveness and sensitivity to blue light by blr2 overexpression in Trichoderma atroviride. Microbiology, 153 (11), 3909-3922.

Zelakowska-Komon, M., Neuhof, T., Dieckmann, R., von Döhren, H., Herrera-Estrella, A., Kubicek, C.P., and Druzhinina, I.S. 2007. Formation of atroviridin by Hypocrea atroviridis is conidiation-associated, and positively regulated by blue light and the G-protein GNA3. Eukaryotic Cell, 6 (12), 2332-2342.

Alcaraz, L.D., Olmedo, G., Bonilla, G., Cerritos, R., Hernández, G., Cruz, A., Ramírez, E., Putonti, C., Jiménez, B., Martínez, E., López, V., Arvizu, J.L., Ayala, F., Razo, F., Caballero, J., Siefert, J., Eguiarte, L., Vielle, J.P., Martínez, O., Souza, V., Herrera-Estrella, A., and Herrera-Estrella, L. 2008. The genome of Bacillus coahuilensis reveals adaptations essential for survival in the relic of an ancient marine environment. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 105 (15), 5803–5808.

Vega-Arreguín, J., Ibarra-Laclette, E., Jimenez-Moraila, B., Martínez, O., Vielle-Calzada, J.P., Herrera-Estrella, L., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2009. Deep sampling of the Palomero maize transcriptome by a high throughput strategy of pyrosequencing. BMC Genomics, 10:299, doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-299.

Vielle-Calzada, J.P., Martínez de la Vega, O., Hernández-Guzmán, G., Ibarra-Laclette, E., Alvarez-Mejía, C., Vega-Arreguín, J., Jiménez-Moraila, B., Fernández-Cortés, A., Corona-Armenta, G., Herrera-Estrella, L., and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2009. The Palomero Genome Suggests Metal Effects on Domestication. Science, 326, 1078.

Seidl, V., Song, L., Lindquist, E.A., Gruber, S., Koptchinskiy, A., Zeilinger, S., Schmoll, M., Martinez, P., Sun, J., Grigoriev, I., Herrera-Estrella, A., Baker, S.E., and Kubicek, C.P. 2009. Transcriptomic response of the mycoparasitic fungus Trichoderma atroviride to the close presence of a fungal prey. BMC Genomics 2009, 10:567, doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-567

Castellanos, F., Schmoll, M., Martínez, P., Tisch, D., Kubicek, C.P., Herrera-Estrella, A. and Esquivel-Naranjo, E.U. 2010. Crucial factors of the light perception machinery and their impact on growth and cellulase gene transcription in Trichoderma reesei. Fungal Genetics & Biology, in press.

Schmoll, M., Esquivel-Naranjo, E.U. and Herrera-Estrella, A. 2010. Trichoderma in the light of day - physiology and development. Fungal Genetics & Biology, in press.

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