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Genes 2017, 8(8), 197;

c-di-AMP: An Essential Molecule in the Signaling Pathways that Regulate the Viability and Virulence of Gram-Positive Bacteria

Department of Biology, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809, USA
Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA
Elanco Animal Health, Natural Products Fermentation, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helen J. Wing
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 29 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [516 KB, uploaded 7 August 2017]   |  


Signal transduction pathways enable organisms to monitor their external environment and adjust gene regulation to appropriately modify their cellular processes. Second messenger nucleotides including cyclic adenosine monophosphate (c-AMP), cyclic guanosine monophosphate (c-GMP), cyclic di-guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP), and cyclic di-adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) play key roles in many signal transduction pathways used by prokaryotes and/or eukaryotes. Among the various second messenger nucleotides molecules, c-di-AMP was discovered recently and has since been shown to be involved in cell growth, survival, and regulation of virulence, primarily within Gram-positive bacteria. The cellular level of c-di-AMP is maintained by a family of c-di-AMP synthesizing enzymes, diadenylate cyclases (DACs), and degradation enzymes, phosphodiesterases (PDEs). Genetic manipulation of DACs and PDEs have demonstrated that alteration of c-di-AMP levels impacts both growth and virulence of microorganisms. Unlike other second messenger molecules, c-di-AMP is essential for growth in several bacterial species as many basic cellular functions are regulated by c-di-AMP including cell wall maintenance, potassium ion homeostasis, DNA damage repair, etc. c-di-AMP follows a typical second messenger signaling pathway, beginning with binding to receptor molecules to subsequent regulation of downstream cellular processes. While c-di-AMP binds to specific proteins that regulate pathways in bacterial cells, c-di-AMP also binds to regulatory RNA molecules that control potassium ion channel expression in Bacillus subtilis. c-di-AMP signaling also occurs in eukaryotes, as bacterially produced c-di-AMP stimulates host immune responses during infection through binding of innate immune surveillance proteins. Due to its existence in diverse microorganisms, its involvement in crucial cellular activities, and its stimulating activity in host immune responses, c-di-AMP signaling pathway has become an attractive antimicrobial drug target and therefore has been the focus of intensive study in several important pathogens. View Full-Text
Keywords: c-di-AMP; Gram-positive bacteria; c-di-AMP synthesis and degradation; c-di-AMP-binding proteins c-di-AMP; Gram-positive bacteria; c-di-AMP synthesis and degradation; c-di-AMP-binding proteins

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Fahmi, T.; Port, G.C.; Cho, K.H. c-di-AMP: An Essential Molecule in the Signaling Pathways that Regulate the Viability and Virulence of Gram-Positive Bacteria. Genes 2017, 8, 197.

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