Jonas K, Melefors O, Römling U
Future Microbiol 4 (3) 341-358 [2009-04-00; online 2009-03-31]
Cyclic (5 to 3 )-diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a small molecule that regulates the transition between the sessile and motile lifestyle, an integrative part of biofilm formation and other multicellular behavior, in many bacteria. The recognition of c-di-GMP as a novel secondary messenger soon raised the question about the specificity of the signaling system, as individual bacterial genomes frequently encode numerous c-di-GMP metabolizing proteins. Recent work has demonstrated that several global regulators concertedly modify the expression of selected panels of c-di-GMP metabolizing proteins, which act on targets with physiological functions. Within complex feed-forward arrangements, the global regulators commonly combine the control of c-di-GMP metabolism with the direct regulation of proteins with functions in motility or biofilm formation, leading to precise and fine-tuned output responses that determine bacterial behavior. c-di-GMP metabolizing proteins are also controlled at the post-translational level by mechanisms including phosphorylation, localization, protein-protein interactions or protein stability. A detailed understanding of such complex regulatory mechanisms will not only help to explain the specificity in c-di-GMP signaling systems, but will also be necessary to understand the high phenotypic diversity within bacterial biofilms at the single cell level.