BIOMERIT Research Centre, Department of Microbiology, BioSciences Institute, National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland
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Accepted 2 July 2006.
Cyclic di-GMP is an almost ubiquitous second messenger in bacteria that was first described as an allosteric activator of cellulose synthase but is now known to regulate a range of functions, including virulence in human and animal pathogens. Two protein domains, GGDEF and EAL, are implicated in the synthesis and degradation, respectively, of cyclic di-GMP. These domains are widely distributed in bacteria, including plant pathogens. The majority of proteins with GGDEF and EAL domains contain additional signal input domains, suggesting that their activities are responsive to environmental cues. Recent studies have demonstrated that a third domain, HD-GYP, is also active in cyclic di-GMP degradation. In the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, a two-component signal transduction system comprising the HD-GYP domain regulatory protein RpfG and cognate sensor RpfC positively controls virulence. The signals recognized by RpfC may include the cell-cell signal DSF, which also acts to regulate virulence in X. campestris pv. campestris. Here, we review these recent advances in our understanding of cyclic di-GMP signaling with particular reference to one or more roles in the bacterial pathogenesis of plants.
© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society