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Science 321 (5887): 411-413

Copyright © 2008 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Riboswitches in Eubacteria Sense the Second Messenger Cyclic Di-GMP

N. Sudarsan,1 E. R. Lee,2 Z. Weinberg,2 R. H. Moy,3 J. N. Kim,2 K. H. Link,1 R. R. Breaker1,2,3*

Abstract: Cyclic di-guanosine monophosphate (di-GMP) is a circular RNA dinucleotide that functions as a second messenger in diverse species of bacteria to trigger wide-ranging physiological changes, including cell differentiation, conversion between motile and biofilm lifestyles, and virulence gene expression. However, the mechanisms by which cyclic di-GMP regulates gene expression have remained a mystery. We found that cyclic di-GMP in many bacterial species is sensed by a riboswitch class in messenger RNA that controls the expression of genes involved in numerous fundamental cellular processes. A variety of cyclic di-GMP regulons are revealed, including some riboswitches associated with virulence gene expression, pilus formation, and flagellum biosynthesis. In addition, sequences matching the consensus for cyclic di-GMP riboswitches are present in the genome of a bacteriophage.

1 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
2 Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
3 Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ronald.breaker{at}

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