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Cyclic‐di‐GMP regulation of virulence in bacterial pathogens

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Signaling pathways allow bacteria to adapt to changing environments. For pathogenic bacteria, signaling pathways allow for timely expression of virulence factors and the repression of antivirulence factors within the mammalian host. As the bacteria exit the mammalian host, signaling pathways enable the expression of factors promoting survival in the environment and/or nonmammalian hosts. One such signaling pathway uses the dinucleotide cyclic‐di‐GMP (c‐di‐GMP), and many bacterial genomes encode numerous proteins that are responsible for synthesizing and degrading c‐di‐GMP. Once made, c‐di‐GMP binds to individual protein and RNA receptors to allosterically alter the macromolecule function to drive phenotypic changes. Each bacterial genome encodes unique sets of genes for c‐di‐GMP signaling and virulence factors so the regulation by c‐di‐GMP is organism specific. Recent works have pointed to evidence that c‐di‐GMP regulates virulence in different bacterial pathogens of mammalian hosts. In this review, we discuss the criteria for determining the contribution of signaling nucleotides to pathogenesis using a well‐characterized signaling nucleotide, cyclic AMP (cAMP), in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Using these criteria, we review the roles of c‐di‐GMP in mediating virulence and highlight common themes that exist among eight diverse pathogens that cause different diseases through different routes of infection and transmission. WIREs RNA 2018, 9:e1454. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1454 This article is categorized under: RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Disease

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