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Elife. 2016 Dec 21;5. pii: e21848. doi: 10.7554/eLife.21848.

Coincidence detection and bi-directional transmembrane signaling control a bacterial second messenger receptor.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, United States.


The second messenger c-di-GMP (or cyclic diguanylate) regulates biofilm formation, a physiological adaptation process in bacteria, via a widely conserved signaling node comprising a prototypical transmembrane receptor for c-di-GMP, LapD, and a cognate periplasmic protease, LapG. Previously, we reported a structure-function study of a soluble LapD•LapG complex, which established conformational changes in the receptor that lead to c-di-GMP-dependent protease recruitment (Chatterjee et al., 2014). This work also revealed a basal affinity of c-di-GMP-unbound receptor for LapG, the relevance of which remained enigmatic. Here, we elucidate the structural basis of coincidence detection that relies on both c-di-GMP and LapG binding to LapD for receptor activation. The data indicate that high-affinity for LapG relies on the formation of a receptor dimer-of-dimers, rather than a simple conformational change within dimeric LapD. The proposed mechanism provides a rationale of how external proteins can regulate receptor function and may also apply to c-di-GMP-metabolizing enzymes that are akin to LapD.


biofilm formation; biophysics; infectious disease; membrane protein structure; membrane signaling; microbiology; second messenger; structural biology

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