The second messenger cyclic di-GMP has emerged as a central regulator of many important bacterial processes including biofilm formation and virulence. Although the pathways of cyclic di-GMP synthesis and degradation have been established, the mechanisms by which this second messenger exerts its action on diverse cellular functions remain relatively poorly understood. Recent studies report considerable advances in identifying different classes of cyclic di-GMP effectors; these include the PilZ protein domain, transcription factors, proteins involved in RNA processing and riboswitches. Here, we review this range of cyclic di-GMP effectors and the biological processes that they govern using examples from several different bacteria.
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