Transmembrane redox control and proteolysis of PdeC, a novel type of c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase

EMBO J. 2018 Apr 13;37(8):e97825. doi: 10.15252/embj.201797825. Epub 2018 Mar 7.


The nucleotide second messenger c-di-GMP nearly ubiquitously promotes bacterial biofilm formation, with enzymes that synthesize and degrade c-di-GMP being controlled by diverse N-terminal sensor domains. Here, we describe a novel class of widely occurring c-di-GMP phosphodiesterases (PDE) that feature a periplasmic "CSS domain" with two highly conserved cysteines that is flanked by two transmembrane regions (TM1 and TM2) and followed by a cytoplasmic EAL domain with PDE activity. Using PdeC, one of the five CSS domain PDEs of Escherichia coli K-12, we show that DsbA/DsbB-promoted disulfide bond formation in the CSS domain reduces PDE activity. By contrast, the free thiol form is enzymatically highly active, with the TM2 region promoting dimerization. Moreover, this form is processed by periplasmic proteases DegP and DegQ, yielding a highly active TM2 + EAL fragment that is slowly removed by further proteolysis. Similar redox control and proteolysis was also observed for a second CSS domain PDE, PdeB. At the physiological level, CSS domain PDEs modulate production and supracellular architecture of extracellular matrix polymers in the deeper layers of mature E. coli biofilms.

Keywords: DegP; DsbAB; EAL domain; biofilm; second messenger.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cyclic GMP / analogs & derivatives
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli K12 / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Protein Domains
  • Proteolysis


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • bis(3',5')-cyclic diguanylic acid
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • Cyclic GMP