Diurnal metabolic control in cyanobacteria requires perception of second messenger signaling molecule c-di-AMP by the carbon control protein SbtB

Sci Adv. 2021 Dec 10;7(50):eabk0568. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abk0568. Epub 2021 Dec 8.


Because of their photosynthesis-dependent lifestyle, cyanobacteria evolved sophisticated regulatory mechanisms to adapt to oscillating day-night metabolic changes. How they coordinate the metabolic switch between autotrophic and glycogen-catabolic metabolism in light and darkness is poorly understood. Recently, c-di-AMP has been implicated in diurnal regulation, but its mode of action remains elusive. To unravel the signaling functions of c-di-AMP in cyanobacteria, we isolated c-di-AMP receptor proteins. Thereby, the carbon-sensor protein SbtB was identified as a major c-di-AMP receptor, which we confirmed biochemically and by x-ray crystallography. In search for the c-di-AMP signaling function of SbtB, we found that both SbtB and c-di-AMP cyclase–deficient mutants showed reduced diurnal growth and that c-di-AMP–bound SbtB interacts specifically with the glycogen-branching enzyme GlgB. Accordingly, both mutants displayed impaired glycogen synthesis during the day and impaired nighttime survival. Thus, the pivotal role of c-di-AMP in day-night acclimation can be attributed to SbtB-mediated regulation of glycogen metabolism.