Published: June 10, 2015 By , ,

Cell Host Microbe. 2015 Jun 10;17(6):788-98. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2015.05.006. Epub 2015 May 28.


Cyclic di-adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) is a widely distributed second messenger that appears to be essential in multiple bacterial species, including the Gram-positive facultative intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. In this study, the only L. monocytogenes diadenylate cyclase gene, dacA, was deleted using a Cre-lox system activated during infection of cultured macrophages. All ΔdacA strains recovered from infected cells harbored one or more suppressor mutations that allowed growth in the absence of c-di-AMP. Suppressor mutations in the synthase domain of the bi-functional (p)ppGpp synthase/hydrolase led to reduced (p)ppGpp levels. A genetic assay confirmed that dacA was essential in wild-type but not strains lacking all three (p)ppGpp synthases. Further genetic analysis suggested that c-di-AMP was essential because accumulated (p)ppGpp altered GTP concentrations, thereby inactivating the pleiotropic transcriptional regulator CodY. We propose that c-di-AMP is conditionally essential for metabolic changes that occur in growth in rich medium and host cells but not minimal medium.

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