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Schwerpunktprogramm "Nucleotide Second Messenger Signaling in Bacteria" (SPP 1879);
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
This call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period.
Nucleotide second messengers are key components of the signal transduction networks that link sensory input with the regulatory responses of all living cells. Despite having provided early textbook examples such as cAMP and ppGpp, the astonishing diversity, mechanistic complexity and pervasive roles of bacterial second messenger signaling have become apparent only recently. This progress has been triggered by the discovery of the ubiquitous cyclic dinucleotide c-di-GMP, a bacterial "life-style" signaling molecule that controls biofilm formation, cell cycle progression, development and virulence. Research on c-di-GMP has led to entirely new concepts in bacterial second messenger signaling and has motivated the search for previously unknown bacterial signaling molecules such as the recently discovered c-di-AMP and c-GMP-AMP.

The goal of this Priority Programme is to establish the first systematic and comprehensive strategy ever to understand all fundamental aspects of second messenger signaling in bacteria at the molecular level. Biosynthesis, turnover and functions of c-di-GMP, the "classics" cAMP and ppGpp, as well as "newcomers" such as c-di-AMP will be studied from molecular, cellular, physiological, systems-level and ecological perspectives.

Projects to be funded should address the following aspects:
- sensory input into second messenger signaling
- specific functions and "local" signaling of second messenger-producing and degrading enzymes in bacterial species that have multiples of these enzymes
- second messenger effector mechanisms and molecular targets
- novel physiological and ecological contexts as well as evolutionary aspects reflected in the molecular biology of second messenger signaling

Ideally, more than one of these aspects are covered in the proposed projects. Achieving the goals of this Priority Programme requires an interdisciplinary cooperation of researchers in bacterial genetics and genomics, biochemistry, structural biology as well as analytic and synthetic organic chemistry. To further promote collaboration and conceptual coherence of the programme, the projects included have to comply with the following criteria:
- genome sequences and genetic methods must be available for the organisms studied
- projects studying pathogenic or symbiotic relationships must focus on molecular processes on the bacterial side and not on putative host reactions
- solving structures of second messenger-related proteins has to be embedded in functional analyses

Proposals should be submitted no later than 30 October 2015 in English via elan. Please follow the guidelines for project submission according to the forms 50.05 and 54.01 (German/English).

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme's coordinator:
Professor Dr. Regine Hengge, Institute of Biology/Microbiology, Humboldt-University Berlin, Chausseestraße 117, 10115 Berlin, phone: +49 30 2093-8101, regine.hengge@hu-berlin.de

Further instructions on submitting a proposal are supplied by the DFG:
For scientific matters:
Dr. Andreas Strecker, phone: +49 228 885-2530, andreas.strecker@dfg.de
For administrative matters:
Gisela Albus, phone: +49 228 885-2391, gisela.albus@dfg.de

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