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High-throughput interaction screens illuminate the role of c-di-AMP in cyanobacterial nighttime survival


The broadly conserved signaling nucleotide cyclic di-adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) is essential for viability in most bacteria where it has been studied. However, characterization of the cellular functions and metabolism of c-di-AMP has largely been confined to the class Bacilli, limiting our functional understanding of the molecule among diverse phyla. We identified the cyclase responsible for c-di-AMP synthesis and characterized the molecule's role in survival of darkness in the model photosynthetic cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942. In addition to the use of traditional genetic, biochemical, and proteomic approaches, we developed a high-throughput genetic interaction screen (IRB-Seq) to determine pathways where the signaling nucleotide is active. We found that in S. elongatus c-di-AMP is produced by an enzyme of the diadenylate cyclase family, CdaA, which was previously unexplored experimentally. A cdaA-null mutant experiences increased oxidative stress and death during the nighttime portion of day-night cycles, in which potassium transport is implicated. These findings suggest that c-di-AMP is biologically active in cyanobacteria and has non-canonical roles in the phylum including oxidative stress management and day-night survival. The pipeline and analysis tools for IRB-Seq developed for this study constitute a quantitative high-throughput approach for studying genetic interactions.

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