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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 47 | 30. Juni 2015
Priority Programme "Nucleotide Second Messenger Signaling in Bacteria" (SPP 1879)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established the Priority Programme “Nucleotide Second Messenger Signaling in Bacteria” (SPP 1879) which is intended to run for six years. 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 must be submitted in English via the DFG’s electronic submission system “elan” selecting “SPP 1879”. If you are using the “elan” system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional addresses before being able to submit a proposal. Also, if you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a Temporary Position for Principal Investigators) you need to register the new institutional address beforehand. Please make sure that all applicants of your project (in case there is more than one) start their registration at the latest two weeks before the submission deadline. The registration requests are handled manually by DFG staff.

Please notice the rules for publication lists that have been modified: Beside the general bibliography every proposal should include a list of up to ten publications that relate directly to the project. Further, the number of publications that may be listed in any academic CV has been increased to up to ten as well. These publications need to be classified as a) refereed publications (published articles and monographs; accepted articles with note of acceptance by the journal) or b) other publications.

Proposals should be submitted no later than 30 October 2015. Please follow the guidelines for project submission according to the forms 50.05 and 54.01 (German/English). Proposals are currently planned to be evaluated in the course of a colloquium with talks and poster presentations on 17 and 18 February 2016 in Bonn. Principal investigators will receive formal invitations in due course.

Further information

The DFG’s electronic portal “elan” can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in the DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01, which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme’s coordinator:

Further instructions on submitting a proposal are supplied by the DFG:

For scientific matters:

For administrative matters: