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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 42 | 18. Juli 2018
Priority Programme “Nucleotide Second Messenger Signaling in Bacteria” (SPP 1879)

In July 2016, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Nucleotide Second Messenger Signaling in Bacteria” (SPP 1879). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second 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, which controls bacterial biofilm formation, cell cycle progression, development and virulence. Research on c-di-GMP has led to entirely new concepts of bacterial second messenger signaling and has sparked intense interest in additional more recently identified second messengers such as c-di-AMP and c-GMP-AMP.

This Priority Programme represents the first systematic and comprehensive strategy ever to understand all fundamental aspects of nucleotide-based 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 and others are being 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 research 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 written in English and submitted to the DFG by 29 October 2018. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system.

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 22 October 2018 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 1879” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal. In addition to submitting your proposal via elan, please send an electronic copy to the programme coordinator.

The review colloquium for the Priority Programme will be held in January 2019 in Bonn.

Further Information

More information on the Priority Programme is available under:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:


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