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Cyclic (c-di-GMP) is the prevalent intracellular signaling intermediate in bacteria. It triggers a spectrum of responses that cause bacteria to shift from a swarming motile phase to sessile biofilm formation. However, additional functions for c-di-GMP and roles for related molecules, such as c-di-AMP and c-AMP-GMP continue to be uncovered. The first usage of cyclic-di-nucleotide (c-di-NMP) signaling in the eukaryote domain emerged only recently. In dictyostelid social amoebas, c-di-GMP is a secreted signal that induces motile amoebas to differentiate into sessile stalk cells. In humans, c-di-NMPs, which are either produced endogenously in response to foreign DNA or by invading bacterial pathogens, trigger the innate immune system by activating the expression of interferon genes. STING, the human c-di-NMP receptor, is conserved throughout metazoa and their closest unicellular relatives, suggesting protist origins for human c-di-NMP signaling. Compared to the limited number of conserved protein domains that detect the second messengers cAMP and cGMP, the domains that detect the c-di-NMPs are surprisingly varied. © 2013 IUBMB Life, 65(11):897-903, 2013.