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Cyclic di-guanosine monophosphate (di-GMP) is a circular RNA dinucleotide that functions as a second messenger in diverse species of bacteria to trigger wide-ranging physiological changes, including cell differentiation, conversion between motile and biofilm lifestyles, and virulence gene expression. However, the mechanisms by which cyclic di-GMP regulates gene expression have remained a mystery. We found that cyclic di-GMP in many bacterial species is sensed by a riboswitch class in messenger RNA that controls the expression of genes involved in numerous fundamental cellular processes. A variety of cyclic di-GMP regulons are revealed, including some riboswitches associated with virulence gene expression, pilus formation, and flagellum biosynthesis. In addition, sequences matching the consensus for cyclic di-GMP riboswitches are present in the genome of a bacteriophage.