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My humble suggestions:
Methylglyoxal synthesis - E. coli and other bacteria as well as eukaryotes produce methylglyoxal, quite toxic metabolic product that kills bacteria as they produce that inside the cell. If many bacteria are producing it, it should give some advantage, especially if it is toxic in a bit larger amounts. However, nobody knows why it is useful, although some hints have emerged.
Stringent response - pleiotropic widespread bacterial specific process intensively studied for 50 years, stops growth and protein synthesis of bacteria, almost instantly. However, stopping of translation can not be so fast based on the effects on the inhibition of stable RNA synthesis (hallmark of stringent response).
Glycogen production - although it seems plain and simple, every article I've read on the production of glycogen starts with a quite surprising statement that it is not clear why bacteria produce it.
Your suggestions are most perceptive. They span several seemingly unrelated areas, which makes them particulalry valuable. I would rank them high on the list
Posted by: Vallo Varik | June 10, 2009 at 03:34 AM