As biological systems tend to expand exponentially in a finite environment, they become - sooner or later - limited in their growth due to a shortage in some essential factor ("nutrient").
The competition for the limiting nutrient will locally drive the selection.
Concept of "essential" nutrient (Metal ions (Zn, Cu, Fe, Se), Inorganic phosphate, selected aminoacids, Vitamins (why eating vitamins is better than producing them by themselves)
Competition is an universal feature of living organisms at any scale (from microscopic to social scale) and for almost any nutrient
Competion take places between different agonists:
- Between species (host/parasite)
- Between members of the same species (war)
- Between organelles (mitochondria, nucleus, cytoplasm, ribosomes)
- Between parts of the same large cell (autophagy)
- Between genes
Competition pattern for essential nutrients
Host against Parasite
Vitamin K in humans is a cofactor of glutamic acid Carboxylases.
As Vitamin K is a respiratory pigment of many aerobial bacteria (it plays the role of Coenzyme Q in respiratory chain) its presence in blood is sign of an infection.
The Thrombin activation by Vitamin K therefore may be a anti infection mechanism, devoted to avoid spreading of the infection into the whole body.
Interaction between vitamin K nutriture and bacterial overgrowth in hypochlorhydria induced by omeprazole 1998
Parasite against Host
The Vitamin K-Dependent Carboxylase Has Been Acquired and Adapted by Leptospira Pathogens with a loss of function but still successfully competing with the host for Vit.K and leading to host depleton of Vit.K. Inhibition of host proteins carboxylation leads to haemorrage.
The Vitamin K-Dependent Carboxylase Has Been Acquired and Adapted by Leptospira Pathogens for a Role Other Than Protein Carboxylation 2005
N-Formylmethionine is a proteinogenic amino acid found in Bacteria and related Prokaryotic organelles. It is a derivative of the amino acid methionine in which a formyl group has been added to the amino group. It is specifically used for initiation of protein synthesis, and may be removed after.
fMet plays a crucial part in the protein synthesis of bacteria, mitochondria and chloroplasts. It is not used in cytosolic protein synthesis of eukaryotes, where eukaryotic nuclear genes are translated. It is also not used by Archaea. In the human body, fMet is recognized by the immune system as foreign material and stimulates the body to fight against potential infection.
A similar effect has N-Formylmethionine leucyl-phenylalanine
Visfatin - PBEF A New Natural Insulin-mimetic Adipokine