Received December 20, 1999
Most prominent among those was Professor Igor S. Kulaev who explored the widespread occurrence of polyP, methodologies for its determination, biosynthetic pathways and a variety of other features of the polymer. His monograph, The Biochemistry of Inorganic Polyphosphates, published 20 years ago  was then, and remains still, the most comprehensive compendium and guide to the field and was most helpful to me when I decided to reenter the polyP field after an absence of nearly forty years.
Our recent studies of the enzymes of polyP synthesis and utilization complement those of Kulaev. As described in a recent review  and papers [3, 4], we find that polyP plays an important regulatory role in bacterial responses to stresses and stringencies, in developmental changes required for survival in stationary phase and in the source of virulence factors employed by some major pathogens . For example, knockout mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that lack polyphosphate kinase (the enzyme that synthesizes polyP from ATP) lack motility, quorum sensing, and biofilm formation and as a result are avirulent in mouse models.
It is a tribute to Prof. I. S. Kulaev that his pioneering efforts during a dark age of polyP science helped keep the field alive for future studies that will surely make the forgotten molecule unforgettable.
1.Kulaev, I. S. (1979) The Biochemistry of
Inorganic Polyphosphates, John Wiley, N. Y.
2.Kornberg, A., Rao, N. N., and Ault-Riche, D. (1999) Annu. Rev. Biochem., 68, 89-125.
3.Tzeng, C.-M., and Kornberg, A. (1998) Mol. Microbiol., 29, 381-382.
4.Rashid, M. H., Rao, N. N., and Kornberg, A. (1999) Inorganic Polyphosphate is Required for Motility of Bacterial Pathogens (in press).