Article

Mass conservation and inference of metabolic networks from high-throughput mass spectrometry data.

Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Joint Centers for Systems Biology, and Columbia Initiative in Systems Biology, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.
Journal of computational biology: a journal of computational molecular cell biology (Impact Factor: 1.69). 02/2011; 18(2):147-54. DOI: 10.1089/cmb.2010.0222
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We present a step towards the metabolome-wide computational inference of cellular metabolic reaction networks from metabolic profiling data, such as mass spectrometry. The reconstruction is based on identification of irreducible statistical interactions among the metabolite activities using the ARACNE reverse-engineering algorithm and on constraining possible metabolic transformations to satisfy the conservation of mass. The resulting algorithms are validated on synthetic data from an abridged computational model of Escherichia coli metabolism. Precision rates upwards of 50% are routinely observed for identification of full metabolic reactions, and recalls upwards of 20% are also seen.

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    ABSTRACT: The primary focus in the network-centric analysis of cellular metabolism by systems biology approaches is to identify the active metabolic network for the condition of interest. Two major approaches are available for the discovery of the condition-specific metabolic networks. One approach starts from genome-scale metabolic networks, which cover all possible reactions known to occur in the related organism in a condition-independent manner, and applies methods such as the optimization-based Flux-Balance Analysis to elucidate the active network. The other approach starts from the condition-specific metabolome data, and processes the data with statistical or optimization-based methods to extract information content of the data such that the active network is inferred. These approaches, termed bottom-up and top-down, respectively, are currently employed independently. However, considering that both approaches have the same goal, they can both benefit from each other paving the way for the novel integrative analysis methods of metabolome data- and flux-analysis approaches in the post-genomic era. This study reviews the strengths of constraint-based analysis and network inference methods reported in the metabolic systems biology field; then elaborates on the potential paths to reconcile the two approaches to shed better light on how the metabolism functions.
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