Algorithmic approaches for computing elementary modes in large biochemical reaction networks.
ABSTRACT The concept of elementary (flux) modes provides a rigorous description of pathways in metabolic networks and proved to be valuable in a number of applications. However, the computation of elementary modes is a hard computational task that gave rise to several variants of algorithms during the last years. This work brings substantial progresses to this issue. The authors start with a brief review of results obtained from previous work regarding (a) a unified framework for elementary-mode computation, (b) network compression and redundancy removal and (c) the binary approach by which elementary modes are determined as binary patterns reducing the memory demand drastically without loss of speed. Then the authors will address herein further issues. First, a new way to perform the elementarity tests required during the computation of elementary modes which empirically improves significantly the computation time in large networks is proposed. Second, a method to compute only those elementary modes where certain reactions are involved is derived. Relying on this method, a promising approach for computing EMs in a completely distributed manner by decomposing the full problem in arbitrarity many sub-tasks is presented. The new methods have been implemented in the freely available software tools FluxAnalyzer and Metatool and benchmark tests in realistic networks emphasise the potential of our proposed algorithms.
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ABSTRACT: Analysis of elementary modes (EMs) is proven to be a powerful constraint-based method in the study of metabolic networks. However, enumeration of EMs is a hard computational task. Additionally, due to their large number, EMs cannot be simply used as an input for subsequent analysis. One possibility is to limit the analysis to a subset of interesting reactions. However, analysing an isolated subnetwork can result in finding incorrect EMs which are not part of any steady-state flux distribution of the original network. The ideal set to describe the reaction activity in a subnetwork would be the set of all EMs projected to the reactions of interest. Recently, the concept of "elementary flux patterns" (EFPs) has been proposed. Each EFP is a subset of the support (i.e., non-zero elements) of at least one EM. We introduce the concept of ProCEMs (Projected Cone Elementary Modes). The ProCEM set can be computed by projecting the flux cone onto a lower-dimensional subspace and enumerating the extreme rays of the projected cone. In contrast to EFPs, ProCEMs are not merely a set of reactions, but projected EMs. We additionally prove that the set of EFPs is included in the set of ProCEM supports. Finally, ProCEMs and EFPs are compared for studying substructures of biological networks. We introduce the concept of ProCEMs and recommend its use for the analysis of substructures of metabolic networks for which the set of EMs cannot be computed.Algorithms for Molecular Biology 05/2012; 7(1):17. · 1.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Elementary flux mode (EFM) analysis allows the unbiased decomposition of a metabolic network into minimal functional units, making it a powerful tool for metabolic engineering. While the use of EFM analysis (EFMA) is still limited by the size of the models it can handle, EFMA has been successfully applied to solve real-world metabolic engineering problems. Here we provide a user-oriented introduction to EFMA, provide examples of recent applications, analyze current research strategies to overcome the computational restrictions and give an overview over current approaches, which aim to identify and calculate only biologically relevant EFMs.Biotechnology Journal 06/2013; · 3.45 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The description of a metabolic network in terms of elementary (flux) modes (EMs) provides an important framework for metabolic pathway analysis. However, their application to large networks has been hampered by the combinatorial explosion in the number of modes. In this work, we develop a method for generating random samples of EMs without computing the whole set. Our algorithm is an adaptation of the canonical basis approach, where we add an additional filtering step which, at each iteration, selects a random subset of the new combinations of modes. In order to obtain an unbiased sample, all candidates are assigned the same probability of getting selected. This approach avoids the exponential growth of the number of modes during computation, thus generating a random sample of the complete set of EMs within reasonable time. We generated samples of different sizes for a metabolic network of Escherichia coli, and observed that they preserve several properties of the full EM set. It is also shown that EM sampling can be used for rational strain design. A well distributed sample, that is representative of the complete set of EMs, should be suitable to most EM-based methods for analysis and optimization of metabolic networks. Source code for a cross-platform implementation in Python is freely available at http://code.google.com/p/emsampler. firstname.lastname@example.org Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.Bioinformatics 09/2012; 28(18):i515-i521. · 5.47 Impact Factor