Ab initio prediction of thermodynamically feasible reaction directions from biochemical network stoichiometry.
ABSTRACT Analysis of the stoichiometric structure of metabolic networks provides insights into the relationships between structure, function, and regulation of metabolic systems. Based on knowledge of only reaction stoichiometry, certain aspects of network functionality and robustness can be predicted. Current theories focus on breaking a metabolic network down into non-decomposable pathways able to operate in steady state. The physics underlying these theories is based on mass balance and the laws of thermodynamics. However, due to the inherent nonlinearity of the thermodynamic constraints on metabolic fluxes, computational analysis of large-scale biochemical systems can be expensive. In this study, it is shown how the feasible reaction directions may be determined by either computing the allowable ranges under the mass-balance and thermodynamic constraints or by analyzing the stoichiometric structure of the network. The computed reaction directions translate into a set of linear constraints necessary for thermodynamic feasibility. This set of necessary linear constraints is shown to be sufficient to guarantee feasibility in certain cases, thus translating the nonlinear thermodynamic constraints to linear. We show that for a reaction network of 44 internal reactions representing energy metabolism, the computed linear inequality constraints represent necessary and sufficient conditions for thermodynamic feasibility.
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ABSTRACT: Systems-level analyses of microbial metabolism are facilitated by genome-scale reconstructions of microbial biochemical networks. A reconstruction provides a structured representation of the biochemical transformations occurring within an organism, as well as the genes necessary to carry out these transformations, as determined by the annotated genome sequence and experimental data. Network reconstructions also serve as platforms for constraint-based computational techniques which facilitate biological studies in a variety of applications, including evaluation of network properties, metabolic engineering, and drug discovery. Bottom-up metabolic network reconstructions have been developed for dozens of organisms, but until recently the pace of reconstruction has failed to keep up with advances in genome sequencing. To address this problem, a number of software platforms have been developed to automate parts of the reconstruction process, thereby alleviating much of the manual effort previously required. Here, we review four such platforms in the context of established guidelines for network reconstruction. While many steps of the reconstruction process have been successfully automated, some manual evaluation of the results is still required to ensure a high-quality reconstruction. Widespread adoption of these platforms by the scientific community is underway and will be further enabled by exchangeable formats across platforms.Environmental Microbiology 10/2013; · 6.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Constraint-based models are currently the only methodology that allows the study of metabolism at the whole-genome scale. Flux balance analysis is commonly used to analyse constraint-based models. Curiously, the results of this analysis vary with the software being run, a situation that we show can be remedied by using exact rather than floating-point arithmetic. Here we introduce MONGOOSE, a toolbox for analysing the structure of constraint-based metabolic models in exact arithmetic. We apply MONGOOSE to the analysis of 98 existing metabolic network models and find that the biomass reaction is surprisingly blocked (unable to sustain non-zero flux) in nearly half of them. We propose a principled approach for unblocking these reactions and extend it to the problems of identifying essential and synthetic lethal reactions and minimal media. Our structural insights enable a systematic study of constraint-based metabolic models, yielding a deeper understanding of their possibilities and limitations.Nature Communications 01/2014; 5:4893. · 10.74 Impact Factor
- Biophysical Journal - BIOPHYS J. 01/2007; 3(1):23-23.