Posted by: shrikantmantri | November 3, 2009

Organising metabolic networks: cycles in flux distributions

via Nature Precedings – Subject feed for Bioinformatics by Jean-Marc Schwartz on 11/2/09


Metabolic networks are among the most widely studied biological systems. The topology and interconnections of metabolic reactions have been well described for many species, but are not sufficient to understand how their activity is regulated in living organisms. The principles directing the dynamic organisation of reaction fluxes remain poorly understood. Cyclic structures are thought to play a central role in the homeostasis of biological systems and in their resilience to a changing environment. In this work, we investigate the role of fluxes of matter cycling in metabolic networks. First, we introduce a methodology for the computation of cyclic and acyclic fluxes in metabolic networks, adapted from an algorithm initially developed to study cyclic fluxes in trophic networks. Subsequently, we apply this methodology to the analysis of three metabolic systems, including the central metabolism of wild type and a deletion mutant of Escherichia coli, erythrocyte metabolism and the central metabolism of the bacterium Methylobacterium extorquens. The role of cycles in driving and maintaining the performance of metabolic functions upon perturbations is unveiled through these examples. This methodology may be used to further investigate the role of cycles in living organisms, their pro-activity and organisational invariance, leading to a better understanding of biological entailment and information processing.

Posted via email from Sharing significant bytes —(Shrikant Mantri)

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