Editors' ChoiceCOMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY

Metabolic Networking

Science Signaling  08 May 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 223, pp. ec130
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003193

Understanding complex biological networks, such as those underlying cellular metabolism, requires evaluation not only of the network connections but also of the flux through the various biochemical pathways. Schuetz et al. explored the evolutionary constraints that appear to be most critical for the metabolic network in the bacteria Escherichia coli by using a combination of experimental tests of reaction flux under various conditions, along with mathematical modeling. As a pathway evolves, there are likely to be competing objectives that must be satisfied. Key objectives for the bacterium were strong performance under a given environmental condition, balanced by a requirement for adaptability—minimizing the adjustments required to respond to changed conditions.

R. Schuetz, N. Zamboni, M. Zampieri, M. Heinemann, U. Sauer, Multidimensional optimality of microbial metabolism. Science 336, 601–604 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]