|How will bioinformatics influence metabolic engineering?
|Year of Publication
|J.S. Edwards; B.Ø. Palsson
|PLoS Comput Biol
|Ten microbial genomes have been fully sequenced to date, and the sequencing of many more genomes is expected to be completed before the end of the century. The assignment of function to open reading frames (ORFs) is progressing, and for some genomes over 70% of functional assignments have been made. The majority of the assigned ORFs relate to metabolic functions. Thus, the complete genetic and biochemical functions of a number of microbial cells may be soon available. From a metabolic engineering standpoint, these developments open a new realm of possibilities. Metabolic analysis and engineering strategies can now be built on a sound genomic basis. An important question that now arises; how should these tasks be approached? Flux-balance analysis (FBA) has the potential to play an important role. It is based on the fundamental principle of mass conservation. It requires only the stoichiometric matrix, the metabolic demands, and some strain specific parameters. Importantly, no enzymatic kinetic data is required. In this article, we show how the genomically defined microbial metabolic genotypes can be analyzed by FBA. Fundamental concepts of metabolic genotype, metabolic phenotype, metabolic redundancy and robustness are defined and examples of their use given. We discuss the advantage of this approach, and how FBA is expected to find uses in the near future. FBA is likely to become an important analysis tool for genomically based approaches to metabolic engineering, strain design, and development.