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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Mechanistic analysis of multi-omics datasets to generate kinetic parameters for constraint-based metabolic models

Cameron Cotten12 and Jennifer L Reed12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

2 DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Dr, Madison, WI 53706, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2013, 14:32  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-32

Published: 30 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Constraint-based modeling uses mass balances, flux capacity, and reaction directionality constraints to predict fluxes through metabolism. Although transcriptional regulation and thermodynamic constraints have been integrated into constraint-based modeling, kinetic rate laws have not been extensively used.

Results

In this study, an in vivo kinetic parameter estimation problem was formulated and solved using multi-omic data sets for Escherichia coli. To narrow the confidence intervals for kinetic parameters, a series of kinetic model simplifications were made, resulting in fewer kinetic parameters than the full kinetic model. These new parameter values are able to account for flux and concentration data from 20 different experimental conditions used in our training dataset. Concentration estimates from the simplified kinetic model were within one standard deviation for 92.7% of the 790 experimental measurements in the training set. Gibbs free energy changes of reaction were calculated to identify reactions that were often operating close to or far from equilibrium. In addition, enzymes whose activities were positively or negatively influenced by metabolite concentrations were also identified. The kinetic model was then used to calculate the maximum and minimum possible flux values for individual reactions from independent metabolite and enzyme concentration data that were not used to estimate parameter values. Incorporating these kinetically-derived flux limits into the constraint-based metabolic model improved predictions for uptake and secretion rates and intracellular fluxes in constraint-based models of central metabolism.

Conclusions

This study has produced a method for in vivo kinetic parameter estimation and identified strategies and outcomes of kinetic model simplification. We also have illustrated how kinetic constraints can be used to improve constraint-based model predictions for intracellular fluxes and biomass yield and identify potential metabolic limitations through the integrated analysis of multi-omics datasets.

Keywords:
Metabolic engineering; Kinetics; Central metabolism; Constraint-based; FBA