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Open Access Software

FluxMap: A VANTED add-on for the visual exploration of flux distributions in biological networks

Hendrik Rohn1*, Anja Hartmann1, Astrid Junker1, Björn H Junker2 and Falk Schreiber13

Author Affiliations

1 Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Molecular Genetics, Corrensstr. 3, Gatersleben, 06466, Germany

2 Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Physiology and Cell Biology, Corrensstr. 3, Gatersleben, 06466, Germany

3 Institute of Computer Science, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Von-Seckendorff-Platz 1, Halle, 06120, Germany

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BMC Systems Biology 2012, 6:33  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-6-33

Published: 1 May 2012

Abstract

Background

The quantification of metabolic fluxes is gaining increasing importance in the analysis of the metabolic behavior of biological systems such as organisms, tissues or cells. Various methodologies (wetlab or drylab) result in sets of fluxes which require an appropriate visualization for interpretation by scientists. The visualization of flux distributions is a necessary prerequisite for intuitive flux data exploration in the context of metabolic networks.

Results

We present FluxMap, a tool for the advanced visualization and exploration of flux data in the context of metabolic networks. The template-based flux data import assigns flux values and optional quality parameters (e. g. the confidence interval) to biochemical reactions. It supports the discrimination between mass and substance fluxes, such as C- or N-fluxes. After import, flux data mapping and network-based visualization allow the interactive exploration of the dataset. Various visualization options enable the user to adapt layout and network representation according to individual purposes.

Conclusions

The Vanted add-on FluxMap comprises a comprehensive set of functionalities for visualization and advanced visual exploration of flux distributions in biological networks. It is available as a Java open source tool from http://www.vanted.org/fluxmap.