Mapping network analysis in cells and tissues can provide insights into metabolic adaptations to changes in external environment, pathological conditions, and nutrient deprivation. Here, we reconstructed a genome-scale metabolic network of the rat liver that will allow for exploration of systems-level physiology. The resulting in silico model (iRatLiver) contains 1,882 reactions, 1,448 metabolites, and 994 metabolic genes. We then used this model to characterize the response of the liver’s energy metabolism to a controlled perturbation in diet. Transcriptomics data were collected from the livers of Sprague Dawley rats at 4 or 14 days of being subjected to 15%, 30%, or 60% diet restriction. These data were integrated with the iRatLiver model to generate condition-specific metabolic models, allowing us to explore network differences under each condition. We observed different pathway usage between early and late time points. Network analysis identified several highly connected “hub” genes (Pklr, Hadha, Tkt, Pgm1, Tpi1, and Eno3) that showed differing trends between early and late time points. Taken together, our results suggest that the liver’s response varied with short- and long-term diet restriction. More broadly, we anticipate that the iRatLiver model can be exploited further to study metabolic changes in the liver under other conditions such as drug treatment, infection, and disease.
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