Metabolic pathways are a central paradigm in biology. Historically, they have been defined on the basis of their step-by-step discovery. However, the genome-scale metabolic networks now being reconstructed from annotation of genome sequences demand new network-based definitions of pathways to facilitate analysis of their capabilities and functions, such as metabolic versatility and robustness, and optimal growth rates. This demand has led to the development of a new mathematically based analysis of complex, metabolic networks that enumerates all their unique pathways that take into account all requirements for cofactors and byproducts. Applications include the design of engineered biological systems, the generation of testable hypotheses regarding network structure and function, and the elucidation of properties that can not be described by simple descriptions of individual components (such as product yield, network robustness, correlated reactions and predictions of minimal media). Recently, these properties have also been studied in genome-scale networks. Thus, network-based pathways are emerging as an important paradigm for analysis of biological systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology