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Plant Physiol. 2004 Oct;136(2):3043-57. Epub 2004 Oct 1.

Quantification of compartmented metabolic fluxes in developing soybean embryos by employing biosynthetically directed fractional (13)C labeling, two-dimensional [(13)C, (1)H] nuclear magnetic resonance, and comprehensive isotopomer balancing.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering , Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.

Erratum in

  • Plant Physiol. 2006 Dec;142(4):1771.


Metabolic flux quantification in plants is instrumental in the detailed understanding of metabolism but is difficult to perform on a systemic level. Toward this aim, we report the development and application of a computer-aided metabolic flux analysis tool that enables the concurrent evaluation of fluxes in several primary metabolic pathways. Labeling experiments were performed by feeding a mixture of U-(13)C Suc, naturally abundant Suc, and Gln to developing soybean (Glycine max) embryos. Two-dimensional [(13)C, (1)H] NMR spectra of seed storage protein and starch hydrolysates were acquired and yielded a labeling data set consisting of 155 (13)C isotopomer abundances. We developed a computer program to automatically calculate fluxes from this data. This program accepts a user-defined metabolic network model and incorporates recent mathematical advances toward accurate and efficient flux evaluation. Fluxes were calculated and statistical analysis was performed to obtain sds. A high flux was found through the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (19.99 +/- 4.39 micromol d(-1) cotyledon(-1), or 104.2 carbon mol +/- 23.0 carbon mol per 100 carbon mol of Suc uptake). Separate transketolase and transaldolase fluxes could be distinguished in the plastid and the cytosol, and those in the plastid were found to be at least 6-fold higher. The backflux from triose to hexose phosphate was also found to be substantial in the plastid (21.72 +/- 5.00 micromol d(-1) cotyledon(-1), or 113.2 carbon mol +/-26.0 carbon mol per 100 carbon mol of Suc uptake). Forward and backward directions of anaplerotic fluxes could be distinguished. The glyoxylate shunt flux was found to be negligible. Such a generic flux analysis tool can serve as a quantitative tool for metabolic studies and phenotype comparisons and can be extended to other plant systems.

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