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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 1999 Apr;10(2):146-50.

Mathematical models of metabolic pathways.

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Institute of Biotechnology, ETH-Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland CH-8093.


There have been recent advances in metabolic flux analysis. In particular, the marriage of traditional flux balancing with NMR isotopomer distribution analysis holds great promise for the detailed quantification of physiology. Nevertheless, flux analysis yields only static snap-shots of metabolism. To robustly predict the time evolution of metabolic networks, dynamic mathematical models, especially those that contain a description of both gene expression as well as enzyme activity, must be utilized. When mechanistic control and regulatory information is not available, heuristic-based methods, such as the cybernetic framework, can be employed to describe the action of these control mechanisms. In the 'high-information' future, as more biological information becomes available, such heuristic-based approaches can be replaced by mechanistic mass-action representations of physiology that stem directly from genetic sequence.

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