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Nat Biotechnol. 2002 Mar;20(3):243-9.

Metabolic control analysis in drug discovery and disease.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, CeRQT--Parc Científic de Barcelona (PCB), Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, Marti i Franques 1, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08028 Spain.


Metabolic control analysis (MCA) provides a quantitative description of substrate flux in response to changes in system parameters of complex enzyme systems. Medical applications of the approach include the following: understanding the threshold effect in the manifestation of metabolic diseases; investigating the gene dose effect of aneuploidy in inducing phenotypic transformation in cancer; correlating the contributions of individual genes and phenotypic characteristics in metabolic disease (e.g., diabetes); identifying candidate enzymes in pathways suitable as targets for cancer therapy; and elucidating the function of "silent" genes by identifying metabolic features shared with genes of known pathways. MCA complements current studies of genomics and proteomics, providing a link between biochemistry and functional genomics that relates the expression of genes and gene products to cellular biochemical and physiological events. Thus, it is an important tool for the study of genotype-phenotype correlations. It allows genes to be ranked according to their importance in controlling and regulating cellular metabolic networks. We can expect that MCA will have an increasing impact on the choice of targets for intervention in drug discovery.

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