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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2005 Jun;8(3):242-8.

Metabolomics, genomics, proteomics, and the identification of enzymes and their substrates and products.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1048, USA.


A large proportion of the genes in any plant genome encode enzymes of primary and specialized (secondary) metabolism. Not all plant primary metabolites, those that are found in all or most species, have been identified. Moreover, only a small portion of the estimated hundreds of thousand specialized metabolites, those found only in restricted lineages, have been studied in any species. The correlative analysis of extensive metabolic profiling and gene expression profiling has proven a powerful approach for the identification of candidate genes and enzymes, particularly those in secondary metabolism. The final characterization of substrates, enzymatic activities, and products requires biochemical analysis, which has been most successful when candidate proteins have homology to other enzymes of known function. The challenges are to identify new types of enzymes and to develop biochemical techniques that are suitable for large-scale analysis.

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