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Biotechnol Prog. 2005 Nov-Dec;21(6):1617-26.

Flux balance analysis of photoautotrophic metabolism.

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School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 480 Stadium Mall Dr., West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


Photosynthesis is the principal process responsible for fixation of inorganic carbon dioxide into organic molecules with sunlight as the energy source. Potentially, many chemicals could be inexpensively produced by photosynthetic organisms. Mathematical modeling of photoautotrophic metabolism is therefore important to evaluate maximum theoretical product yields and to deeply understand the interactions between biochemical energy, carbon fixation, and assimilation pathways. Flux balance analysis based on linear programming is applied to photoautotrophic metabolism. The stoichiometric network of a model photosynthetic prokaryote, Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, has been reconstructed from genomic data and biochemical literature and coupled with a model of the photophosphorylation processes. Flux map topologies for the hetero-, auto-, and mixotrophic modes of metabolism under conditions of optimal growth were determined and compared. The roles of important metabolic reactions such as the glyoxylate shunt and the transhydrogenase reaction were analyzed. We also theoretically evaluated the effect of gene deletions or additions on biomass yield and metabolic flux distributions.

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