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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2007 Jun 15;97(3):622-37.

Investigation of metabolic objectives in cultured hepatocytes.

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Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.


Using optimization based methods to predict fluxes in metabolic flux balance models has been a successful approach for some microorganisms, enabling construction of in silico models and even inference of some regulatory motifs. However, this success has not been translated to mammalian cells. The lack of knowledge about metabolic objectives in mammalian cells is a major obstacle that prevents utilization of various metabolic engineering tools and methods for tissue engineering and biomedical purposes. In this work, we investigate and identify possible metabolic objectives for hepatocytes cultured in vitro. To achieve this goal, we present a special data-mining procedure for identifying metabolic objective functions in mammalian cells. This multi-level optimization based algorithm enables identifying the major fluxes in the metabolic objective from MFA data in the absence of information about critical active constraints of the system. Further, once the objective is determined, active flux constraints can also be identified and analyzed. This information can be potentially used in a predictive manner to improve cell culture results or clinical metabolic outcomes. As a result of the application of this method, it was found that in vitro cultured hepatocytes maximize oxygen uptake, coupling of urea and TCA cycles, and synthesis of serine and urea. Selection of these fluxes as the metabolic objective enables accurate prediction of the flux distribution in the system given a limited amount of flux data; thus presenting a workable in silico model for cultured hepatocytes. It is observed that an overall homeostasis picture is also emergent in the findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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