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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2007 Jun;10(3):323-30. Epub 2007 May 3.

Fluxomics: mass spectrometry versus quantitative imaging.

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University of Siegen, Paul-Bonatz Strasse 9-11, 57068 Siegen, Germany.


The recent development of analytic high-throughput technologies enables us to take a bird's view of how metabolism is regulated in real time. We have known for a long time that metabolism is highly regulated at all levels, including transcriptional, posttranslational and allosteric controls. Flux through a metabolic or signaling pathway is determined by the activity of its individual components. Fluxomics aims to define the genes involved in regulation by following the flux. Two technologies are used to monitor fluxes. Pulse labeling of the organism or cell with a tracer, such as 13C, followed by mass spectrometric analysis of the partitioning of label into different compounds provides an efficient tool to study flux and to compare the effect of mutations on flux. The second approach is based on the use of flux sensors, proteins that respond with a conformational change to ligand binding. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) detects the conformational change and serves as a proxy for ligand concentration. In contrast to the mass spectrometry assays, FRET nanosensors monitor only a single compound. Both methods provide high time resolution. The major advantages of FRET nanosensors are that they yield data with cellular and subcellular resolution and the method is minimally invasive.

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