Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Theor Biol. 2008 Jun 7;252(3):497-504. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2007.12.008. Epub 2007 Dec 23.

Is maximization of molar yield in metabolic networks favoured by evolution?

Author information

Section of Bioinformatics, Faculty of Biology and Pharmaceutics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Ernst-Abbe-Platz 2, D-07743 Jena, Germany.


Stoichiometric analysis of metabolic networks allows the calculation of possible metabolic flux distributions in the absence of kinetic data. In order to predict which of the possible fluxes are present under certain conditions, additional constraints and optimization principles can be applied. One approach of calculating unknown fluxes (frequently called flux balance analysis) is based on the optimality principle of maximizing the molar yield of biotransformations. Here, the relevance and applicability of that approach are examined, and it is compared with the principle of maximizing pathway flux. We discuss diverse experimental evidence showing that, often, those biochemical pathways are operative that allow fast but low-yield synthesis of important products, such as fermentation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and several other yeast species. Together with arguments based on evolutionary game theory, this leads us to the conclusion that maximization of molar yield is by no means a universal principle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center