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Metabolites. 2012 Sep 12;2(3):614-31. doi: 10.3390/metabo2030614.

What mRNA Abundances Can Tell us about Metabolism.

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Institute for Biochemistry, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, Berlin 10117, Germany.


Inferring decreased or increased metabolic functions from transcript profiles is at first sight a bold and speculative attempt because of the functional layers in between: proteins, enzymatic activities, and reaction fluxes. However, the growing interest in this field can easily be explained by two facts: the high quality of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions and the highly developed technology to obtain genome-covering RNA profiles. Here, an overview of important algorithmic approaches is given by means of criteria by which published procedures can be classified. The frontiers of the methods are sketched and critical voices are being heard. Finally, an outlook for the prospects of the field is given.

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