Send to

Choose Destination
J R Soc Interface. 2017 Nov;14(136). pii: 20170502. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2017.0502.

Mathematical modelling of microbes: metabolism, gene expression and growth.

Author information

University Grenoble-Alpes, Inria, Grenoble, France
University Côte d'Azur, Inria, INRA, CNRS, UPMC University Paris 06, BIOCORE team, Sophia-Antipolis, France.
University Grenoble-Alpes, Inria, Grenoble, France.
University Grenoble-Alpes, CNRS, LIPhy, Grenoble, France.


The growth of microorganisms involves the conversion of nutrients in the environment into biomass, mostly proteins and other macromolecules. This conversion is accomplished by networks of biochemical reactions cutting across cellular functions, such as metabolism, gene expression, transport and signalling. Mathematical modelling is a powerful tool for gaining an understanding of the functioning of this large and complex system and the role played by individual constituents and mechanisms. This requires models of microbial growth that provide an integrated view of the reaction networks and bridge the scale from individual reactions to the growth of a population. In this review, we derive a general framework for the kinetic modelling of microbial growth from basic hypotheses about the underlying reaction systems. Moreover, we show that several families of approximate models presented in the literature, notably flux balance models and coarse-grained whole-cell models, can be derived with the help of additional simplifying hypotheses. This perspective clearly brings out how apparently quite different modelling approaches are related on a deeper level, and suggests directions for further research.


mathematical modelling; metabolic and gene regulatory networks; microbial growth; systems biology

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center