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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2011 Aug;22(4):566-75. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2011.04.016. Epub 2011 May 18.

Regulation and control of metabolic fluxes in microbes.

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Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


After about ten years of research renaissance in metabolism, the present challenge is to understand how metabolic fluxes are controlled by a complex interplay of overlapping regulatory mechanisms. Reconstruction of various regulatory network topologies is steaming, illustrating that we underestimated the broad importance of post-translational modifications such as enzyme phosphorylation or acetylation for microbial metabolism. With the growing topological knowledge, the functional relevance of these regulatory events becomes an even more pressing need. A major knowledge gap resides in the regulatory network of protein-metabolite interactions, simply because we lacked pertinent methods for systematic analyses - but a start has now been made. Perhaps most dramatic was the conceptual shift in our perception of metabolism from an engine of cellular operation to a generator of input and feedback signals for regulatory circuits that govern many important decisions on cell proliferation, differentiation, death, and naturally metabolism.

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