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PLoS One. 2013 Dec 5;8(12):e81322. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081322. eCollection 2013.

BioMog: a computational framework for the de novo generation or modification of essential biomass components.

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Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.


The success of genome-scale metabolic modeling is contingent on a model's ability to accurately predict growth and metabolic behaviors. To date, little focus has been directed towards developing systematic methods of proposing, modifying and interrogating an organism's biomass requirements that are used in constraint-based models. To address this gap, the biomass modification and generation (BioMog) framework was created and used to generate lists of biomass components de novo, as well as to modify predefined biomass component lists, for models of Escherichia coli (iJO1366) and of Shewanella oneidensis (iSO783) from high-throughput growth phenotype and fitness datasets. BioMog's de novo biomass component lists included, either implicitly or explicitly, up to seventy percent of the components included in the predefined biomass equations, and the resulting de novo biomass equations outperformed the predefined biomass equations at qualitatively predicting mutant growth phenotypes by up to five percent. Additionally, the BioMog procedure can quantify how many experiments support or refute a particular metabolite's essentiality to a cell, and it facilitates the determination of inconsistent experiments and inaccurate reaction and/or gene to reaction associations. To further interrogate metabolite essentiality, the BioMog framework includes an experiment generation algorithm that allows for the design of experiments to test whether a metabolite is essential. Using BioMog, we correct experimental results relating to the essentiality of thyA gene in E. coli, as well as perform knockout experiments supporting the essentiality of protoheme. With these capabilities, BioMog can be a valuable resource for analyzing growth phenotyping data and component of a model developer's toolbox.

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