Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Martínez V., Saa P., Jooste J., Tiwari K., Quek L.E., Nielsen L. (2022)

The topology of genome-scale metabolic reconstructions unravels independent modules and high network flexibility

Revista : PLOS Computational Biology
Volumen : 18
Número : 6
Páginas : e1010203
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The topology of metabolic networks is recognizably modular with modules weakly connected apart from sharing a pool of currency metabolites. Here, we defined modules as sets of reversible reactions isolated from the rest of metabolism by irreversible reactions except for the exchange of currency metabolites. Our approach identifies topologically independent modules under specific conditions associated with different metabolic functions. As case studies, the E.coli iJO1366 and Human Recon 2.2 genome-scale metabolic models were split in 103 and 321 modules respectively, displaying significant correlation patterns in expression data. Finally, we addressed a fundamental question about the metabolic flexibility conferred by reversible reactions: “Of all Directed Topologies (DTs) defined by fixing directions to all reversible reactions, how many are capable of carrying flux through all reactions?”. Enumeration of the DTs for iJO1366 model was performed using an efficient depth-first search algorithm, rejecting infeasible DTs based on mass-imbalanced and loopy flux patterns. We found the direction of 79% of reversible reactions must be defined before all directions in the network can be fixed, granting a high degree of flexibility.