Subcellular metabolic organization in the context of dynamic energy budget and biochemical systems theories

S. Vinga, A.S. Neves, H. Santos, B.W. Brandt, S.A.L.M. Kooijman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The dynamic modelling of metabolic networks aims to describe the temporal evolution of metabolite concentrations in cells. This area has attracted increasing attention in recent years owing to the availability of high-throughput data and the general development of systems biology as a promising approach to study living organisms. Biochemical Systems Theory (BST) provides an accurate formalism to describe biological dynamic phenomena. However, knowledge about the molecular organization level, used in these models, is not enough to explain phenomena such as the driving forces of these metabolic networks. Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory captures the quantitative aspects of the organization of metabolism at the organism level in a way that is nonspecies- specific. This imposes constraints on the sub-organismal organization that are not present in the bottom-up approach of systems biology. We use in vivo data of lactic acid bacteria under various conditions to compare some aspects of BST and DEB approaches. Due to the large number of parameters to be estimated in the BST model, we applied powerful parameter identification techniques. Both models fitted equally well, but the BST model employs more parameters. The DEB model uses similarities of processes under growth and no-growth conditions and under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, which reduce the number of parameters. This paper discusses some future directions for the integration of knowledge from these two rich and promising areas, working top-down and bottom-up simultaneously. This middle-out approach is expected to bring new ideas and insights to both areas in terms of describing how living organisms operate. © 2010 The Royal Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3429-3442
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences
Issue number1557
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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