### Abstract

Results: In this paper, we introduce a computational method, ReTrace, for finding biochemically relevant, branching metabolic pathways in an atom-level representation of metabolic networks. The method finds compact pathways which transfer a high fraction of atoms from source to target metabolites by considering combinations of linear shortest paths. In contrast to current steady-state pathway analysis methods, our method scales up well and is able to operate on genome-scale models. Further, we show that the pathways produced are biochemically meaningful by an example involving the biosynthesis of inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP). In particular, the method is able to avoid typical problems associated with graph-theoretic approaches such as the need to define side metabolites or pathways not carrying any net carbon flux appearing in results. Finally, we discuss an application involving reconstruction of amino acid pathways of a recently sequenced organism demonstrating how measurement data can be easily incorporated into ReTrace analysis. ReTrace is licensed under GPL and is freely available for academic use at http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/group/sysfys/software/retrace/.

Conclusion: ReTrace is a useful method in metabolic path finding tasks, combining some of the best aspects in constraint-based and graph-theoretic methods. It finds use in a multitude of tasks ranging from metabolic engineering to metabolic reconstruction of recently sequenced organisms.

Original language | English |
---|---|

Journal | BMC Systems Biology |

Volume | 3 |

Issue number | 103 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - 2009 |

MoE publication type | A1 Journal article-refereed |

### Fingerprint

### Keywords

- metabolic modelling
- metabolic networks
- metabolic pathways
- computational methods
- metabolites

### Cite this

*BMC Systems Biology*,

*3*(103). https://doi.org/10.1186/1752-0509-3-103

}

*BMC Systems Biology*, vol. 3, no. 103. https://doi.org/10.1186/1752-0509-3-103

**Inferring branching pathways in genome-scale metabolic networks.** / Pitkänen, E. (Corresponding Author); Jouhten, Paula; Rousu, J.

Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Inferring branching pathways in genome-scale metabolic networks

AU - Pitkänen, E.

AU - Jouhten, Paula

AU - Rousu, J.

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - Background: A central problem in computational metabolic modelling is how to find biochemically plausible pathways between metabolites in a metabolic network. Two general, complementary frameworks have been utilized to find metabolic pathways: constraint-based modelling and graph-theoretical path finding approaches. In constraint-based modelling, one aims to find pathways where metabolites are balanced in a pseudo steady-state. Constraint-based methods, such as elementary flux mode analysis, have typically a high computational cost stemming from a large number of steady-state pathways in a typical metabolic network. On the other hand, graph-theoretical approaches avoid the computational complexity of constraint-based methods by solving a simpler problem of finding shortest paths. However, while scaling well with network size, graph-theoretic methods generally tend to return more false positive pathways than constraint-based methods.Results: In this paper, we introduce a computational method, ReTrace, for finding biochemically relevant, branching metabolic pathways in an atom-level representation of metabolic networks. The method finds compact pathways which transfer a high fraction of atoms from source to target metabolites by considering combinations of linear shortest paths. In contrast to current steady-state pathway analysis methods, our method scales up well and is able to operate on genome-scale models. Further, we show that the pathways produced are biochemically meaningful by an example involving the biosynthesis of inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP). In particular, the method is able to avoid typical problems associated with graph-theoretic approaches such as the need to define side metabolites or pathways not carrying any net carbon flux appearing in results. Finally, we discuss an application involving reconstruction of amino acid pathways of a recently sequenced organism demonstrating how measurement data can be easily incorporated into ReTrace analysis. ReTrace is licensed under GPL and is freely available for academic use at http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/group/sysfys/software/retrace/.Conclusion: ReTrace is a useful method in metabolic path finding tasks, combining some of the best aspects in constraint-based and graph-theoretic methods. It finds use in a multitude of tasks ranging from metabolic engineering to metabolic reconstruction of recently sequenced organisms.

AB - Background: A central problem in computational metabolic modelling is how to find biochemically plausible pathways between metabolites in a metabolic network. Two general, complementary frameworks have been utilized to find metabolic pathways: constraint-based modelling and graph-theoretical path finding approaches. In constraint-based modelling, one aims to find pathways where metabolites are balanced in a pseudo steady-state. Constraint-based methods, such as elementary flux mode analysis, have typically a high computational cost stemming from a large number of steady-state pathways in a typical metabolic network. On the other hand, graph-theoretical approaches avoid the computational complexity of constraint-based methods by solving a simpler problem of finding shortest paths. However, while scaling well with network size, graph-theoretic methods generally tend to return more false positive pathways than constraint-based methods.Results: In this paper, we introduce a computational method, ReTrace, for finding biochemically relevant, branching metabolic pathways in an atom-level representation of metabolic networks. The method finds compact pathways which transfer a high fraction of atoms from source to target metabolites by considering combinations of linear shortest paths. In contrast to current steady-state pathway analysis methods, our method scales up well and is able to operate on genome-scale models. Further, we show that the pathways produced are biochemically meaningful by an example involving the biosynthesis of inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP). In particular, the method is able to avoid typical problems associated with graph-theoretic approaches such as the need to define side metabolites or pathways not carrying any net carbon flux appearing in results. Finally, we discuss an application involving reconstruction of amino acid pathways of a recently sequenced organism demonstrating how measurement data can be easily incorporated into ReTrace analysis. ReTrace is licensed under GPL and is freely available for academic use at http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/group/sysfys/software/retrace/.Conclusion: ReTrace is a useful method in metabolic path finding tasks, combining some of the best aspects in constraint-based and graph-theoretic methods. It finds use in a multitude of tasks ranging from metabolic engineering to metabolic reconstruction of recently sequenced organisms.

KW - metabolic modelling

KW - metabolic networks

KW - metabolic pathways

KW - computational methods

KW - metabolites

U2 - 10.1186/1752-0509-3-103

DO - 10.1186/1752-0509-3-103

M3 - Article

VL - 3

JO - BMC Systems Biology

JF - BMC Systems Biology

SN - 1752-0509

IS - 103

ER -