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Sep 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 16)

Metabolic Profiling Crucial to Unveiling Cellular Complexity

Ability to Dynamically Integrate Intracellular Networks Emerging as Principal Benefit

  • Fluxomics

    Fluxomics is increasingly being shaped as an instrumental tool allowing metabolic phenotypes to be characterized. To address several challenges during 13C-based metabolic flux analyses, Jens O. Krömer, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland, and collaborators recently implemented OpenFLUX, as an open-source software allowing investigators to design and interpret metabolic flux studies and circumvent the shortcomings that accompany currently existing approaches. 

    “The most important application of this tool is in metabolic engineering, where we strongly rely on target identification and need to understand where the bottlenecks are in the network,” says Dr. Krömer. “We also use OpenFLUX to better characterize the metabolism of pathogenic protozoa, ultimately supporting drug development, and this represents a more challenging approach,” he adds.

    For applications as diverse as biomarker discovery, drug development, plant engineering, and biofuel production, metabolic profiling promises to substantially impact our ability to characterize cellular processes in their true complexity.

    Irrespective of the specific topic, this approach increasingly illustrates how the most complete characterization of biological processes does not emerge simply from a survey of their components, but from understanding their dynamic interplay and the response to perturbations under several distinct conditions.

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