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Metabolism is one of the best recognised networks within biological systems, but our understanding of metabolic regulation has been limited by a failure to consider regulation within the context of the whole network. With recent advances in theoretical aspects of network thinking and a postgenomic landscape in which our ability to quantify molecular changes at a systems level is unsurpassed, the time is ripe for the development of a new level of understanding of the regulation of plant metabolic networks. Theoretical advances such as the formal description of 'scale-free' networks have provided explanations for network behaviour (such as robustness). In parallel, the appreciation of the importance of new levels of the metabolic regulatory hierarchy (such as protein-protein interaction) and the continuing development of global profiling technologies is generating a system-wide molecular data set of increasing resolution. In this review we will argue that the integration of these different aspects of metabolic research will bring about a step change in our understanding of the regulation of metabolic networks in plants.

Original publication




Journal article


New Phytol

Publication Date





9 - 24


Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Plants, Signal Transduction