Systems analysis of metabolic phenotypes: what have we learnt?
Sweetlove LJ., Obata T., Fernie AR.
Flux is one of the most informative measures of metabolic behavior. Its estimation requires integration of experimental and modeling approaches and, thus, is at the heart of metabolic systems biology. In this review, we argue that flux analysis and modeling of a range of plant systems points to the importance of the supply of metabolic inputs and demand for metabolic end-products as key drivers of metabolic behavior. This has implications for metabolic engineering, and the use of in silico models will be important to help design more effective engineering strategies. We also consider the importance of cell type-specific metabolism and the challenges of characterizing metabolism at this resolution. A combination of new measurement technologies and modeling approaches is bringing us closer to integrating metabolic behavior with whole-plant physiology and growth.