DOI: 10.1101/462556Nov 5, 2018Paper

Inferring biochemical reactions and metabolite structures to cope with metabolic pathway drift

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. BelcourGabriel Markov


Inferring genome-scale metabolic networks in emerging model organisms is challenging because of incomplete biochemical knowledge and incomplete conservation of biochemical pathways during evolution. This limits the possibility to automatically transfer knowledge from well-established model organisms. Therefore, specific bioinformatic tools are necessary to infer new biochemical reactions and new metabolic structures that can be checked experimentally. Using an integrative approach combining both genomic and metabolomic data in the red algal model Chondrus crispus, we show that, even metabolic pathways considered as conserved, like sterol or mycosporine-like amino acids (MAA) synthesis pathways, undergo substantial turnover. This phenomenon, which we formally define as \"metabolic pathway drift\", is consistent with findings from other areas of evolutionary biology, indicating that a given phenotype can be conserved even if the underlying molecular mechanisms are changing. We present a proof of concept with a new methodological approach to formalize the logical reasoning necessary to infer new reactions and new molecular structures, based on previous biochemical knowledge. We use this approach to infer previously unknown reactio...Continue Reading

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