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• Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. These enzyme-catalyzed
reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. The word metabolism
can also refer to all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and
between different cells, in which case the set of reactions within the cells is called intermediary metabolism or intermediate
• Metabolism is usually divided into two categories. Catabolism, that breaks down organic matter and harvests energy by way of cellular
respiration, and anabolism that uses energy to construct components of cells such as proteins and nucleic acid
• Metabolic profiling (metabolomics) is the measurement in biological systems of low-molecular-weight metabolites and their
intermediates that reflects the dynamic response to genetic modification and physiological, pathophysiological, and/or developmental
• Metabolome refers to the complete set of small-molecule metabolites (such as metabolic intermediates, hormones and other
signaling molecules, and secondary metabolites) to be found within a biological sample, such as a single organism.
• Metabolites are the intermediates and products of metabolism. Within the context of metabolomics, a metabolite is usually defined
as any molecule less than 1 kDa in size. A primary metabolite is directly involved in the normal growth, development, and
reproduction. A secondary metabolite is not directly involved in those processes, but usually has important ecological function.
Examples include antibiotics and pigments. By contrast, in human-based metabolomics, it is more common to describe metabolites as
being either endogenous (produced by the host organism) or exogenous. Metabolites of foreign substances such as drugs are termed
• Each type of cell and tissue has a unique metabolic ‘fingerprint’ that can elucidate organ or tissue-specific information, while the
study of bio-fluids can give more generalized though less specialized information. Commonly used bio-fluids are urine and plasma.
TERMINOLOGY USED IN METABOLOMICS
In their efforts to understand the human body and cure disease, scientists thought knowing all the 20,ooo to 25,000 genes in the genome
would lead to answers. But the genome encodes—as a rough approximation—more than a million proteins, each with a special function.
Even more frustrating, changes to those proteins (from bonding with lipids, carbohydrates, and so on) lead to more than 10
million functionally distinct modified proteins. Compared to unraveling the effects and associations with illness of these numerous
entities, metabolomics has a decisive edge: there are only, at current best guess, about 3,000 to 6,000 metabolites of interest.
“A gene makes transcripts, transcripts make proteins, and proteins (or enzymes) make metabolites.”
Many steps separate a gene from its ultimate expression, perhaps as a disease, but because metabolites are “downstream of
genetic variation, transcriptional changes, and post-translational modifications of proteins,” they capture what is actually
happening in the body: “They are the most proximal reporters of any disease status or phenotype.”
They also capture the environment.
“If you eat some noxious metabolite in your Big Mac,” your blood will reflect that. Genes won’t.
Cellular metabolism is represented by a large number of metabolic
reactions that are involved in the conversion of the carbon source into
building blocks needed for macromolecular biosynthesis.
Furthermore, there are specific reactions that ensure the constant supply
of Gibbs free energy via ATP and redox equivalents (generally in the form of
the cofactor NADPH) needed for biosynthesis of macromolecules.
This large number of metabolic reactions forms a so-called metabolic
network inside the cells, and as a result of reconstruction of the complete
metabolic networks in different bacteria and in the yeast Saccharomyces
cerevisiae, more insight into the function of complete metabolic networks
has been obtained.
These reconstructed metabolic networks can be used for detailed studies
of metabolic functions and the effect of gene deletions.
• Metabolic Flux is defined as ‘the rate of passage of
material, or of a specified substance or molecular
fragment, through a given metabolic pathway’
• Flux, or metabolic flux is the rate of turnover of
molecules through a metabolic pathway. Flux is
regulated by the enzymes involved in a pathway.
Within cells, regulation of flux is vital for all
metabolic pathways to regulate the metabolic
pathway's activity under different conditions.
• From the pathway given in the figure, we can
measure the uptake rates of glucose, the production
rates of carbon dioxide, acetate, ethanol, glycerol,
pyruvate, succinate etc. and the rate of synthesis of
the key macromolecular pools, i.e. DNA, RNA,
protein and lipids and carbohydrates.
• Unit of flux is – mmoles/g/h
• Why study metabolic flux?
METABOLIC FLUX ANALYSIS WITH 13-C LABELLING EXPERIMENTS
To deeply understand the cells' metabolism is indispensable when aiming
at an increased productivity under industrially relevant conditions by
targeted genetic manipulation. In 13-C labelling, a defined 13C-labeled
substrate is incorporated into the carbon backbone of a wide range of
metabolites, the metabolome, either through exchange or by synthesis.
The distribution of labeled carbon traversing along metabolic pathways
generates a characteristic imprint of labeling patterns whose mass
signature is observed by mass spectrometry (MS).
Generating and improving insights into metabolic pathway activity by
comparing flux phenotypes under different environmental conditions and
physiological states as well as for a variety of carbon sources. Eg. Strains
used in bioremediation
Metabolic engineering targets:
Identifying pathway bottlenecks in order to maximize metabolite synthesis.
This, in turn, can help to derive decisive hypotheses for promising gen
Gene function manipulations can be verified on metabolome and fluxome
Metabolic engineering is the practice of optimizing genetic and regulatory processes within cells to increase the cells'
production of a certain substance. These processes are chemical networks that use a series of biochemical reactions and
enzymes that allow cells to convert raw materials into molecules necessary for the cell’s survival. Metabolic engineering
specifically seeks to mathematically model these networks, calculate a yield of useful products, and pin point parts of the
network that constrain the production of these products. Genetic engineering techniques can then be used to modify the
network in order to relieve these constraints. Once again this modified network can be modeled to calculate the new
The ultimate goal of metabolic engineering is to be able to use these organisms to produce valuable substances on an
industrial scale in a cost effective manner. Current examples include producing beer, wine, cheese, pharmaceuticals, and
other biotechnology products.
The quantitative analysis of the metabolism can be done through concerted analysis of experimental data during
fermentation and theoretical calculation using techniques such as Metabolic Flux Analysis (MFA), Metabolic Control Analysis
The redesigned optimal metabolic pathways are implemented into certain microorganism to obtain maximum productivity
through appropriate recombinant DNA technologies.
Successful metabolic engineering starts with a careful analysis of cellular function; based on the results of this analysis, an
improved strain is designed and subsequently constructed by genetic engineering. In recent years some very powerful tools
have been developed, both for analysing cellular function and for introducing directed genetic changes.
Metabolic engineering aims at
expanding the metabolic
capabilities of bacteria to
metabolites in a sustainable,
green, and cost-effective
fashion. To achieve industry-
level biosynthesis of these
chemicals, the research theme
is divided into three steps:
First, artificial metabolic
pathways are designed;
Second, protein evolution is
performed to construct and
optimize the designed
Third, metabolic flux is driven
to the production of target
POLYKETIDE SYNTHESIS BY METABOLIC ENGINEERING
Polyketides are a class of secondary metabolites produced by almost all living organisms. These are structurally complex
organic compounds that are often highly active biologically. Many pharmaceuticals are derived from or inspired by
polyketides. Polyketide antibiotics, antifungals, cytostatics, anticholesteremic, antiparasitics, coccidiostats, animal
growth promoters and natural insecticides are in commercial use
Three elements came together during the past year to provide the opportunity to generate new polyketides.
• The first was the availability of cloned genes for several metabolic pathways;
• The second was a genetically defined host strain able to support the production of polyketides;
• The third was the ability to modify specific genes and recombine genes from different pathways using recombinant DNA
• These tools culminated in the rational design of new molecules and the biosynthesis of large numbers of new molecules
using combinatorial biology.
ERYTHROMYCIN AFLATOXIN B1 DOXYCYCLINE (TETRACYCLINE)