Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular economics: New computer models calculate systems-wide costs of gene expression

Date:
August 8, 2012
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Bioengineers have developed a method of modeling, simultaneously, an organism's metabolism and its underlying gene expression. In the emerging field of systems biology, scientists model cellular behavior in order to understand how processes such as metabolism and gene expression relate to one another and bring about certain characteristics in the larger organism.

Project Scientist Daniel Hyduke and Ph.D. candidate Joshua Lerman, in the Palsson Systems Biology Research Group, Department of Bioengineering, discuss how their model enables detailed calculations of the total cost of synthesizing many different chemicals, including biofuels.
Credit: UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a method of modeling, simultaneously, an organism's metabolism and its underlying gene expression. In the emerging field of systems biology, scientists model cellular behavior in order to understand how processes such as metabolism and gene expression relate to one another and bring about certain characteristics in the larger organism.

In addition to serving as a platform for investigating fundamental biological questions, this technology enables far more detailed calculations of the total cost of synthesizing many different chemicals, including biofuels. Their method accounts, in molecular detail, for the material and energy required to keep a cell growing, the research team reported in the journal Nature Communications.

"This is a major advance in genome-scale analysis that accounts for the fundamental biological process of gene expression and notably expands the number of cellular phenotypes that we can compute," said Bernhard Palsson, Galetti Professor of Bioengineering, at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

"With this new method, it is now possible to perform computer simulations of systems-level molecular biology to formulate questions about fundamental life processes, the cellular impacts of genetic manipulation or to quantitatively analyze gene expression data," said Joshua Lerman, a Ph.D. candidate in Palsson's Systems Biology Research Group.

The team's method can be compared to understanding both the chemical reactions and the machinery that are required to refine crude oil into petrol in a large, industrial factory. Modeling metabolism tells you what biochemical reactions need to take place. Modeling the organism's gene expression tells you what kind of machinery you need. The team's method specifically accounts for the expression of enzymes, which are the molecular machines responsible for the biochemical processes of life. With this knowledge, it is possible to explore how an organism distributes its resources to promote growth and how genetic manipulation of these organisms alters this distribution.

"What you could hypothetically do with our model is simulate the total cost of producing a value-added product, such as a biofuel. That includes all the operating and maintenance costs," said Daniel Hyduke, a project scientist in Palsson's lab. Hyduke said the method has the potential to help streamline industrial metabolic engineering efforts by providing a near complete accounting of the minimal material and energy costs associated with novel strain designs for biofuel, commodity chemicals, and recombinant protein production.

Hyduke and Lerman prototyped the method on the minimal, yet metabolically versatile, hyperthermophile Thermotoga maritima. Because T. maritima is not currently ready for use in industrial applications, Hyduke and Lerman are working as part of a larger team to produce similar models for industrially relevant microorganisms, such as E. coli.

"We've built a virtual reality simulator of metabolism and gene expression for Thermotoga maritima, and shown that it much better approximates phenotypes of cells than modeling metabolism in isolation," said Lerman.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joshua A. Lerman, Daniel R. Hyduke, Haythem Latif, Vasiliy A. Portnoy, Nathan E. Lewis, Jeffrey D. Orth, Alexandra C. Schrimpe-Rutledge, Richard D. Smith, Joshua N. Adkins, Karsten Zengler, Bernhard O. Palsson. In silico method for modelling metabolism and gene product expression at genome scale. Nature Communications, 2012; 3: 929 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1928

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Molecular economics: New computer models calculate systems-wide costs of gene expression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808093900.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2012, August 8). Molecular economics: New computer models calculate systems-wide costs of gene expression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808093900.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Molecular economics: New computer models calculate systems-wide costs of gene expression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808093900.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins