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 September 20, 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 September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) 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