Scalable computation of intracellular metabolite concentrations

12 Aug 2020  ·  Akbari Amir, Palsson Bernhard O. ·

Current mathematical frameworks for predicting the flux state and macromolecular composition of the cell do not rely on thermodynamic constraints to determine the spontaneous direction of reactions. These predictions may be biologically infeasible as a result... Imposing thermodynamic constraints requires accurate estimations of intracellular metabolite concentrations. These concentrations are constrained within physiologically possible ranges to enable an organism to grow in extreme conditions and adapt to its environment. Here, we introduce tractable computational techniques to characterize intracellular metabolite concentrations within a constraint-based modeling framework. This model provides a feasible concentration set, which can generally be nonconvex and disconnected. We examine three approaches based on polynomial optimization, random sampling, and global optimization. We leverage the sparsity and algebraic structure of the underlying biophysical models to enhance the computational efficiency of these techniques. We then compare their performance in two case studies, showing that the global-optimization formulation exhibits more desirable scaling properties than the random-sampling and polynomial-optimization formulation, and, thus, is a promising candidate for handling large-scale metabolic networks. read more

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