A systems biology approach to analyse leaf carbohydrate metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana
Sebastian Henkel, Thomas Nägele, Imke Hörmiller, Thomas Sauter, Oliver Sawodny, Michael Ederer and Arnd G Heyer
J Bioinform Sys Biology 2011, 2, 2011
Plant carbohydrate metabolism comprises numerous metabolite interconversions, some of which form cycles of metabolite degradation and re-synthesis and are thus referred to as futile cycles. In this study, we present a systems biology approach to analyse any possible regulatory principle that operates such futile cycles based on experimental data for sucrose (Scr) cycling in photosynthetically active leaves of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Kinetic parameters of enzymatic steps in Scr cycling were identified by fitting model simulations to experimental data. A statistical analysis of the kinetic parameters and calculated flux rates allowed for estimation of the variability and supported the predictability of the model. A principal component analysis of the parameter results revealed the identifiability of the model parameters. We investigated the stability properties of Scr cycling and found that feedback inhibition of enzymes catalysing metabolite interconversions at different steps of the cycle have differential influence on stability. Applying this observation to futile cycling of Scr in leaf cells points to the enzyme hexokinase as an important regulator, while the step of Scr degradation by invertases appears subordinate.