Application of metabolic engineering principles to the rational design of microbial production processes crucially depends on the ability to describe quantitatively the systemic behavior of the central carbon metabolism to redirect carbon fluxes to the product forming pathways. Despite the importance for several production processes, development of an essential dynamic model for central carbon metabolism of Escherichia coli has been severely hampered by the current lack of kinetic information on the dynamics of the metabolic reactions. Here we present the design and experimental validation of such a dynamic model, which, for the first time, links the sugar transport system (i.e., phosphotransferase system [PTS]) with the reactions of glycolysis and the pentose-phosphate pathway. Experimental observations of intracellular concentrations of metabolites and cometabolites at transient conditions are used to validate the structure of the model and to estimate the kinetic parameters. Further analysis of the detailed characteristics of the system offers the possibility of studying important questions regarding the stability and control of metabolic fluxes. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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