A biotechnological aim of genetic engineering is to increase the intracellular concentration or secretion of valuable compounds, while making the other concentrations and fluxes optimal for viability and productivity. Efforts to accomplish this based on over-expression of the enzyme, catalyzing the so-called "rate-limiting step," have not been successful. Here we develop a method to determine the enzyme concentrations that are required to achieve such an aim. This method is called Metabolic Design Analysis and is based on the perturbation method and the modular ("top-down") approach-formalisms that were first developed for the analysis of biochemical regulation such as, Metabolic Control Analysis. Contrary to earlier methods, the desired alterations of cellular metabolism need not be small or confined to a single metabolite or flux. The limits to the alterations of fluxes and metabolite concentrations are identified. To employ Metabolic Design Analysis, only limited kinetic information concerning the pathway enzymes is needed.
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