Chromokinetics of metabolic pathways

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Abstract

Some methods to study and intuitively understand steady-state flows in complicated metabolic pathways are discussed. For this purpose, a suitable decomposition of complex metabolic schemes into smaller subsystems is used. These independent subsystems are then interpreted as basic colors of a chromatic coloring scheme. The mixture of these basic colors allows an intuitive picture of how a steady state in a metabolic pathway can be understood. Furthermore, actions of drugs can be more easily investigated on this basis. An anaerobic variant of pyruvate metabolism in rat liver mitochondria is presented as a simple example. This experiment allows measurement of the percentage that each basic color contributes to the steady states resulting from different experimental conditions. Possible implementations of existing algorithms and rational design of new drugs are discussed. A MATHEMATICA program, based on a new algorithm for finding all basic colors of stoichiometric networks, is included.

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