Prof. Stefan Schuster, Lehrstuhl Bioinformatik, FSU Jena
The network of reactions in metabolism is even more complex than a roadmap, due to the presence of bi- und multimolecular reactions. The concept of biochemical pathway can be formalized by elementary modes. These are defined as miminal sets of enzymes that can operate at steady state with all irreversible reactions used in the correct direction . Elementary-modes analysis is a powerful method for detecting all potential pathways in a metabolic network and computing the associated molar yields. It has been applied successfully to a plethora of bacterial, fungal, plant and animal metabolic networks. For example, it was used for showing in silico that, in principle, fatty acids can be converted into glucose in humans on very entangled pathways via acetone .
Metabolic pathways can be interpreted as different strategies of organisms. Thus, methods from evolutionary game theory can be employed . Here, the basic concepts of game theory such as the Nash equilibrium are explained by illustrative examples (not only from Biology). Then, game theory is applied to two examples from biochemistry. The first concerns the choice between pathways with low molar yield, but high rate and with high yield, but low rate [3, 4]. This is of importance, for example, in the Warburg effect in tumour cells. The second example concerns the secretion of extracellular enzymes such as cellulase, which is of biotechnological relevance in the context of biofuel production .
 S. Schuster, D.A. Fell, T. Dandekar: Nature Biotechnol. 18 (2000) 326-332.
 C. Kaleta, L.F. de Figueiredo, S. Werner, R. Guthke, M. Ristow, S. Schuster. PLoS Comp. Biol. 7 (2011) e1002116.
 T. Pfeiffer, S. Schuster. Trends Biochem. Sci. 30 (2005) 20-25.
 E. Ruppin, J.A. Papin, L.F. de Figueiredo, S. Schuster: Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 21 (2010) 502-510.
 S. Schuster, J.U. Kreft, N. Brenner, F. Wessely, G. Theißen, E. Ruppin, A. Schroeter: Biotechnol. J. 5 (2010) 751-758.
Everybody interested is welcome to attend the lecture. After the lecture, some sparkling wine is offered on the occasion of the birthday of the speaker (at November 7).
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