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Genome-based Modeling and Design of Metabolic Interactions in Microbial Communities
Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal (2012)
  • Radhakrishnan Mahadevan
  • Michael A Henson, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Biotechnology research is traditionally focused on individual microbial strains that are perceived to have the necessary metabolic functions, or the capability to have these functions introduced, to achieve a particular task. For many important applications, the development of such omnipotent microbes is an extremely challenging if not impossible task. By contrast, nature employs a radically different strategy based on synergistic combinations of different microbial species that collectively achieve the desired task. These natural communities have evolved to exploit the native metabolic capabilities of each species and are highly adaptive to changes in their environments. However, microbial communities have proven difficult to study due to a lack of suitable experimental and computational tools. With the advent of genome sequencing, omics technologies, bioinformatics and genome-scale modeling, researchers now have unprecedented capabilities to analyze and engineer the metabolism of microbial communities. The goal of this review is to summarize recent applications of genome-scale metabolic modeling to microbial communities. A brief introduction to lumped community models is used to motivate the need for genome-level descriptions of individual species and their metabolic interactions. The review of genome-scale models begins with static modeling approaches, which are appropriate for communities where the extracellular environment can be assumed to be time invariant or slowly varying. Dynamic extensions of the static modeling approach are described, and then applications of genome-scale models for design of synthetic microbial communities are reviewed. The review concludes with a summary of metagenomic tools for analyzing community metabolism and an outlook for future research.
Publication Date
October, 2012
Citation Information
Radhakrishnan Mahadevan and Michael A Henson. "Genome-based Modeling and Design of Metabolic Interactions in Microbial Communities" Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal Vol. 3 Iss. 4 (2012)
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