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DRUM: A new framework for metabolic modeling under non-balanced growth. Application to the carbon metabolism of unicellular microalgae

Caroline Baroukh 1, 2 Rafael Munoz Tamayo 2 Jean-Philippe Steyer 1 Olivier Bernard 2, 3 
2 BIOCORE - Biological control of artificial ecosystems
LOV - Laboratoire d'océanographie de Villefranche, CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée , INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Abstract : Metabolic modeling is a powerful tool to understand, predict and optimize bioprocesses, particularly when they imply intracellular molecules of interest. Unfortunately, the use of metabolic models for time varying metabolic fluxes is hampered by the lack of experimental data required to define and calibrate the kinetic reaction rates of the metabolic pathways. For this reason, metabolic models are often used under the balanced growth hypothesis. However, for some processes such as the photoautotrophic metabolism of microalgae, the balanced-growth assumption appears to be unreasonable because of the synchronization of their circadian cycle on the daily light. Yet, understanding microalgae metabolism is necessary to optimize the production yield of bioprocesses based on this microorganism, as for example production of third-generation biofuels. In this paper, we propose DRUM, a new dynamic metabolic modeling framework that handles the non-balanced growth condition and hence accumulation of intracellular metabolites. The first stage of the approach consists in splitting the metabolic network into sub-networks describing reactions which are spatially close, and which are assumed to satisfy balanced growth condition. The left metabolites interconnecting the sub-networks behave dynamically. Then, thanks to Elementary Flux Mode analysis, each sub-network is reduced to macroscopic reactions, for which simple kinetics are assumed. Finally, an Ordinary Differential Equation system is obtained to describe substrate consumption, biomass production, products excretion and accumulation of some internal metabolites. DRUM was applied to the accumulation of lipids and carbohydrates of the microalgae Tisochrysis lutea under day/night cycles. The resulting model describes accurately experimental data obtained in day/night conditions. It efficiently predicts the accumulation and consumption of lipids and carbohydrates.
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Caroline Baroukh, Rafael Munoz Tamayo, Jean-Philippe Steyer, Olivier Bernard. DRUM: A new framework for metabolic modeling under non-balanced growth. Application to the carbon metabolism of unicellular microalgae. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2014, 9 (8), pp.e104499. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0104499⟩. ⟨hal-01123224⟩

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