Combining chemoinformatics with bioinformatics: in silico prediction of bacterial flavor-forming pathways by a chemical systems biology approach "reverse pathway engineering"
SourcePLoS One, 9, 1, (2014), article e84769
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 19: Nanomedicine RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
The incompleteness of genome-scale metabolic models is a major bottleneck for systems biology approaches, which are based on large numbers of metabolites as identified and quantified by metabolomics. Many of the revealed secondary metabolites and/or their derivatives, such as flavor compounds, are non-essential in metabolism, and many of their synthesis pathways are unknown. In this study, we describe a novel approach, Reverse Pathway Engineering (RPE), which combines chemoinformatics and bioinformatics analyses, to predict the "missing links" between compounds of interest and their possible metabolic precursors by providing plausible chemical and/or enzymatic reactions. We demonstrate the added-value of the approach by using flavor-forming pathways in lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as an example. Established metabolic routes leading to the formation of flavor compounds from leucine were successfully replicated. Novel reactions involved in flavor formation, i.e. the conversion of alpha-hydroxy-isocaproate to 3-methylbutanoic acid and the synthesis of dimethyl sulfide, as well as the involved enzymes were successfully predicted. These new insights into the flavor-formation mechanisms in LAB can have a significant impact on improving the control of aroma formation in fermented food products. Since the input reaction databases and compounds are highly flexible, the RPE approach can be easily extended to a broad spectrum of applications, amongst others health/disease biomarker discovery as well as synthetic biology.
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