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Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Current Synthetic and Systems Biology

Author(s): Covert MW, Knight EM, Reed JL, Herrgard MJ, Palsson BO

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Abstract The flood of high-throughput biological data has led to the expectation that computational (or in silico) models can be used to direct biological discovery, enabling biologists to reconcile heterogeneous data types, find inconsistencies and systematically generate hypotheses. Such a process is fundamentally iterative, where each iteration involves making model predictions, obtaining experimental data, reconciling the predicted outcomes with experimental ones, and using discrepancies to update the in silico model. Here we have reconstructed, on the basis of information derived from literature and databases, the first integrated genome-scale computational model of a transcriptional regulatory and metabolic network. The model accounts for 1,010 genes in Escherichia coli, including 104 regulatory genes whose products together with other stimuli regulate the expression of 479 of the 906 genes in the reconstructed metabolic network. This model is able not only to predict the outcomes of high-throughput growth phenotyping and gene expression experiments, but also to indicate knowledge gaps and identify previously unknown components and interactions in the regulatory and metabolic networks. We find that a systems biology approach that combines genome-scale experimentation and computation can systematically generate hypotheses on the basis of disparate data sources. This article was published in Nature and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology

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