Author(s): McClymont K, Soyer OS
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Abstract One of the primary aims of synthetic biology is to (re)design metabolic pathways towards the production of desired chemicals. The fast pace of developments in molecular biology increasingly makes it possible to experimentally redesign existing pathways and implement de novo ones in microbes or using in vitro platforms. For such experimental studies, the bottleneck is shifting from implementation of pathways towards their initial design. Here, we present an online tool called 'Metabolic Tinker', which aims to guide the design of synthetic metabolic pathways between any two desired compounds. Given two user-defined 'target' and 'source' compounds, Metabolic Tinker searches for thermodynamically feasible paths in the entire known metabolic universe using a tailored heuristic search strategy. Compared with similar graph-based search tools, Metabolic Tinker returns a larger number of possible paths owing to its broad search base and fast heuristic, and provides for the first time thermodynamic feasibility information for the discovered paths. Metabolic Tinker is available as a web service at http://osslab.ex.ac.uk/tinker.aspx. The same website also provides the source code for Metabolic Tinker, allowing it to be developed further or run on personal machines for specific applications.
This article was published in Nucleic Acids Res
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology