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Title: Metabolic pathway analysis via integer linear programming
Author: Planes, Francisco J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 6764
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2008
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The understanding of cellular metabolism has been an intriguing challenge in classical cellular biology for decades. Essentially, cellular metabolism can be viewed as a complex system of enzyme-catalysed biochemical reactions that produces the energy and material necessary for the maintenance of life. In modern biochemistry, it is well-known that these reactions group into metabolic pathways so as to accomplish a particular function in the cell. The identification of these metabolic pathways is a key step to fully understanding the metabolic capabilities of a given organism. Typically, metabolic pathways have been elucidated via experimentation on different organisms. However, experimental findings are generally limited and fail to provide a complete description of all pathways. For this reason it is important to have mathematical models that allow us to identify and analyze metabolic pathways in a computational fashion. This is precisely the main theme of this thesis. We firstly describe, review and discuss existent mathematical/computational approaches to metabolic pathways, namely stoichiometric and path finding approaches. Then, we present our initial mathematical model named the Beasley-Planes (BP) model, which significantly improves on previous stoichiometric approaches. We also illustrate a successful application of the BP model to optimally disrupt metabolic pathways. The main drawback of the BP model is that it needs as input extra pathway knowledge. This is especially inappropriate if we wish to detect unknown metabolic pathways. As opposed to the BP model and stoichoimetric approaches, this issue is not found in path finding approaches. For this reason a novel path finding approach is built and examined in detail. This analysis serves us as inspiration to build the Improved Beasley-Planes (IBP) model. The IBP model incorporates elements of both stoichometric and path finding approaches. Though somewhat less accurate than the BP model, the IBP model solves the issue of extra pathway knowledge. Our research clearly demonstrates that there is a significant chance of developing a mathematical optimisation model that underlies many/all metabolic pathways.
Supervisor: Beasley, J. E. Sponsor: University of Navarra
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Metabolic networks ; Computational biology ; Bioinformatics ; System biology ; Elementary flux modes