Indexed on: 24 Mar '05Published on: 24 Mar '05Published in: Journal of Theoretical Biology
With the emergence of multifaceted bioinformatics-derived data, it is becoming possible to merge biochemical and physiological information to develop a new level of understanding of the metabolic complexity of the cell. The biosynthetic pathway of de novo pyrimidine nucleotide metabolism is an essential capability of all free-living cells, and it occupies a pivotal position relative to metabolic processes that are involved in the macromolecular synthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins, as well as energy production and cell division. This regulatory network in all enteric bacteria involves genetic, allosteric, and physiological control systems that need to be integrated into a coordinated set of metabolic checks and balances. Allosterically regulated pathways constitute an exciting and challenging biosynthetic system to be approached from a mathematical perspective. However, to date, a mathematical model quantifying the contribution of allostery in controlling the dynamics of metabolic pathways has not been proposed. In this study, a direct, rigorous mathematical model of the de novo biosynthesis of pyrimidine nucleotides is presented. We corroborate the simulations with experimental data available in the literature and validate it with derepression experiments done in our laboratory. The model is able to faithfully represent the dynamic changes in the intracellular nucleotide pools that occur during metabolic transitions of the de novo pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway and represents a step forward in understanding the role of allosteric regulation in metabolic control.