A Genomic-Scale Reconstruction of Mycoplasma genitalium


Reconstructing an organism’s metabolic pathways is an important step in being able to understand and use those biological capabilities to solve DOE energy and environmental challenges. This rapidly evolving field requires development of sophisticated computational tools to model metabolic networks, tools to bridge gaps in the models, and experiments to resolve inconsistencies. Dr. Costas Maranas of Penn State University describes the systematic reconstruction of pathways involving 40% of the genes in Mycoplasma genitalium, one of the smallest known self-replicating organisms. Their computational model of M. genitalium iPS189 includes 262 biochemical reactions and 274 metabolites and is 87% accurate in capturing genes essential for M. genitalium function. This work provides a roadmap for the automated construction of computer-based metabolic models for other organisms important for DOE mission needs. Details can be found in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, February 2009, Vol. 5 , Issue (2).  This work is jointly sponsored by DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Science and the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.