Genome-Scale Metabolic Modeling for Unraveling Molecular Mechanisms of High Threat Pathogens

Sertbas M., Ulgen K. O.

FRONTIERS IN CELL AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, vol.8, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Pathogens give rise to a wide range of diseases threatening global health and hence drawing public health agencies' attention to establish preventative and curative solutions. Genome-scale metabolic modeling is ever increasingly used tool for biomedical applications including the elucidation of antibiotic resistance, virulence, single pathogen mechanisms and pathogen-host interaction systems. With this approach, the sophisticated cellular system of metabolic reactions inside the pathogens as well as between pathogen and host cells are represented in conjunction with their corresponding genes and enzymes. Along with essential metabolic reactions, alternate pathways and fluxes are predicted by performing computational flux analyses for the growth of pathogens in a very short time. The genes or enzymes responsible for the essential metabolic reactions in pathogen growth are regarded as potential drug targets, as a priori guide to researchers in the pharmaceutical field. Pathogens alter the key metabolic processes in infected host, ultimately the objective of these integrative constraint-based context-specific metabolic models is to provide novel insights toward understanding the metabolic basis of the acute and chronic processes of infection, revealing cellular mechanisms of pathogenesis, identifying strain-specific biomarkers and developing new therapeutic approaches including the combination drugs. The reaction rates predicted during different time points of pathogen development enable us to predict active pathways and those that only occur during certain stages of infection, and thus point out the putative drug targets. Among others, fatty acid and lipid syntheses reactions are recent targets of new antimicrobial drugs. Genome-scale metabolic models provide an improved understanding of how intracellular pathogens utilize the existing microenvironment of the host. Here, we reviewed the current knowledge of genome-scale metabolic modeling in pathogen cells as well as pathogen host interaction systems and the promising applications in the extension of curative strategies against pathogens for global preventative healthcare.