Metabolic Modeling with MetaFlux 


Mario Latendresse, Wai Kit Ong, Peter D. Karp, “Metabolic Modeling with MetaFlux.” Methods Mol Biol. 2022;2349:259–289.


The MetaFlux software supports creating, executing, and solving quantitative metabolic flux models using flux balance analysis (FBA). MetaFlux offers four modes of operation: (1) solving mode executes an FBA model for an individual organism or for an organism community, (2) gene knockout mode executes an FBA model with one or many gene knockouts, (3) development mode assists the user in creating and improving FBA models, and (4) flux variability analysis mode generates a report of the robustness of an FBA model. MetaFlux also solves dynamic FBA (dFBA) for both individual organisms and communities of organisms. MetaFlux can be used in two different environments: on your local computer, which requires the installation of the Pathway Tools software, or through the web, which does not require installation of Pathway Tools. On your local computer, MetaFlux offers all four modes of operation, whereas the web environment provides only the solving mode.

Several visualization tools are available to analyze model solutions. The Cellular Overview tool graphically shows the reaction fluxes on an organism’s metabolic map once a model is solved. The Omics Dashboard provides a hierarchical approach to visualizing reaction fluxes, organized by metabolic subsystems. For a community of organisms, plotting of accumulated biomasses and metabolites can be performed using the Gnuplot tool.

In this chapter, we present eight methods using MetaFlux. Five solving mode methods illustrate execution of models for individual organisms and for organism communities. One method illustrates the gene knockout mode. Two methods for the development mode illustrate steps for developing new metabolic models.

Keywords: Flux balance analysis, FBA, Solver, Gene knockout, Metabolic model, Steady-state, Genome-scale model, Dynamic FBA, Community modeling, COBRA methods.

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