Computing smallest intervention strategies for multiple metabolic networks in a boolean model

Wei Lu, Takeyuki Tamura, Jiangning Song, Tatsuya Akutsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article considers the problem whereby, given two metabolic networks N1 and N2, a set of source compounds, and a set of target compounds, we must find the minimum set of reactions whose removal (knockout) ensures that the target compounds are not producible in N1 but are producible in N2. Similar studies exist for the problem of finding the minimum knockout with the smallest side effect for a single network. However, if technologies of external perturbations are advanced in the near future, it may be important to develop methods of computing the minimum knockout for multiple networks (MKMN). Flux balance analysis (FBA) is efficient if a well-polished model is available. However, that is not always the case. Therefore, in this article, we study MKMN in Boolean models and an elementary mode (EM)-based model. Integer linear programming (ILP)-based methods are developed for these models, since MKMN is NP-complete for both the Boolean model and the EM-based model. Computer experiments are conducted with metabolic networks of clostridium perfringens SM101 and bifidobacterium longum DJO10A, respectively known as bad bacteria and good bacteria for the human intestine. The results show that larger networks are more likely to have MKMN solutions. However, solving for these larger networks takes a very long time, and often the computation cannot be completed. This is reasonable, because small networks do not have many alternative pathways, making it difficult to satisfy the MKMN condition, whereas in large networks the number of candidate solutions explodes. Our developed software minFvskO is available online.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85 - 110
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Computational Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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