Journal article

Modeling of uncertainties in biochemical reactions

Mathematical modeling is an indispensable tool for research and development in biotechnology and bioengineering. The formulation of kinetic models of biochemical networks depends on knowledge of the kinetic properties of the enzymes of the individual reactions. However, kinetic data acquired from experimental observations bring along uncertainties due to various experimental conditions and measurement methods. In this contribution, we propose a novel way to model the uncertainty in the enzyme kinetics and to predict quantitatively the responses of metabolic reactions to the changes in enzyme activities under uncertainty. The proposed methodology accounts explicitly for mechanistic properties of enzymes and physico-chemical and thermodynamic constraints, and is based on formalism from systems theory and metabolic control analysis. We achieve this by observing that kinetic responses of metabolic reactions depend: (i) on the distribution of the enzymes among their free form and all reactive states; (ii) on the equilibrium displacements of the overall reaction and that of the individual enzymatic steps; and (iii) on the net fluxes through the enzyme. Relying on this observation, we develop a novel, efficient Monte Carlo sampling procedure to generate all states within a metabolic reaction that satisfy imposed constrains. Thus we derive the statistics of the expected responses of the metabolic reactions to changes in enzyme levels and activities, in the levels of metabolites, and in the values of the kinetic parameters. We present aspects of the proposed framework through an example of the fundamental three-step reversible enzymatic reaction mechanism. We demonstrate that the equilibrium displacements of the individual enzymatic steps have an important influence on kinetic responses of the enzyme. Furthermore, we derive the conditions that must be satisfied by a reversible three-step enzymatic reaction operating far away from the equilibrium in order to respond to changes in metabolite levels according to the irreversible Michelis-Menten kinetics. The efficient sampling procedure allows easy, scalable, implementation of this methodology to modeling of large-scale biochemical networks.

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