A diurnal flux balance model of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 metabolism

Debolina Sarkar, Thomas J. Mueller, Deng Liu, Himadri B. Pakrasi, Costas D. Maranas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Phototrophic organisms such as cyanobacteria utilize the sun's energy to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic carbon, resulting in diurnal variations in the cell's metabolism. Flux balance analysis is a widely accepted constraint-based optimization tool for analyzing growth and metabolism, but it is generally used in a time-invariant manner with no provisions for sequestering different biomass components at different time periods. Here we present CycleSyn, a periodic model of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 metabolism that spans a 12-hr light/12-hr dark cycle by segmenting it into 12 Time Point Models (TPMs) with a uniform duration of two hours. The developed framework allows for the flow of metabolites across TPMs while inventorying metabolite levels and only allowing for the utilization of currently or previously produced compounds. The 12 TPMs allow for the incorporation of time-dependent constraints that capture the cyclic nature of cellular processes. Imposing bounds on reactions informed by temporally-segmented transcriptomic data enables simulation of phototrophic growth as a single linear programming (LP) problem. The solution provides the time varying reaction fluxes over a 24-hour cycle and the accumulation/consumption of metabolites. The diurnal rhythm of metabolic gene expression driven by the circadian clock and its metabolic consequences is explored. Predicted flux and metabolite pools are in line with published studies regarding the temporal organization of phototrophic growth in Synechocystis PCC 6803 paving the way for constructing time-resolved genome-scale models (GSMs) for organisms with a circadian clock. In addition, the metabolic reorganization that would be required to enable Synechocystis PCC 6803 to temporally separate photosynthesis from oxygen-sensitive nitrogen fixation is also explored using the developed model formalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1006692
JournalPLoS computational biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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