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Metabolites 2012, 2(3), 567-595; doi:10.3390/metabo2030567

Minimal Cut Sets and the Use of Failure Modes in Metabolic Networks

*  and
Center for Advanced Computational Solutions (C-fACS), Deptment of Wine, Food & Molecular Biosciences, Faculty of Ag & Life Sciences, P O Box 84, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, Christchurch, New Zealand
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 July 2012 / Revised: 25 August 2012 / Accepted: 29 August 2012 / Published: 11 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolism and Systems Biology)
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A minimal cut set is a minimal set of reactions whose inactivation would guarantee a failure in a certain network function or functions. Minimal cut sets (MCSs) were initially developed from the metabolic pathway analysis method (MPA) of elementary modes (EMs); they provide a way of identifying target genes for eliminating a certain objective function from a holistic perspective that takes into account the structure of the whole metabolic network. The concept of MCSs is fairly new and still being explored and developed; the initial concept has developed into a generalized form and its similarity to other network characterizations are discussed. MCSs can be used in conjunction with other constraints-based methods to get a better understanding of the capability of metabolic networks and the interrelationship between metabolites and enzymes/genes. The concept could play an important role in systems biology by contributing to fields such as metabolic and genetic engineering where it could assist in finding ways of producing industrially relevant compounds from renewable resources, not only for economical, but also for sustainability, reasons.
Keywords: minimal cut sets; elementary modes; metabolic networks minimal cut sets; elementary modes; metabolic networks
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Clark, S.T.; Verwoerd, W.S. Minimal Cut Sets and the Use of Failure Modes in Metabolic Networks. Metabolites 2012, 2, 567-595.

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