In the last few years, the emergence of complete genome sequences has had profound effects on all fields of biology. While the existence of these genome sequences has served to facilitate experimental work, it has also highlighted the gaps in our knowledge of bacterial metabolism. Our current knowledge of metabolism is primarily the result of data accumulated from decades of study by biochemists and geneticists. In general these studies focused on discrete pathways and their regulation. The technical innovations of the last decade, culminating with the sequencing of complete genomes, provide us with the ability to address the next frontier in physiology, metabolic integration. Herein we describe current approaches that can be used to complement classic genetic approaches and further our understanding of both novel metabolic functions and metabolic integration in microorganisms.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.