Temperature compensation through systems biology

FEBS J. 2007 Feb;274(4):940-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2007.05641.x. Epub 2007 Jan 12.


Temperature has a strong influence on most individual biochemical reactions. Despite this, many organisms have the remarkable ability to keep certain physiological fluxes approximately constant over an extended temperature range. In this study, we show how temperature compensation can be considered as a pathway phenomenon rather than the result of a single-enzyme property. Using metabolic control analysis, it is possible to identify reaction networks that exhibit temperature compensation. Because most activation enthalpies are positive, temperature compensation of a flux can occur when certain control coefficients are negative. This can be achieved in networks with branching reactions or if the first irreversible reaction is regulated by a feedback loop. Hierarchical control analysis shows that networks that are dynamic through regulated gene expression or signal transduction may offer additional possibilities to bring the apparent activation enthalpies close to zero and lead to temperature compensation. A calorimetric experiment with yeast provides evidence that such a dynamic temperature adaptation can actually occur.

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Systems Biology*
  • Temperature*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins