Flux quantification in central carbon metabolism of Catharanthus roseus hairy roots by 13C labeling and comprehensive bondomer balancing

Phytochemistry. Aug-Sep 2007;68(16-18):2243-57. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2007.04.009. Epub 2007 May 25.


Methods for accurate and efficient quantification of metabolic fluxes are desirable in plant metabolic engineering and systems biology. Toward this objective, we introduce the application of "bondomers", a computationally efficient and intuitively appealing alternative to the commonly used isotopomer concept, to flux evaluation in plants, by using Catharanthus roseus hairy roots as a model system. We cultured the hairy roots on (5% w/w U-(13)C, 95% w/w naturally abundant) sucrose, and acquired two-dimensional [(13)C, (1)H] and [(1)H, (1)H] NMR spectra of hydrolyzed aqueous extract from the hairy roots. Analysis of these spectra yielded a data set of 116 bondomers of beta-glucans and proteinogenic amino acids from the hairy roots. Fluxes were evaluated from the bondomer data by using comprehensive bondomer balancing. We identified most fluxes in a three-compartmental model of central carbon metabolism with good precision. We observed parallel pentose phosphate pathways in the cytosol and the plastid with significantly different fluxes. The anaplerotic fluxes between phosphoenolpyruvate and oxaloacetate in the cytosol and between malate and pyruvate in the mitochondrion were relatively high (60.1+/-2.5 mol per 100 mol sucrose uptake, or 22.5+/-0.5 mol per 100 mol mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase flux). The development of a comprehensive flux analysis tool for this plant hairy root system is expected to be valuable in assessing the metabolic impact of genetic or environmental changes, and this methodology can be extended to other plant systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Carbon / metabolism*
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Catharanthus / chemistry
  • Catharanthus / metabolism*
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Models, Biological
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Pentose Phosphate Pathway
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Sucrose / metabolism


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sucrose
  • Carbon