Constraint-based models predict metabolic and associated cellular functions

Nat Rev Genet. 2014 Feb;15(2):107-20. doi: 10.1038/nrg3643. Epub 2014 Jan 16.


The prediction of cellular function from a genotype is a fundamental goal in biology. For metabolism, constraint-based modelling methods systematize biochemical, genetic and genomic knowledge into a mathematical framework that enables a mechanistic description of metabolic physiology. The use of constraint-based approaches has evolved over ~30 years, and an increasing number of studies have recently combined models with high-throughput data sets for prospective experimentation. These studies have led to validation of increasingly important and relevant biological predictions. As reviewed here, these recent successes have tangible implications in the fields of microbial evolution, interaction networks, genetic engineering and drug discovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Genomics / methods
  • Genotype
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / genetics
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / physiology*
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Phenotype
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Systems Biology / methods