Quantifying plant phenotypes with isotopic labeling & metabolic flux analysis

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2016 Feb;37:45-52. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2015.10.002. Epub 2015 Nov 21.


Analyses of metabolic flux using stable isotopes in plants have traditionally been restricted to tissues with presumed homogeneous cell populations and long metabolic steady states such as developing seeds, cell suspensions, or cultured roots and root tips. It is now possible to describe these and other metabolically more dynamic tissues such as leaves in greater detail using novel methods in mass spectrometry, isotope labeling strategies, and transient labeling-based flux analyses. Such studies are necessary for a systems level description of plant function that more closely represents biological reality, and provides insights into the genes that will need to be modified as natural resources become ever more limited and environments change.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Isotope Labeling / methods
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Metabolic Flux Analysis / methods*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plants / chemistry
  • Plants / metabolism*