In systems biology, material balances, kinetic models, and thermodynamic boundary conditions are increasingly used for metabolic network analysis. It is remarkable that the reversibility of enzyme-catalyzed reactions and the influence of cytosolic conditions are often neglected in kinetic models. In fact, enzyme-catalyzed reactions in numerous metabolic pathways such as in glycolysis are often reversible, i.e., they only proceed until an equilibrium state is reached and not until the substrate is completely consumed. Here, we propose the use of irreversible thermodynamics to describe the kinetic approximation to the equilibrium state in a consistent way with very few adjustable parameters. Using a flux-force approach allowed describing the influence of cytosolic conditions on the kinetics by only one single parameter. The approach was applied to reaction steps 2 and 9 of glycolysis (i.e., the phosphoglucose isomerase reaction from glucose 6-phosphate to fructose 6-phosphate and the enolase-catalyzed reaction from 2-phosphoglycerate to phosphoenolpyruvate and water). The temperature dependence of the kinetic parameter fulfills the Arrhenius relation and the derived activation energies are plausible. All the data obtained in this work were measured efficiently and accurately by means of isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC). The combination of calorimetric monitoring with simple flux-force relations has the potential for adequate consideration of cytosolic conditions in a simple manner.
Keywords: biothermodynamics; glycolysis; isothermal titration calorimetry; systems biology.