Metabolic Networks: How to Identify Key Components in the Regulation of Metabolism and Growth

M. Stitt, R. Sulpice, J.J.B. Keurentjes

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118 Citations (Scopus)


Plants display enormous diversity in their metabolism. Although the biosynthesis and function of the myriads of plant metabolites has been studied for decades, we have little understanding of the interactions between metabolites, metabolite signaling, interactions with development and the role of metabolism in genotype-to-phenotype relationships. Technologies for the analysis of metabolites have made tremendous progress in recent years, both in terms of the number of metabolites that are identified and of throughput. Recent developments allow the construction of metabolic networks, and study of the role of these networks in plant growth and development. In this review, we discuss what types of information can be obtained from measurements of metabolites and what requirements they have with respect comprehensiveness of coverage and precision of identification and quantification, and outline procedures that can be implemented to validate the measurements. We then discuss what sorts of perturbations can be used to disturb metabolic networks, including environmental and physiological treatments, chemicals, reverse genetics and the use of natural genetic diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-444
JournalPlant Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • quantitative trait loci
  • adp-glucose pyrophosphorylase
  • recombinant inbred lines
  • organic-acid metabolism
  • growing potato-tubers
  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • steady-state
  • mass-spectrometry
  • genetic-variation
  • natural variation


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