A fragile metabolic network adapted for cooperation in the symbiotic bacterium Buchnera aphidicola

Gavin H Thomas, Jeremy Zucker, Sandy J Macdonald, Anatoly Sorokin, Igor Goryanin, Angela E Douglas
2009 BMC Systems Biology  
AE 2009, 'A fragile metabolic network adapted for cooperation in the symbiotic bacterium Buchnera aphidicola' BMC Systems Biology, vol. 3, no. n/a, 24. Abstract Background: In silico analyses provide valuable insight into the biology of obligately intracellular pathogens and symbionts with small genomes. There is a particular opportunity to apply systemslevel tools developed for the model bacterium Escherichia coli to study the evolution and function of symbiotic bacteria which are
more » ... specialised to overproduce specific nutrients for their host and, remarkably, have a gene complement that is a subset of the E. coli genome. Results: We have reconstructed and analysed the metabolic network of the γ-proteobacterium Buchnera aphidicola (symbiont of the pea aphid) as a model for using systems-level approaches to discover key traits of symbionts with small genomes. The metabolic network is extremely fragile with > 90% of the reactions essential for viability in silico; and it is structured so that the bacterium cannot grow without producing the essential amino acid, histidine, which is released to the insect host. Further, the amount of essential amino acid produced by the bacterium in silico can be controlled by host supply of carbon and nitrogen substrates.
doi:10.1186/1752-0509-3-24 pmid:19232131 pmcid:PMC2649895 fatcat:oq4fmdjhxjahhfyce67fil7c54