Reconstruction of the human hepatocyte is a basis for metabolic models

The Holzhütter group from the Virtual Liver Network examined the biochemical literature to compile HepatoNet1 - a genome-scale metabolic network of the human hepatocyte. All biochemical reactions are recorded therein, enzyme catalyzed reactions and a few spontaneous reactions.

  • The hepatocyte is connected to the organism by two transport systems: the blood vessels (red in the sketch) and the bile ducts (olive in the image). HepatoNet1 distinguishes these transport processes. Included is also the information which genes encode the enzymes and transporters.
  • Hepatocytes are sub-structured in smaller units - the compartments. Among them are mitochondria (violet in the image). HepatoNet1 distinguishes 6 of them. Each reaction is attributed to a compartment. The transport processes between them are recorded in HepatoNet1. Many of them also need specific proteins, the encoding genes are also recorded.
  • In total, HepatoNet1 comprises 777 metabolites and 2539 reactions, divided in 1073 biochemical conversions and 1466 transport reactions. HepatoNet1 is finally a mathematical model that can predict, which biochemical processes are needed to fulfil a certain function and which amount is necessary. More specifically, it is a stoichiometric model. The computational method is called flux-balance analysis.
  • Author: Andreas Hoppe

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