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Conservation of glycolytic oscillations in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and human pancreatic b-cells: a study of metabolic robustness
A.S. Silva and J.A. Yunes
Laboratório de Biologia Molecular, Centro Infantil Boldrini, Campinas, SP, Brasil
Corresponding author: A.S. Silva
E-mail: ariostosilva@yahoo.com
Genet. Mol. Res. 5 (3): 525-535 (2006)
Received March 27, 2006
Accepted July 3, 2006
Published August 11, 2006

ABSTRACT. The present study compares two computer models of the first part of glucose catabolism in different organisms in search of evolutionarily conserved characteristics of the glycolysis cycle and proposes the main parameters that define the stable steady-state or oscillatory behavior of the glycolytic system. It is suggested that in both human pancreatic b-cells and Saccharomyces cerevisiae there are oscillations that, despite differences in wave form and period of oscillation, share the same robustness strategy: the oscillation is not controlled by only one but by at least two parameters that will have more or less control over the pathway flux depending on the initial state of the system as well as on extra-cellular conditions. This observation leads to two important interpretations: the first is that in both S. cerevisiae and human b-cells, despite differences in enzyme kinetics and mechanism of feedback control, evolution seems to have kept an oscillatory behavior coupled to the glucose concentration outside the cytoplasm, and the second is that the development of drugs to regulate metabolic dysfunctions in more complex systems may require further study, not only determining which enzyme is controlling the flux of the system but also under which conditions and how its control is maintained by the enzyme or transferred to other enzymes in the pathway as the drug starts acting.

Key words: Glycolysis, b-cell, Oscillations, Computer simulation, Robustness, Insulin

 

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