2020-01-18Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3390/e22010117
Chemical Reaction Networks Possess Intrinsic, Temperature-Dependent Functionality
Temperature influences the life of many organisms in various ways. A great number of organisms live under conditions where their ability to adapt to changes in temperature can be vital and largely determines their fitness. Understanding the mechanisms and principles underlying this ability to adapt can be of great advantage, for example, to improve growth conditions for crops and increase their yield. In times of imminent, increasing climate change, this becomes even more important in order to find strategies and help crops cope with these fundamental changes. There is intense research in the field of acclimation that comprises fluctuations of various environmental conditions, but most acclimation research focuses on regulatory effects and the observation of gene expression changes within the examined organism. As thermodynamic effects are a direct consequence of temperature changes, these should necessarily be considered in this field of research but are often neglected. Additionally, compensated effects might be missed even though they are equally important for the organism, since they do not cause observable changes, but rather counteract them. In this work, using a systems biology approach, we demonstrate that even simple network motifs can exhibit temperature-dependent functional features resulting from the interplay of network structure and the distribution of activation energies over the involved reactions. The demonstrated functional features are (i) the reversal of fluxes within a linear pathway, (ii) a thermo-selective branched pathway with different flux modes and (iii) the increased flux towards carbohydrates in a minimal Calvin cycle that was designed to demonstrate temperature compensation within reaction networks. Comparing a system’s response to either temperature changes or changes in enzyme activity we also dissect the influence of thermodynamic changes versus genetic regulation. By this, we expand the scope of thermodynamic modelling of biochemical processes by addressing further possibilities and effects, following established mathematical descriptions of biophysical properties.
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