Optimization of biotechnological systems through geometric programming
Voit, Eberhard O.
Torres, Nestor V.
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Background: In the past, tasks of model based yield optimization in metabolic engineering were either approached with stoichiometric models or with structured nonlinear models such as Ssystems or linear-logarithmic representations. These models stand out among most others, because they allow the optimization task to be converted into a linear program, for which efficient solution methods are widely available. For pathway models not in one of these formats, an Indirect Optimization Method (IOM) was developed where the original model is sequentially represented as an S-system model, optimized in this format with linear programming methods, reinterpreted in the initial model form, and further optimized as necessary. Results: A new method is proposed for this task. We show here that the model format of a Generalized Mass Action (GMA) system may be optimized very efficiently with techniques of geometric programming. We briefly review the basics of GMA systems and of geometric programming, demonstrate how the latter may be applied to the former, and illustrate the combined method with a didactic problem and two examples based on models of real systems. The first is a relatively small yet representative model of the anaerobic fermentation pathway in S. cerevisiae, while the second describes the dynamics of the tryptophan operon in E. coli. Both models have previously been used for benchmarking purposes, thus facilitating comparisons with the proposed new method. In these comparisons, the geometric programming method was found to be equal or better than the earlier methods in terms of successful identification of optima and efficiency. Conclusion: GMA systems are of importance, because they contain stoichiometric, mass action and S-systems as special cases, along with many other models. Furthermore, it was previously shown that algebraic equivalence transformations of variables are sufficient to convert virtually any types of dynamical models into the GMA form. Thus, efficient methods for optimizing GMA systems have multifold appeal.