Comparative Analysis of Yeast Metabolic Network Models Highlights Progress, Opportunities for Metabolic Reconstruction

Benjamin D. Heavner, Nathan D. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We have compared 12 genome-scale models of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolic network published since 2003 to evaluate progress in reconstruction of the yeast metabolic network. We compared the genomic coverage, overlap of annotated metabolites, predictive ability for single gene essentiality with a selection of model parameters, and biomass production predictions in simulated nutrient-limited conditions. We have also compared pairwise gene knockout essentiality predictions for 10 of these models. We found that varying approaches to model scope and annotation reflected the involvement of multiple research groups in model development; that single-gene essentiality predictions were affected by simulated medium, objective function, and the reference list of essential genes; and that predictive ability for single-gene essentiality did not correlate well with predictive ability for our reference list of synthetic lethal gene interactions (R = 0.159). We conclude that the reconstruction of the yeast metabolic network is indeed gradually improving through the iterative process of model development, and there remains great opportunity for advancing our understanding of biology through continued efforts to reconstruct the full biochemical reaction network that constitutes yeast metabolism. Additionally, we suggest that there is opportunity for refining the process of deriving a metabolic model from a metabolic network reconstruction to facilitate mechanistic investigation and discovery. This comparative study lays the groundwork for developing improved tools and formalized methods to quantitatively assess metabolic network reconstructions independently of any particular model application, which will facilitate ongoing efforts to advance our understanding of the relationship between genotype and cellular phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1004530
JournalPLoS computational biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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