Research Highlights

Nature 461, 450 (24 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/461450c; Published online 23 September 2009

Systems biology: Metabolic map

Science 325, 1544–1549 (2009)

Researchers have reconstructed the metabolic pathways of the heat-loving bacterium Thermotoga maritima, which is found in underwater volcanic vents. The work reveals a network of 478 proteins that contain only 182 basic shapes or 'folds'.

Adam Godzik of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, California, and his colleagues combined structural-genomics and systems-biology approaches to show that most of these folds are found in proteins that are encoded by the most essential core genes, indicating that the folds perform specific chemical functions that are needed for proper metabolism.

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