Automated generation of genome-scale metabolic draft reconstructions based on KEGG
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Bioinformatics. (2018), 19:467. 10.1186/s12859-018-2472-z
Background Constraint-based modeling is a widely used and powerful methodology to assess the metabolic phenotypes and capabilities of an organism. The starting point and cornerstone of all such modeling is a genome-scale metabolic network reconstruction. The creation, further development, and application of such networks is a growing field of research thanks to a plethora of readily accessible computational tools. While the majority of studies are focused on single-species analyses, typically of a microbe, the computational study of communities of organisms is gaining attention. Similarly, reconstructions that are unified for a multi-cellular organism have gained in popularity. Consequently, the rapid generation of genome-scale metabolic reconstructed networks is crucial. While multiple web-based or stand-alone tools are available for automated network reconstruction, there is, however, currently no publicly available tool that allows the swift assembly of draft reconstructions of community metabolic networks and consolidated metabolic networks for a specified list of organisms. Results Here, we present AutoKEGGRec, an automated tool that creates first draft metabolic network reconstructions of single organisms, community reconstructions based on a list of organisms, and finally a consolidated reconstruction for a list of organisms or strains. AutoKEGGRec is developed in Matlab and works seamlessly with the COBRA Toolbox v3, and it is based on only using the KEGG database as external input. The generated first draft reconstructions are stored in SBML files and consist of all reactions for a KEGG organism ID and corresponding linked genes. This provides a comprehensive starting point for further refinement and curation using the host of COBRA toolbox functions or other preferred tools. Through the data structures created, the tool also facilitates a comparative analysis of metabolic content in any given number of organisms present in the KEGG database. Conclusion AutoKEGGRec provides a first step in a metabolic network reconstruction process, filling a gap for tools creating community and consolidated metabolic networks. Based only on KEGG data as external input, the generated reconstructions consist of data with a directly traceable foundation and pedigree. With AutoKEGGRec, this kind of modeling is made accessible to a wider part of the genome-scale metabolic analysis community.