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current status of pentose phosphate cycle?

Jannie Hofmeyr jhsh at maties.sun.ac.za
Thu May 19 13:53:10 EST 1994

Dear Netters

Ing-Nang Wang writes:

> I am reading something about pentose phosphate cycle.  However, I don't
> know the most current consensus on this pathway.  It seems to me that the
> early history in the study of this pathway is about the direction of flux
> of oxidative and non-oxidative branches.  In light of metabolic control
> theory and all that, what do people know about this pathway?  Have a lot of
> progress been made since the 60s?

A most interesting recent analysis of the pentose phosphate cycle in
the context of evolution of metabolism has been made by Enrique 
Melendez-Hevia, basing his views on his innovative `Game of the pentose
phosphate cycle'. He shows that the pathway found today in contemporary 
organisms is the simplest solution to the combinatorial problem of 
transforming 6 C5-sugars to 5 C6-sugars within certain chemical constraints.
These findings are then generalised to new theorems of metabolic evolution.

The reference is

Melendez-Hevia, Waddell & Montero (1994) Optimization of Metabolism:
The evolution of metabolic pathways towards simplicity through the game of
the pentose phosphate cycle.
Journal of Theoretical Biology 166, 201-220.

This paper also refers to other papers more concerned with the state-of-art 
biochemistry of the pentose phosphate cycle.

Have fun!

Jannie Hofmeyr                    InterNet e-mail: jhsh at maties.sun.ac.za
Dept. of Biochemistry                   Telephone: +27 21 8083039
University of Stellenbosch                    Fax: +27 21 8083022
Stellenbosch 7600
South Africa

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