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Forthcoming Special Issues

18 August 2022

50 years of Metabolic Control Analysis: its past and current influence in the biological sciences

Guest editors:

Prof. David Fell; Prof. Johann Rohwer; Dr. Emma Saavedra

Special issue information:

In 1973, two papers led to the rise of Metabolic Control Analysis: “The Control of Flux” (Symp. Soc. Exp. Biol. 27, 65-104) by Kacser and Burns, and the “Linear Theory of Enzymatic Chains” (Acta Biol. Med. Ger. 31, 479-94) by Heinrich and Rapoport. Both applied sensitivity analysis to the factors that influence metabolic fluxes and concentrations, and later agreed a unified terminology under the title MCA. They showed that the dogma of control of a metabolic pathway by a rate-limiting step was too simplistic and the criteria used to identify it were unreliable. The uptake of MCA increased markedly during the 1980s as early adopters developed new experimental techniques to quantify the sensitivities.

Both groups used metabolic models and dynamic simulation to illustrate their arguments, and these tools were also more widely adopted with the growth of MCA. MCA was one of the fore-runners of Systems Biology as its influence extended beyond metabolic biochemistry into areas such as signal transduction and the cell cycle. There was throughout a strong coupling between MCA and theories of genotype-phenotype relationships, made explicit in Kacser & Burns’ 1981 paper, hence MCA continues to have applications in evolutionary genetics and genetic diseases. Current application areas include evaluating the efficacy of drug targets and targets for genetic modification in biotechnology.

Submissions of original research articles are now invited for a special issue of BioSystems to mark this anniversary. Articles should demonstrate the application of MCA within an area of biological, medical or biotechnological science.

Manuscript submission information:

Submission Deadline: 16th January 2023

Submission Link: 

Article Type Name: "VSI: MCA at 50: an update"

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