Kinetic modelling of quantitative proteome data predicts metabolic reprogramming of liver cancer


  • N. Berndt
  • A. Egners
  • G. Mastrobuoni
  • O. Vvedenskaya
  • A. Fragoulis
  • A. Dugourd
  • S. Bulik
  • M. Pietzke
  • C. Bielow
  • R. van Gassel
  • S.W. Olde Damink
  • M. Erdem
  • J. Saez-Rodriguez
  • H.G. Holzhütter
  • S. Kempa
  • T. Cramer


  • British Journal of Cancer


  • Br J Cancer 122 (2): 233-244


  • BACKGROUND: Metabolic alterations can serve as targets for diagnosis and cancer therapy. Due to the highly complex regulation of cellular metabolism, definite identification of metabolic pathway alterations remains challenging and requires sophisticated experimentation. METHODS: We applied a comprehensive kinetic model of the central carbon metabolism (CCM) to characterise metabolic reprogramming in murine liver cancer. RESULTS: We show that relative differences of protein abundances of metabolic enzymes obtained by mass spectrometry can be used to assess their maximal velocity values. Model simulations predicted tumour-specific alterations of various components of the CCM, a selected number of which were subsequently verified by in vitro and in vivo experiments. Furthermore, we demonstrate the ability of the kinetic model to identify metabolic pathways whose inhibition results in selective tumour cell killing. CONCLUSIONS: Our systems biology approach establishes that combining cellular experimentation with computer simulations of physiology-based metabolic models enables a comprehensive understanding of deregulated energetics in cancer. We propose that modelling proteomics data from human HCC with our approach will enable an individualised metabolic profiling of tumours and predictions of the efficacy of drug therapies targeting specific metabolic pathways.