The choice of the objective function in flux balance analysis is crucial for predicting replicative lifespans in yeast
Journal article, 2022

Flux balance analysis (FBA) is a powerful tool to study genome-scale models of the cellular metabolism, based on finding the optimal flux distributions over the network. While the objective function is crucial for the outcome, its choice, even though motivated by evolutionary arguments, has not been directly connected to related measures. Here, we used an available multi-scale mathematical model of yeast replicative ageing, integrating cellular metabolism, nutrient sensing and damage accumulation, to systematically test the effect of commonly used objective functions on features of replicative ageing in budding yeast, such as the number of cell divisions and the corresponding time between divisions. The simulations confirmed that assuming maximal growth is essential for reaching realistic lifespans. The usage of the parsimonious solution or the additional maximisation of a growth-independent energy cost can improve lifespan predictions, explained by either increased respiratory activity using resources otherwise allocated to cellular growth or by enhancing antioxidative activity, specifically in early life. Our work provides a new perspective on choosing the objective function in FBA by connecting it to replicative ageing.


Barbara Maria Schnitzer

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

University of Gothenburg

Linnea Österberg

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

University of Gothenburg

Marija Cvijovic

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences

University of Gothenburg


1932-6203 (ISSN)

Vol. 17 10 e0276112-

Subject Categories

Bioinformatics (Computational Biology)

Computer Systems

Computer Vision and Robotics (Autonomous Systems)





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