Regulation of reaction fluxes via enzyme sequestration and co-clustering

Florian Hinzpeter, Filipe Tostevin, Ulrich Gerland

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14 Scopus citations


Experimental observations suggest that cells change the intracellular localization of key enzymes to regulate the reaction fluxes in enzymatic networks. In particular, cells appear to use sequestration and co-clustering of enzymes as spatial regulation strategies. These strategies should be equally useful to achieve rapid flux regulation in synthetic biomolecular systems. Here, we leverage a theoretical model to analyse the capacity of enzyme sequestration and co-clustering to control the reaction flux in a branch of a reaction-diffusion network. We find that in both cases, the response of the system is determined by two dimensionless parameters, the ratio of total activities of the competing enzymes and the ratio of diffusion to reaction timescales. Using these dependencies, we determine the parameter range for which sequestration and co-clustering can yield a biologically significant regulatory effect. Based on the known kinetic parameters of enzymes, we conclude that sequestration and co-clustering represent a viable regulation strategy for a large fraction of metabolic enzymes, and suggest design principles for reaction flux regulation in natural or synthetic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20190444
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number156
StatePublished - 2019


  • Metabolic flux regulation
  • Purine biosynthesis pathway
  • Reaction-diffusion dynamics
  • Spatial regulation strategies


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