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Metabolic Profiling and its Relevance

BY: Noah Machuki | Category: Applications | Submitted: 2013-04-28 21:18:24
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Article Summary: "What is Metabolic Profiling? Metabolism is the bio-chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. Metabolic profiling is defined as the use of analytical methods in measurement and interpretation of various endogenous low molecular weight and intermediates from their samples..."


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Abstract
Metabolism is the bio-chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. Metabolic profiling is defined as the use of analytical methods in measurement and interpretation of various endogenous low molecular weight and intermediates from their samples. Metabolic profiling makes use of metabolome, which is a collection of metabolites found in an organism. Both primary and secondary metabolites are necessary in this field. Xenometabolites, which are foreign metabolites, such as those caused by drugs are also useful.

Metabolic profiling has been used in detecting and analysis of metabolites both in-vivo and in-vitro. It is also used in functional genomes to compare the functions of different genes in plants. It therefore, has been applied in different field examples which are, in disease diagnosis and description and in drug development in pharmaceuticals. It is also of ecological significance, helping to determine interaction of different organisms with the environment. It hence helps assess the health of organisms from the molecular level.

Several detecting and analytic techniques are used in this field. The most powerful and widely used include: Gas chromatography linked to mass spectrometry, Liquid chromatography linked to mass spectrometry and Nuclear magnetic resonance. In this article, an anti tumor drug action and the metabolic effects caused by a drug on the phenotype of tomato and pea plants are focused as examples. Genes encoding malate synthase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase that were silenced by RNAi strategy and antisense technology in transgenic tomato plants are also given as examples. A critical thinking on cancer treatment and plant transgenic is given at the end of this work. In this study, it is advised that most sophisticated techniques of metabolic profiling are used.

METABOLIC PROFILING
Metabolic profiling is a study of chemical processes that are associated to and involve metabolites. It is a study of chemical fingerprints that are very unique and that any specific physiological processes in a cell always leave behind. Metabolic profiling can also be defined as the use of analytical methods in measurement and interpretation of various endogenous low molecular weight and intermediates from their samples. This study makes use of metabolome and it provides a critical view of the physiological characteristic of a cell, tissue or the whole organism as compared to proteomic analysis and mRNA analysis. Metabonomics and metabolomics are other terms used in description of this study.

In this article, metabolic profiling is employed to detect and assess the pathology and toxicology on transgenic tomatoes and peas plants. An anti tumor drug is focused on together with the effect of a drug to the phenotype of these plants. It explains the use of several detection and analytical techniques in separation and analysis of the metabolomes. These techniques include chromatography linked to mass spectrometry and chromatography linked to Nuclear magnetic resonance, (NMR).

A metabolome is a term used to represent all metabolites in a sample. The sample can be a cell, tissue or the whole organism. These metabolites are the end and/or intermediate products of cellular activities. They are classified into primary and secondary metabolites. Primary metabolites are those metabolites which are directly associated and involved in the organism's development, growth and reproduction. On the other hand, secondary metabolites are those metabolites which are not directly involved in the aspects named. Xenometabolites, which are metabolites as a result of foreign substances like drugs are important too. Example of primary metabolite is the alcohol produced in cellular activities. Secondary metabolites include pigments and antibiotics. In metabolomics, a metabolite is determined to have a size of less than one kilodalton. These metabolites, both primary and secondary are necessary and of interest in this study.

Metabolic profiling has been applied in many different fields. It is of great relevance and necessity to pharmaceuticals where it is used in toxicity assessment. A chemical insult to a candidate is empirically determined by detecting the physiological changes it causes to a candidate. Blood plasma and/or urine are common samples in this study. In the development of drug against diseases, it enables the evaluation of toxicity of a drug in a candidate. The effects of an anti tumor drug administered to a tomato or pea plant can be evaluated by observed at the molecular level by carrying out metabolic profiling on these plants. Therefore, if specific compounds need to be eliminated before they reach clinical trial, the metabolic profiling technique provides a cheap methodology.

Metabolic profiling is also relevant in functional genomics. It enables to determine the phenotype of an organism as a result of a specific genetic alteration or manipulation. Genomic alterations could include gene deletion and insertion among others. These studies have been used in determination of the suitability of plants which have undergone genetic manipulation to human and animal consumption among other uses of the plants. It has been used to detect the suitability of manipulating the genetic makeup tomatoes and peas. Two genes encoding malate synthase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase were silenced by RNAi strategy and antisense technology. Then the phenotype of the resultant plant was compared with that of the initial. These studies are also used to predict the function of both known and unknown genes. The prediction can be done by comparison of the metabolites produced by the function of the genes.

Metabolomics is also used in ecological studies. It is used to determine the relationship of organisms in the environment. The approach of metabolic profiling in ecological studies is used to assess an organism's health at molecular level. For instance, the metabolic process and effects of a certain pasture to ruminants can be determined. Likewise it can be used to assess of consumption of substances from genetically modified organisms by human. The relationship between different types of cancer and consumption of genetically modified food substances like corn can be solved in this study.

Different analytical techniques used. Gas chromatography is a powerful technique in this field. Especially when linked with mass spectrometry. This is because it offers a very high resolution in analysis of metabolome in samples. Mass spectrometry is a technique used in the detection of the metabolite in question. It is used for two purposes, to identify and quantify the metabolites after they have been separated. When the two techniques are linked, they have provided the most powerful tool in metabolic profiling.

Other types of chromatography are also useful in these studies. However, they provide a lower resolution as compared to Gas chromatography. High performance liquid chromatography and thin layer chromatography have been widely used when compared linked to Nuclear Magnetic Resonance as a detection method. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is a technique of detecting that does not rely on the separation of the metabolites. It also allows the recovery of the sample.

After a critical thinking, I suspect that metabolomic studies can unveil biomarkers for all diseases that affect all organisms. The relationship between cancer that afflict human and genetically modified food substances can be solved too, hence giving a lee way to the development of cancer remedies. Cancer is an abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells. Medically it is known as malignant neoplasm. The abnormal growth of cells develops into tumors, which invade different parts of the body although not all tumors are cancerous. There is a suspected substantial link between the tumors and diet. This link can be unveiled by following closely the metabolic process of the substances ingested and suspected to cause cancer. Metabolites from various samples like blood and faeces can detected and subjected into analysis. The genes that control and function to release these metabolites can be detected too and manipulated. The application of both targeted and non targeted metabolic profiling techniques can yield much is this study. Detective and analysis techniques like thin layer chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance can be used to detect and in analysis of the metabolosome in samples. Metabolic profiling can also be used to improve the fruiting of tomatoes and peas, both in quality and quantity. The genes concerned with the reproduction and the metabolites produced in the process can be subjected to study hence improving their quality and quantity.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am a professional microbiologist having a masters degree in medical microbiology and a Bachelors degree in Education Science(Biology/Chemistry).

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