Fluxomics – connecting ‘omics analysis and phenotypes
In our modern ‘omics era, metabolic flux analysis (fluxomics) represents the physiological counterpart of its siblings transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Fluxomics integrates in vivo measurements of metabolic fluxes with stoichiometric network models to allow the determination of absolute flux through large networks of the central carbon metabolism. There are many approaches to implement fluxomics including flux balance analysis (FBA), 13C fluxomics and 13C-constrained FBA as well as many experimental settings for flux measurement including dynamic, stationary and semi-stationary. Here we outline the principles of the different approaches and their relative advantages. We demonstrate the unique contribution of flux analysis for phenotype elucidation using a thoroughly studied metabolic reaction as a case study, the microbial aerobic/anaerobic shift, highlighting the importance of flux analysis as a single layer of data as well as interlaced in multi-omics studies.