The identification and understanding of metabolic pathways is a key aspect in crop improvement and drug design. The common approach for their detection is based on gene annotation and ontology. Correlation-based network analysis, where metabolites are arranged into network formation, is used as a complentary tool. Here, we demonstrate the detection of metabolic pathways based on correlation-based network analysis combined with machine-learning techniques. Metabolites of known tomato pathways, non-tomato pathways, and random sets of metabolites were mapped as subgraphs onto metabolite correlation networks of the tomato pericarp. Network features were computed for each subgraph, generating a machine-learning model. The model predicted the presence of the β-alanine-degradation-I, tryptophan-degradation-VII-via-indole-3-pyruvate (yet unknown to plants), the β-alanine-biosynthesis-III, and the melibiose-degradation pathway, although melibiose was not part of the networks. In vivo assays validated the presence of the melibiose-degradation pathway. For the remaining pathways only some of the genes encoding regulatory enzymes were detected.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)