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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 627014, 10 pages
Research Article

OpenMebius: An Open Source Software for Isotopically Nonstationary 13C-Based Metabolic Flux Analysis

1Department of Bioinformatic Engineering, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Osaka University, 1-5 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
2Quantitative Biology Center, RIKEN, 6-2-3 Furuedai, Suita, Osaka 565-0874, Japan

Received 12 February 2014; Revised 17 April 2014; Accepted 8 May 2014; Published 11 June 2014

Academic Editor: Martin Robert

Copyright © 2014 Shuichi Kajihata et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The in vivo measurement of metabolic flux by 13C-based metabolic flux analysis (13C-MFA) provides valuable information regarding cell physiology. Bioinformatics tools have been developed to estimate metabolic flux distributions from the results of tracer isotopic labeling experiments using a 13C-labeled carbon source. Metabolic flux is determined by nonlinear fitting of a metabolic model to the isotopic labeling enrichment of intracellular metabolites measured by mass spectrometry. Whereas 13C-MFA is conventionally performed under isotopically constant conditions, isotopically nonstationary 13C metabolic flux analysis (INST-13C-MFA) has recently been developed for flux analysis of cells with photosynthetic activity and cells at a quasi-steady metabolic state (e.g., primary cells or microorganisms under stationary phase). Here, the development of a novel open source software for INST-13C-MFA on the Windows platform is reported. OpenMebius (Open source software for Metabolic flux analysis) provides the function of autogenerating metabolic models for simulating isotopic labeling enrichment from a user-defined configuration worksheet. Analysis using simulated data demonstrated the applicability of OpenMebius for INST-13C-MFA. Confidence intervals determined by INST-13C-MFA were less than those determined by conventional methods, indicating the potential of INST-13C-MFA for precise metabolic flux analysis. OpenMebius is the open source software for the general application of INST-13C-MFA.