The metabolome and metabolic reactions

The metabolome

The metabolome is the complete set of metabolites within a cell, tissue or biological sample at any given time point. The metabolome is inherently very dynamic: small molecules are continuously absorbed, synthesised, degraded and interact with other molecules, both within and between biological systems, and with the environment. The main metabolic reactions are depicted in Figure 3 below. These cellular reactions are shown as they are represented in the Reactome database. 

Different types of metabolic reactions
Figure 3 The main types of metabolic reactions that take place in a cell

Metabolomics – a ‘snapshot’ in time

Many reactions take place continuously within cells, so concentrations of metabolites are considered to be very dynamic, and may change rapidly from one time point to the next. Current analytical techniques used to investigate metabolomics can only take a snapshot in time under a set of defined conditions.

Metabolic reactions

Metabolic pathways are essentially a series of chemical reactions, catalysed by enzymes, whereby the product of one reaction becomes the substate for the next reaction. These reactions can be divided into anabolic and catabolic.