Journal Article

Using chemical organization theory for model checking

Christoph Kaleta, Stephan Richter and Peter Dittrich

in Bioinformatics

Volume 25, issue 15, pages 1915-1922
Published in print August 2009 | ISSN: 1367-4803
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2059 | DOI:

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology


Show Summary Details


Motivation: The increasing number and complexity of biomodels makes automatic procedures for checking the models' properties and quality necessary. Approaches like elementary mode analysis, flux balance analysis, deficiency analysis and chemical organization theory (OT) require only the stoichiometric structure of the reaction network for derivation of valuable information. In formalisms like Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML), however, information about the stoichiometric coefficients required for an analysis of chemical organizations can be hidden in kinetic laws.

Results: First, we introduce an algorithm that uncovers stoichiometric information that might be hidden in the kinetic laws of a reaction network. This allows us to apply OT to SBML models using modifiers. Second, using the new algorithm, we performed a large-scale analysis of the 185 models contained in the manually curated BioModels Database. We found that for 41 models (22%) the set of organizations changes when modifiers are considered correctly. We discuss one of these models in detail (BIOMD149, a combined model of the ERK- and Wnt-signaling pathways), whose set of organizations drastically changes when modifiers are considered. Third, we found inconsistencies in 5 models (3%) and identified their characteristics. Compared with flux-based methods, OT is able to identify those species and reactions more accurately [in 26 cases (14%)] that can be present in a long-term simulation of the model. We conclude that our approach is a valuable tool that helps to improve the consistency of biomodels and their repositories.

Availability: All data and a JAVA applet to check SBML-models is available from


Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Journal Article.  6205 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.