Bistability in glycolysis pathway as a physiological switch in energy metabolism

Bhanu Chandra Mulukutla, Andrew Yongky, Prodromos Daoutidis, Wei Shou Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The flux of glycolysis is tightly controlled by feed-back and feed-forward allosteric regulations to maintain the body's glucose homeostasis and to respond to cell's growth and energetic needs. Using a mathematical model based on reported mechanisms for the allosteric regulations of the enzymes, we demonstrate that glycolysis exhibits multiple steady state behavior segregating glucose metabolism into high flux and low flux states. Two regulatory loops centering on phosphofructokinase and on pyruvate kinase each gives rise to the bistable behavior, and together impose more complex flux control. Steady state multiplicity endows glycolysis with a robust switch to transit between the two flux states. Under physiological glucose concentrations the glycolysis flux does not move between the states easily without an external stimulus such as hormonal, signaling or oncogenic cues. Distinct combination of isozymes in glycolysis gives different cell types the versatility in their response to different biosynthetic and energetic needs. Insights from the switch behavior of glycolysis may reveal new means of metabolic intervention in the treatment of cancer and other metabolic disorders through suppression of glycolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere98756
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 9 2014


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