Metabolic networks are interconnected pathways of biochemical reactions within living cells through which building blocks or compounds necessary for cellular functioning are assembled (anabolism) or energy and matter are produced by breaking down biomolecules (catabolism). These pathways are often organized as cycles or chains of coupled reactions, in which the product of one reaction serves as the substrate of the succeeding reaction. Although all reactions are reversible in principle, thermodynamic gradients within metabolic reactions often promote one direction, yielding a flux through the metabolic pathways. In many cases distinct pathways or reactions exist for contrary flows of matter. All processes within a metabolic network are temporally and spatially organized. Often cells contain several compartments which separate parts of its reaction network into...
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