CAMPways: constrained alignment framework for the comparative analysis of a pair of metabolic pathways
Motivation: Given a pair of metabolic pathways an alignment of the pathways corresponds to a mapping between similar substructures of the pair. Successful alignments may provide useful applications in phylogenetic tree reconstruction drug design and overall may enhance our understanding of cellular metabolism. Results: We consider the problem of providing one-to-many alignments of reactions in a pair of metabolic pathways. We first provide a constrained alignment framework applicable to the problem. We show that the constrained alignment problem even in a primitive setting is computationally intractable which justifies efforts for designing efficient heuristics. We present our Constrained Alignment of Metabolic Pathways (CAMPways) algorithm designed for this purpose. Through extensive experiments involving a large pathway database we demonstrate that when compared with a state-of-the-art alternative the CAMPways algorithm provides better alignment results on metabolic networks as far as measures based on same-pathway inclusion and biochemical significance are concerned. The execution speed of our algorithm constitutes yet another important improvement over alternative algorithms.