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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 May;76(10):3097-105. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00115-10. Epub 2010 Mar 26.

In silico identification of gene amplification targets for improvement of lycopene production.

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Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (BK21 Program), KAIST, Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Korea.


The identification of genes to be deleted or amplified is an essential step in metabolic engineering for strain improvement toward the enhanced production of desired bioproducts. In the past, several methods based on flux analysis of genome-scale metabolic models have been developed for identifying gene targets for deletion. Genome-wide identification of gene targets for amplification, on the other hand, has been rather difficult. Here, we report a strategy called flux scanning based on enforced objective flux (FSEOF) to identify gene amplification targets. FSEOF scans all the metabolic fluxes in the metabolic model and selects fluxes that increase when the flux toward product formation is enforced as an additional constraint during flux analysis. This strategy was successfully employed for the identification of gene amplification targets for the enhanced production of the red-colored antioxidant lycopene. Additional metabolic engineering based on gene knockout simulation resulted in further synergistic enhancement of lycopene production. Thus, FSEOF can be used as a general strategy for selecting genome-wide gene amplification targets in silico.

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