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Biotechnol Biofuels. 2012 Sep 21;5(1):72. doi: 10.1186/1754-6834-5-72.

A constraint-based model of Scheffersomyces stipitis for improved ethanol production.

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State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, 1800 Lihu Avenue, Wuxi, Jiangsu, 214122, China.



As one of the best xylose utilization microorganisms, Scheffersomyces stipitis exhibits great potential for the efficient lignocellulosic biomass fermentation. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of its unique physiological and metabolic characteristics is required to further improve its performance on cellulosic ethanol production.


A constraint-based genome-scale metabolic model for S. stipitis CBS 6054 was developed on the basis of its genomic, transcriptomic and literature information. The model iTL885 consists of 885 genes, 870 metabolites, and 1240 reactions. During the reconstruction process, 36 putative sugar transporters were reannotated and the metabolisms of 7 sugars were illuminated. Essentiality study was conducted to predict essential genes on different growth media. Key factors affecting cell growth and ethanol formation were investigated by the use of constraint-based analysis. Furthermore, the uptake systems and metabolic routes of xylose were elucidated, and the optimization strategies for the overproduction of ethanol were proposed from both genetic and environmental perspectives.


Systems biology modelling has proven to be a powerful tool for targeting metabolic changes. Thus, this systematic investigation of the metabolism of S. stipitis could be used as a starting point for future experiment designs aimed at identifying the metabolic bottlenecks of this important yeast.

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