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Keywords:

  • Pichia pastoris;
  • methanol metabolism;
  • metabolic pathway analysis;
  • recombinant protein synthesis

This research rationally analyzes metabolic pathways of Pichia pastoris to study the metabolic flux responses of this yeast under methanol metabolism. A metabolic model of P. pastoris was constructed and analyzed by elementary mode analysis (EMA). EMA was used to comprehensively identify the cell's metabolic flux profiles and its underlying regulation mechanisms for the production of recombinant proteins from methanol. Change in phenotypes and flux profiles during methanol adaptation with varying feed mixture of glycerol and methanol was examined. EMA identified increasing and decreasing fluxes during the glycerol–methanol metabolic shift, which well agreed with experimental observations supporting the validity of the metabolic network model. Analysis of all the identified pathways also led to the determination of the metabolic capacities as well as the optimum metabolic pathways for recombinant protein synthesis during methanol induction. The network sensitivity analysis revealed that the production of proteins can be improved by manipulating the flux ratios at the pyruvate branch point. In addition, EMA suggested that protein synthesis is optimum under hypoxic culture conditions. The metabolic modeling and analysis presented in this study could potentially form a valuable knowledge base for future research on rational design and optimization of P. pastoris by determining target genes, pathways, and culture conditions for enhanced recombinant protein synthesis. The metabolic pathway analysis is also of considerable value for production of therapeutic proteins by P. pastoris in biopharmaceutical applications. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 30:28–37, 2014