Rhythm of the Night (and Day): Predictive Metabolic Modeling of Diurnal Growth in Chlamydomonas

mSystems. 2022 Jun 13:e0017622. doi: 10.1128/msystems.00176-22. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Economical production of photosynthetic organisms requires the use of natural day/night cycles. These induce strong circadian rhythms that lead to transient changes in the cells, requiring complex modeling to capture. In this study, we coupled times series transcriptomic data from the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to a metabolic model of the same organism in order to develop the first transient metabolic model for diurnal growth of algae capable of predicting phenotype from genotype. We first transformed a set of discrete transcriptomic measurements (D. Strenkert, S. Schmollinger, S. D. Gallaher, P. A. Salomé, et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116:2374-2383, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1815238116) into continuous curves, producing a complete database of the cell’s transcriptome that can be interrogated at any time point. We also decoupled the standard biomass formation equation to allow different components of biomass to be synthesized at different times of the day. The resulting model was able to predict qualitative phenotypical outcomes of a starchless mutant. We also extended this approach to simulate all single-knockout mutants and identified potential targets for rational engineering efforts to increase productivity. This model enables us to evaluate the impact of genetic and environmental changes on the growth, biomass composition, and intracellular fluxes for diurnal growth. IMPORTANCE We have developed the first transient metabolic model for diurnal growth of algae based on experimental data and capable of predicting phenotype from genotype. This model enables us to evaluate the impact of genetic and environmental changes on the growth, biomass composition and intracellular fluxes of the model green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The availability of this model will enable faster and more efficient design of cells for production of fuels, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

PMID:35695419 | DOI:10.1128/msystems.00176-22

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