FastKnock: an efficient next-generation approach to identify all knockout strategies for strain optimization

Leila Hassani, Mohammad R. Moosavi, Payam Setoodeh, Habil Zare

Producción científica: Articlerevisión exhaustiva


Overproduction of desired native or nonnative biochemical(s) in (micro)organisms can be achieved through metabolic engineering. Appropriate rewiring of cell metabolism is performed by making rational changes such as insertion, up-/down-regulation and knockout of genes and consequently metabolic reactions. Finding appropriate targets (including proper sets of reactions to be knocked out) for metabolic engineering to design optimal production strains has been the goal of a number of computational algorithms. We developed FastKnock, an efficient next-generation algorithm for identifying all possible knockout strategies (with a predefined maximum number of reaction deletions) for the growth-coupled overproduction of biochemical(s) of interest. We achieve this by developing a special depth-first traversal algorithm that allows us to prune the search space significantly. This leads to a drastic reduction in execution time. We evaluate the performance of the FastKnock algorithm using various Escherichia coli genome-scale metabolic models in different conditions (minimal and rich mediums) for the overproduction of a number of desired metabolites. FastKnock efficiently prunes the search space to less than 0.2% for quadruple- and 0.02% for quintuple-reaction knockouts. Compared to the classic approaches such as OptKnock and the state-of-the-art techniques such as MCSEnumerator methods, FastKnock found many more beneficial and important practical solutions. The availability of all the solutions provides the opportunity to further characterize, rank and select the most appropriate intervention strategy based on any desired evaluation index. Our implementation of the FastKnock method in Python is publicly available at .

Idioma originalEnglish (US)
Número de artículo37
PublicaciónMicrobial Cell Factories
EstadoPublished - dic 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology


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