Ustilago maydis Metabolic Characterization and Growth Quantification with a Genome-Scale Metabolic Model

Ulf W. Liebal*, Lena Ullmann, Christian Lieven, Philipp Kohl, Daniel Wibberg, Thiemo Zambanini, Lars M. Blank

*Corresponding author for this work

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Ustilago maydis is an important plant pathogen that causes corn smut disease and serves as an effective biotechnological production host. The lack of a comprehensive metabolic overview hinders a full understanding of the organism’s environmental adaptation and a full use of its metabolic potential. Here, we report the first genome-scale metabolic model (GSMM) of Ustilago maydis (iUma22) for the simulation of metabolic activities. iUma22 was reconstructed from sequencing and annotation using PathwayTools, and the biomass equation was derived from literature values and from the codon composition. The final model contains over 25% annotated genes (6909) in the sequenced genome. Substrate utilization was corrected by BIOLOG phenotype arrays, and exponential batch cultivations were used to test growth predictions. The growth data revealed a decrease in glucose uptake rate with rising glucose concentration. A pangenome of four different U. maydis strains highlighted missing metabolic pathways in iUma22. The new model allows for studies of metabolic adaptations to different environmental niches as well as for biotechnological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number524
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Biotechnology
  • Constraint-based model
  • FBA
  • Genome-scale metabolic model
  • Itaconate
  • Metabolism
  • Ustilago maydis


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