MESSI: metabolic engineering target selection and best strain identification tool.
Metabolic engineering and synthetic biology are synergistically related fields for manipulating target pathways and designing microorganisms that can act as chemical factories. Saccharomyces cerevisiae's ideal bioprocessing traits make yeast a very attractive chemical factory for production of fuels, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals as well as a wide range of chemicals. However, future attempts of engineering S. cerevisiae's metabolism using synthetic biology need to move towards more integrative models that incorporate the high connectivity of metabolic pathways and regulatory processes and the interactions in genetic elements across those pathways and processes. To contribute in this direction, we have developed Metabolic Engineering target Selection and best Strain Identification tool (MESSI), a web server for predicting efficient chassis and regulatory components for yeast bio-based production. The server provides an integrative platform for users to analyse ready-to-use public high-throughput metabolomic data, which are transformed to metabolic pathway activities for identifying the most efficient S. cerevisiae strain for the production of a compound of interest. As input MESSI accepts metabolite KEGG IDs or pathway names. MESSI outputs a ranked list of S. cerevisiae strains based on aggregation algorithms. Furthermore, through a genome-wide association study of the metabolic pathway activities with the strains' natural variation, MESSI prioritizes genes and small variants as potential regulatory points and promising metabolic engineering targets. Users can choose various parameters in the whole process such as (i) weight and expectation of each metabolic pathway activity in the final ranking of the strains, (ii) Weighted AddScore Fuse or Weighted Borda Fuse aggregation algorithm, (iii) type of variants to be included, (iv) variant sets in different biological levels.Database URL: http://sbb.hku.hk/MESSI/.