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Genome-wide metabolic (re-) annotation of Kluyveromyces lactis

Oscar Dias1, Andreas K Gombert2, Eugénio C Ferreira1 and Isabel Rocha1*

Author Affiliations

1 IBB – Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre of Biological Engineering, Universidade do Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057, Braga, Portugal

2 Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Sao Paulo, Polytechnic School, PO Box 61548, 05424-970, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil

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BMC Genomics 2012, 13:517  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-517

Published: 1 October 2012



Even before having its genome sequence published in 2004, Kluyveromyces lactis had long been considered a model organism for studies in genetics and physiology. Research on Kluyveromyces lactis is quite advanced and this yeast species is one of the few with which it is possible to perform formal genetic analysis. Nevertheless, until now, no complete metabolic functional annotation has been performed to the proteins encoded in the Kluyveromyces lactis genome.


In this work, a new metabolic genome-wide functional re-annotation of the proteins encoded in the Kluyveromyces lactis genome was performed, resulting in the annotation of 1759 genes with metabolic functions, and the development of a methodology supported by merlin (software developed in-house). The new annotation includes novelties, such as the assignment of transporter superfamily numbers to genes identified as transporter proteins. Thus, the genes annotated with metabolic functions could be exclusively enzymatic (1410 genes), transporter proteins encoding genes (301 genes) or have both metabolic activities (48 genes). The new annotation produced by this work largely surpassed the Kluyveromyces lactis currently available annotations. A comparison with KEGG’s annotation revealed a match with 844 (~90%) of the genes annotated by KEGG, while adding 850 new gene annotations. Moreover, there are 32 genes with annotations different from KEGG.


The methodology developed throughout this work can be used to re-annotate any yeast or, with a little tweak of the reference organism, the proteins encoded in any sequenced genome. The new annotation provided by this study offers basic knowledge which might be useful for the scientific community working on this model yeast, because new functions have been identified for the so-called metabolic genes. Furthermore, it served as the basis for the reconstruction of a compartmentalized, genome-scale metabolic model of Kluyveromyces lactis, which is currently being finished.

Genome annotation; Kluyveromyces lactis; Metabolic functions; Transport systems; Merlin