Combined overexpression of xylulokinase, pentose-phosphate-pathway enzymes and a heterologous xylose isomerase (XI) is required but insufficient for anaerobic growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae on d-xylose. Single-step Cas9-assisted implementation of these modifications yielded a yeast strain expressing Piromyces XI that showed fast aerobic growth on d-xylose. However, anaerobic growth required a 12-day adaptation period. Xylose-adapted cultures carried mutations in PMR1, encoding a Golgi Ca2+/Mn2+ ATPase. Deleting PMR1 in the parental XI-expressing strain enabled instantaneous anaerobic growth on d-xylose. In pmr1 strains, intracellular Mn2+ concentrations were much higher than in the parental strain. XI activity assays in cell extracts and reconstitution experiments with purified XI apoenzyme showed superior enzyme kinetics with Mn2+ relative to other divalent metal ions. This study indicates engineering of metal homeostasis as a relevant approach for optimization of metabolic pathways involving metal-dependent enzymes. Specifically, it identifies metal interactions of heterologous XIs as an underexplored aspect of engineering xylose metabolism in yeast.