Bidirectional Promoter

  *US09822357B2*
  US009822357B2                                 
(12)United States Patent(10)Patent No.: US 9,822,357 B2
  et al. (45) Date of Patent:Nov.  21, 2017

(54)Bidirectional promoter 
    
(75)Inventors: Technische Universität Graz,  Graz (AT); 
  ACIB GmbH,  Graz (AT) 
(73)Assignee:TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT GRAZ,  Graz (AT), Type: Foreign Company 
(*)Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days. 
(21)Appl. No.: 14/325,111 
(22)Filed: Jul.  7, 2014 
(65)Prior Publication Data 
 US 2015/0011407 A1 Jan.  8, 2015 
(30)Foreign Application Priority Data 
 Jul.  5, 2013     (EP)   13175416
Jan.  1, 2013 C 12 N 15 1086 F I Nov.  21, 2017 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 C 12 N 15 815 L I Nov.  21, 2017 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 C 12 N 15 85 L I Nov.  21, 2017 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 C 12 Q 1 6897 L I Nov.  21, 2017 US B H C Jan.  1, 2013 C 12 N 15 1051 L A Nov.  21, 2017 US B H C
(51)Int. Cl. C12N 015/10 (20060101); C12N 015/81 (20060101); C12N 015/85 (20060101); C12Q 001/68 (20060101)
(58)Field of Search  None

 
(56)References Cited
 
 U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
 6,630,324  B1*10/2003    Barski 435/320.1
 7,557,203  B2*7/2009    Linemann 435/320.1

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     * cited by examiner
 
     Primary Examiner —Mindy G Brown
     Art Unit — 1636
     Exemplary claim number — 1
 
(74)Attorney, Agent, or Firm — Loza & Loza, LLP; Michael F. Fedrick

(57)

Abstract

The invention refers to a library of bidirectional expression cassettes or expression vectors comprising a repertoire of bidirectional promoter sequences, each expression cassette comprising a promoter sequence operably linked to a first gene in one direction, and operably linked to an oppositely oriented second gene in the other direction which is different from the first gene, and bidirectional Pichia pastoris or CHO cells promoter sequences. The invention further refers to a method of screening or selecting a bidirectional promoter suitable for expressing at least two GOI in a host cell and a kit comprising
a) an expression cassette consisting of the first and second genes and a stuffer sequence separating them, which stuffer sequence comprises a recognition site for a type IIS restriction enzyme at both ends;b) the type IIS restriction enzyme;c) and a repertoire of promoter, preferably a promoter library including bidirectional promoters.
9 Claims, 82 Drawing Sheets, and 31 Figures


SEQUENCE LISTING

[0001] The entire content of a Sequence Listing titled “Sequence_Listing.txt,” created on Apr. 11, 2016 and having a size of 253 kilobytes, which has been submitted in electronic form in connection with the present application, is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention relates to a library of bidirectional expression cassettes comprising a repertoire of bidirectional promoter sequences, methods of producing and screening such library, and bidirectional promoter sequences, including isolated Pichia pastoris or CHO cell promoter sequences.

BACKGROUND ART

[0003] The production of proteins for industry or pharmacy is most commonly achieved by recombinant gene expression using heterologous host systems. The methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris is an important host system for heterologous gene expression. P. pastoris provides fast growth on simple media and is capable of providing most eukaryotic post translational modifications. Along with high capacities for protein production, P. pastoris is the only microbial expression host that provides fully humanized glycosylation (including sialylation) in engineered strains. Furthermore P. pastoris reaches exceptionally high cell densities (up to 130 g/l cell dry weight) and has high secretory capacities. As P. pastoris secretes only negligible amounts of endogenous protein, heterologous secreted proteins consist the vast majority of protein in the supernatant, thereby drastically facilitating purification and downstream processing.
[0004] When expressing a single protein, several factors influence the expression efficiency and thereby the yields. An important key factor to regulate expression is the promoter. The transcription strength of the promoter strongly influences the achieved yields. Strong promoters tend to give higher yields, but the effect is protein dependent. If other factors such as protein folding or post translational modifications are the expression limiting factor, too strong promoters might overburden the cellular machinery. In this case a weaker promoter might lead to better yields. In addition also the regulation of the promoter can influence the yields. Constitutive promoters provide more or less constant expression during the entire production process. However, the constitutive production of a protein of interest (POI) might interfere with the cellular metabolism and hamper growth, especially if the POI is toxic or difficult to express.
[0005] The coexpression of two (or more) proteins even further complicates expression efforts.
[0006] Dual gene coexpression is required when producing dimeric proteins (such as antibodies, consisting of a heavy and a light chain), an enzyme and a redox partner (such as Cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP), which require a reductase (CPR) that delivers electrons) or when expressing a gene of interest (GOI) together with a folding helper (chaperone). Even more proteins have to be coexpressed for multimeric proteins and metabolic pathways.
[0007] The coexpressed proteins have to be expressed at the most suitable expression level, ratio and most favorable regulatory profile (constitutive, inducible or tunable expression simultaneously or in consecutive manner).
[0008] As for a single gene, the expression levels of multiple genes depend on their properties and might require strong or weak promoters to drive transcription. In addition, also the ratio of the coexpressed proteins is important. Depending on their natural role, they provide strongest activity/yields when expressed at equal levels, or one of the two proteins is required in several fold excess. For human P450s and the associated reductase it has been shown that a specific ratio of CYP to CPR is required for highest activity [1].
[0009] Furthermore, for the coexpression of two genes also the time frame has to be considered as the two proteins can either be expressed simultaneously or separately with one protein preceding expression. Especially in the coexpression of a helper protein, different time windows can be beneficial. Placing the helper protein under the control of a constitutive promoter and the GOI under a regulated/inducible promoter or consecutive induction provides the helper protein as a folding catalyst before starting GOI expression with an inductor. Using this approach, the helper protein expression precedes the GOI and is abundantly available when the GOI is expressed and can right away assist in folding.
[0010] Most gene coexpression efforts in P. pastoris have relied on the use of two separate vectors, with each vector providing one of the two genes [1,2].
[0011] The two vectors can either be cotransformed in the same strain [1] or transformed in two separate strains, which are subsequently mated, resulting in a strain carrying both genes [2].
[0012] Using two vectors also requires the use of two resistance markers. Concerning transfer of the vector, mating is relatively time consuming and requires at first the generation of single strains that express the GOIs. Cotransformation of the two vectors in one strain is linked with lower transformation efficiencies and requires immediate double selection on two antibiotics which can be detrimental in a case a critical protein is expressed constitutively.
[0013] Additionally, the two GOIs have also been placed on the same vector. In this case the same monodirectional promoter was cloned in front of the two GOIs [3]. This approach solves the problem of multiple resistance markers, but poses a problem as the same promoter sequence is present on the vector twice, which can lead to undesired recombination events. In contrast to open reading frames where the same amino acid sequence can be encoded by different gene sequences due to different codons there is no general concept to diversify the DNA sequence of promoters. Therefore mostly identical or completely different promoters with different properties are used to generate expression cassettes by individual fusions of coding regions with individual promoter sequences.
[0014] Concerning monodirectional promoters, the methanol inducible AOX1 promoter and the constitutive GAP promoter are most commonly used to drive gene expression. A set number of other promoters have been reported but not described in detail and were rarely applied by a broader public so far [4].
[0015] Bidirectional promoters provide divergent expression in opposing (forward and reverse) orientations. This enables coexpression of two genes by placing them in opposing orientations and placing a bidirectional promoter in between them (see FIG. 1 B, C).
[0016] There are no bidirectional promoters described in P. pastoris. However, bidirectional promoters have been studied in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and some information on natural bidirectional promoters and their function is available.
[0017] There are few examples for bidirectional promoters in S. cerevisiae that have been described in detail. Most prominently, the divergent organization of the GAL1-GAL10 promoter was studied. The GAL1 and GAL10 genes are organized in opposite orientations, with the intergenic region constituting a bidirectional promoter [5]. Both genes are required for the galactose metabolism and are tightly transcriptionally regulated by the carbon source. The genes on both sides are strongly induced on galactose and repressed on other carbon sources [6]. Therefore this bidirectional promoter provides similar expression levels on both sides and they share the same regulatory profile with a fixed ratio between the two sides. The bidirectional GAL1-GAL10 promoter has also been provided as an expression vector for bidirectional gene expression (pESC vector series, Stratagene/Agilent, La Jolla, Calif., USA). The GAL1-GAL10 promoter was also used to study a human heterodimeric transcription factor composed of aryl hydrocarbon receptor and aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator [7]. In frame of this work also a constitutive bidirectional promoter was described by fusing the GPD and ADH1 promoters in opposite directions to each other. A similar fusion of constitutive promoters was performed by [8] using TEF1 and PGK1 in opposite orientations. The GAL1 and GAL10 sides of the GAL1-GAL10 promoter have furthermore been coupled with the constitutive GPD promoter, leading to bidirectional promoters with constitutive expression on one side and inducible expression on the other [9]. The two differently regulated sides did not influence each other and retained their regulatory profile and more than 85% of their monodirectional activity.
[0018] Another specific example of a bidirectional promoter in yeast is the UGA3-GLT1 intergenic region, which was shown to be affected by chromatin organization, but which was not tested as a promoter for bidirectional expression vectors [10].
[0019] Recent publications on genome wide analysis of natural bidirectional promoters in S. cerevisiae have shown that they are rather not involved in specific, high level expression, but rather in cryptic and pervasive transcription of the entire genome at low levels [11,12]. Namely, it was shown that weak pervasive transcription occurs in bidirectional fashion, and that the number of bidirectional promoters is significantly higher than previously estimated. Bidirectional pervasive transcription occurs not only next to protein coding sequences but also in intergenic regions [11]. These studies also suggested that bidirectionality is an intrinsic trait of eukaryotic promoters, leading in the majority of cases to short-lived unstable transcripts but also stable transcripts with a possible regulatory role [12]. The exact function of this pervasive bidirectional transcription is not fully understood, but they might play regulatory roles or help in maintaining chromatin structure [11].
[0020] Bidirectional promoters have also been studied in higher eukaryotes, namely in plants [13] and mammalian cells. Concerning mammalian cells bidirectional expression has been engineered using antibiotic regulated synthetic bidirectional promoters by tetracycline [14,15], pristinamycin [16] and two antibiotics at the same time (using a macrolide antibiotic on one side and a streptogramin antibiotic on the other side) [17]. Also sequence based approaches for promoter engineering of bidirectional promoters and natural bidirectional promoters were used in mammalian expression systems [18,19]. However, no library approach was applied so far to optimize expression by testing different bidirectional promoters to influence expression levels and ratios of coexpressed proteins.
[0021] Currently available bidirectional expression vectors rely on a bidirectional promoter flanked by two multiple cloning sites to clone in the genes to be expressed (FIG. 1 B). Although they facilitate cloning compared to dual gene expression with monodirectional promoters (FIG. 1 A), these vectors contain only a single bidirectional promoter. If different bidirectional promoters should be tested, a separate cloning vector is required for each promoter. Concomitantly this requires also multiple cloning steps for each gene pair into the vectors. Examples for such vectors have been mentioned above in S. cerevisiae [7,9] and there are bidirectional expression vectors available for mammalian cells (Clontech) and a specific, restriction site based screening vector for bidirectional elements [20]. However restriction sites with their palindromic sequences in front of the translation start can influence heterologous protein expression.
[0022] The Clontech vectors provide either bidirectional constitutive or bidirectional inducible expression with identical expression levels on both sides. These vectors have been optimized to facilitate the screening of a single gene. Therefore both sides provide identical expression. One side drives the expression of the GOI whereas the other side drives the expression of a reporter gene. If no activity assay or easy way of detection of the GOI is available, the reporter gene can help to screen for efficient expression of the GOI thereby avoiding the frequently applied fusion of the GOI to a fluorescent reporter protein.
[0023] Currently available bidirectional vectors [7,9] rely on a fixed bidirectional promoter and subsequent cloning steps using multiple cloning sites (MCS) (see FIG. 1 B and FIG. 2 A). Polson et al. [20] describe a vector that allows to test different promoters by restriction/ligation cloning which depends on the introduction of specific restriction sites at the end of each of the tested promoter sequences.
[0024] US20130157308A1 describes a bidirectional expression vector that can be utilized to determine the existence and characteristics of bidirectional promoters. The bidirectional expression vector includes two different reporter genes in a head to head (5′ to 5′) arrangement. In addition, the bidirectional expression vector can include a polylinker region located between the heads of the two reporter genes that provides multiple cloning sites for nonexclusive examination of polynucleotide sequences.
[0025] Currently used bidirectional promoters provide a very limited set of expression levels, ratios and regulatory profiles. In S. cerevisiae only five bidirectional promoters have been tested for expression vectors: 1) the natural GAL1-GAL10 promoter providing galactose inducible expression with the same strength on both sides, 2) a GPD and ADH1 fusion promoter [7], 3) a TEF1 and PGK1 fusion promoter [8] providing constitutive expression with the same strength on both sides and fusions of the 4) GAL1 sides with the GPD promoter and 5) the GAL10 side with the GPD promoter [9].
[0026] Notably these promoters provide only identical expression levels (strong expression) and a fixed ratio (approximately equal 1:1 ratio) on both sides [7] and the regulatory profiles are limited to constitutive expression and inducible expression using galactose.
[0027] Therefore, there are no bidirectional promoters that provide intermediate or low expression and with the currently known four promoters it is not possible to achieve different expression ratios of multiple genes to tune expression ratios for maximal yields of recombinant proteins or cellular metabolites from expressed pathways. Furthermore inducible expression can only be achieved using galactose. For example no auto regulatory bidirectional promoters and feedback loops are available for expression in yeasts.
[0028] Fine-tuning and optimizing the expression of a gene pair or multiple genes requires a broader scope of expression levels, ratios and time profiles.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0029] It is the object of the present invention to provide for alternative bidirectional promoter sequences suitable for recombinant production methods of producing composite proteins or metabolites of a metabolic pathway employing at least two different genes.
[0030] The object is solved by the subject matter as claimed.
[0031] According to the invention there is provided a library of bidirectional expression cassettes comprising a repertoire of bidirectional promoter sequences, each expression cassette comprising a promoter sequence operably linked to a first gene in one direction, and operably linked to an oppositely oriented second gene in the other direction which is different from the first gene.
[0032] According to the invention there is further provided a library of expression vectors, each comprising at least one expression cassette of the invention.
[0033] Hereinafter, the term “library” or “library of the invention” refers to any one or both of the library of expression cassettes and library of expression vectors.
[0034] The library of the invention is specifically characterized by the genes employed, which genes may include any GOI or pairs of GOI to be coexpressed. Specifically, the genes comprise a GOI and/or reporter gene, preferably genes encoding protein components of the same composite protein or protein complex, preferably wherein the composite protein is a heterodimeric protein, or preferably wherein the protein complex is formed by interaction of the protein components, or preferably wherein one protein supports folding and/or targeting of another protein or preferably wherein the genes are of the same metabolic or regulatory pathway, including signaling pathways and transcription factors, or of one pathway which supports other pathways, such as energy generating pathways, ATP production, cofactor regeneration.
[0035] Specifically, the promoter sequence is selected from the group consisting of a natural promoter sequence or pairs of natural promoter sequences of Pichia pastoris or CHO cells fused in opposite orientation, preferably selected from the group consisting of the sequences of SEQ ID NO:1-95 or SEQ ID NO:114-181, or functionally active variants thereof, preferably deletion variants, truncations or repeats thereof.
[0036] Specifically, the repertoire of the promoter sequences comprises at least one natural promoter sequence of P. pastoris or pairs of such natural promoter sequences fused in opposite orientation, preferably selected from the group consisting of the sequences of SEQ ID NO:1-38, or SEQ ID NO:96-125, or functionally active variants thereof, preferably deletion variants, truncations or repeats of any of SEQ ID NO:1-38 or SEQ ID NO:126-135, or methanol inducible variants thereof obtainable by fusing core promoter regions of any of SEQ ID 1-38 to cis-acting regulatory elements of methanol inducible promoters, preferably selected from the group consisting of the sequences of SEQ ID 39-95 or SEQ ID NO:136-165.
[0037] In addition, the invention refers to further functionally active variants or artificial promoter sequences as detailed below, e.g. in the examples section, including the tables and sequence listing. Specific bidirectional promoter sequences of the present invention are described in the tables or sequence listing below.
[0038] It is well understood that the bidirectional promoter sequences provided herein and specifically described in the tables or sequence listing below shall include the specified promoter sequences and the complementary sequences, which are used, e.g. for transcription in the opposite direction.
[0039] Specifically, the repertoire comprises at least 2 library members, each comprising the same promoter sequence in opposite orientation.
[0040] Specifically, the repertoire comprises artificial promoter sequences, preferably at least 50 different promoter sequences, more preferably at least 100, or at least 1000, or at least 10000, preferably wherein each of the different promoter sequences has a proven bidirectional transcription activity.
[0041] According to the invention there is further provided a method of producing a library of the invention, comprising

a) providing an expression cassette consisting of the first and second genes and a stuffer sequence separating them, which stuffer sequence comprises a recognition site for a type IIS restriction enzyme at both ends;

b) cleaving the stuffer sequence using the type IIS restriction enzyme resulting in ligation ends at the start codons of the genes;

c) introducing a repertoire of promoter sequences to obtain a repertoire of expression cassettes; and optionally

d) engineering a repertoire of expression vectors by introducing the repertoire of expression cassettes into a suitable vector.

[0042] The repertoire of promoter sequences may be introduced by a well-known cloning method, such as for example by a conventional cloning method or by TA cloning or Gibson assembly.
[0043] Specifically, the repertoire of promoter sequences comprises natural and/or synthetic nucleotide sequences of 100 base lengths to 5000 base lengths, preferably obtained by recombination of artificial random sequences, such as oligos, or mutagenesis of a parent promoter sequence, preferably wherein the parent promoter sequence is a natural promoter sequence or pairs of natural promoter sequences of P. pastoris fused in opposite orientation, preferably selected from the group consisting of the sequences of SEQ ID 1-38, or SEQ ID NO:96-125, or functionally active variants thereof, preferably deletion variants, truncations or repeats of any of SEQ ID NO:1-38 or SEQ ID NO:126-135, or methanol inducible variants thereof obtainable by fusing core promoter regions of any of SEQ ID 1-38 to cis-acting regulatory elements of methanol inducible promoters, preferably selected from the group consisting of the sequences of SEQ ID 39-95 or SEQ ID NO:136-165.
[0044] According to the invention there is further provided an isolated bidirectional Pichia pastoris promoter sequence, which when operably linked to a first gene in one direction and operably linked to an oppositely oriented second gene in the other direction, has bidirectional transcription activity, preferably with different transcription strength and/or ratios and/or regulatory profiles in each direction.
[0045] Specifically, the promoter sequence is selected from the group consisting of a natural promoter sequence or pairs of natural promoter sequences of Pichia pastoris fused in opposite orientation, preferably selected from the group consisting of the sequences of SEQ ID NO:1-165, or functionally active variants thereof, preferably deletion variants, truncations or repeats thereof.
[0046] More specifically, the promoter sequence is selected from the group consisting of a natural promoter sequence or pairs of natural promoter sequences of Pichia pastoris fused in opposite orientation, preferably selected from the group consisting of the sequences of SEQ ID NO:1-38, or SEQ ID NO:96-125 or functionally active variants thereof, preferably deletion variants, truncations or repeats of any of SEQ ID NO:1-38 or SEQ ID NO:126-135, or methanol inducible variants thereof obtainable by fusing core promoter regions of any of SEQ ID 1-38 to cis-acting regulatory elements of methanol inducible promoters, preferably selected from the group consisting of the sequences of SEQ ID 39-95 or SEQ ID NO:136-165.
[0047] According to the invention there is further provided an expression cassette or expression vector comprising the promoter sequence of the invention.
[0048] According to the invention there is further provided a host cell comprising the expression cassette or vector of the invention.
[0049] According to the invention there is further provided a method of screening or selecting a bidirectional promoter suitable for expressing at least two GOI in a host cell which comprises

a) providing a library of the invention, comprising the at least two GOI as the first and second genes;

b) selecting a library member which has a proven bidirectional transcription activity; and

[0050] c) identifying the bidirectional promoter sequence comprised in the selected library member and/or using the same for producing an expression construct to express said at least two GOI under the transcriptional control of said bidirectional promoter sequence.
[0051] Specifically, the transcription activity is qualitatively and/or quantitatively determined, preferably by in vitro or in vivo methods.
[0052] Specifically, the library member is selected according to the transcription activity of the first and second genes, which is differently regulated, preferably any of a constitutive activity, or activity induced or derepressed by a carbon source.
[0053] According to the invention there is further provided a kit for use in the method of the invention, comprising
[0054] a) an expression cassette consisting of the first and second genes and a stuffer sequence separating them, or an expression vector comprising such expression cassette, which stuffer sequence comprises a recognition site for a type IIS restriction enzyme at both ends;
b) the type IIS restriction enzyme;
c) and a repertoire of promoter, preferably a promoter library including bidirectional promoter.
[0055] Specifically, the library of the invention is used for screening or selecting a bidirectional promoter suitable for expressing at least two GOI by a single expression cassette or by a single vector.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0056] FIGS. 1A and 1B: Conventional dual gene expression vector with two monodirectional promoters
[0057] FIG. 1B: Conventional bidirectional expression vector with a fixed bidirectional promoter
[0058] FIG. 1C: New bidirectional expression vector allowing the replacement of a stuffer fragment with a library of bidirectional promoters. The number of restriction enzymes (REs) and the respective sites required for cloning are indicated by the abbreviations RE1-6 and lines. Multiple cloning sites (MCS) and genes to be cloned are shown in parallel.
[0059] FIG. 2A: Cloning of genes of interest into conventional bidirectional vectors. The two genes have to be cloned into the vector using four different enzymes from the two multiple cloning sites (MCS). The cloning steps can either be performed sequentially or with lower efficiencies simultaneously (dashed arrow). This procedure relies on the use of a single bidirectional promoter and does not allow simple testing of multiple promoters.
[0060] FIG. 2B: Vector generation and cloning strategy with new bidirectional vectors. An entry vector is assembled by fusing the coding sequences to a stuffer fragment by overlap extension PCR. This expression cassette is cloned into a starting vector by conventional restriction enzyme digestion and ligation. Subsequently the entry vector is digested with a type IIS restriction enzyme, thereby removing the stuffer fragment and allowing the direct cloning of a library of PCR amplified bidirectional promoters
[0061] FIG. 3: type II restriction enzyme recognition sequences (EcoRI and EcoRV) and type IIS restriction enzyme recognition sequences (BsaI, MlyI, BmrI). The enzymes shown on top create sticky/cohesive ends, whereas the enzymes on the bottom create blunt ends.
[0062] FIG. 4: Detailed depiction of TA cloning based vector assembly. The entry vector is digested with a type IIS restriction enzyme creating a 3′ overhang. The figure shows the use of BmrI, the recognition sequence is written bold in uppercase in italics. The entire recognition sequence including variable parts is underlined. Note that the site was carefully placed to create a 3′ thymidine overhang in the start codons on the vector that can be ligated with an adenine tailed PCR fragment of a bidirectional promoter. The start codons of the two genes are highlighted in bold and the cleavage pattern of BmrI is shown in italics and underlined. The bidirectional promoter can insert either in forward or reverse orientation.
[0063] FIG. 5: TA cloning vector for screening of promoters with a single reporter gene.
[0064] FIG. 6: TA cloning vector for screening of bidirectional promoters with two reporter genes.
[0065] FIG. 7: Expression levels of several natural bidirectional promoters on different carbon sources. The strains were grown on the respective carbon sources for 24 h and assayed for reporter gene fluorescence. The GFP fluorescence represents the downstream side of the promoter, whereas RFP reflects the upstream side. For the GFP side, the commonly used GAP promoter was included as a reference. Nb1 and 4 to 10 are Natbidi 1 and 4 to 10 (SEQ ID NO:25 to 32).
[0066] FIG. 8: Expression levels of wild type histone promoters. The putative bidirectional promoters were cloned into the reporter vector and tested in both orientation (forward, fwd and reverse, rev). pHTX1, pHHX1 and pHHX2 showed strong expression, whereas the other histone promoters showed rather weak expression.
[0067] FIG. 9: Deletion variants and truncations of the pHHX2 promoter. A: Single deletion variants (D1 to D15) B: Both-sided truncations. C: Deletion variants S1 to S5 of longer stretches and two or three simultaneous deletions.
[0068] FIG. 10: Reporter fluorescence of deletion variants and truncations of the pHHX2 promoter. The variants exhibit up to 55% increased expression levels, different expression levels and ratios.
[0069] FIG. 11: Synthetic bidirectional promoters based on histone core promoters and regulatory elements of methanol inducible promoters. Different lengths of core promoters and different regulatory elements from methanol inducible promoters were tested. Elements are not drawn to scale. The artificially designed promoters were ordered as fully synthetic DNA fragments (see SEQ ID NO: 67 to SEQ ID NO: 78).
[0070] FIG. 12: Expression levels of the synthetic bidirectional promoters cloned into a reporter vector. The promoters were cloned into the vector in forward orientation; therefore GPP fluorescence correlates with the expression of the HHF2 side and RFP with the HHT2 side. The promoters were at first grown on glucose for 60 h showing a tight repression of all promoters except SynBidi11 and 12. Subsequently, the promoters were induced with methanol showing strong expression (Synbidi 1 to 4), intermediate expression (Synbidi 9 and 10) and low expression (Synbidi 5 to 8). Synbidi 11 and 12 showed either a constitutive or derepressed regulatory profile.
[0071] FIG. 13: Deletion variants of 1000 bp fragments of the DAS1 and DAS2 promoters. The deletions were selected based on homologies between the DAS1 and DAS2 promoters and the sequences of other strong methanol inducible promoters.
[0072] FIG. 14: Expression levels of the DAS1,2 deletion variants shown in FIG. 13. The variants were assembled by olePCR, cloned in front of a GFP reporter promoter, induced with methanol and compared to the wild type promoter (WT). NC denotes a negative control of the untransformed wildtype strain.
[0073] FIG. 15: Screening data for fusions of bidirectional pDAS1 and pDAS2 deletion variants. The RFU/OD600 values of three representative rescreening clones per construct were averaged; the strains were grown in DWPs for 48 h on methanol.
[0074] FIG. 16: pCAT1 and pPEX5 show clearly derepression, pADH2 a partially derepression effect. Pre-cultures of reporter strains with the three promoters were grown under derepressing conditions (starting phase on glucose followed by starvation without a carbon source). Subsequently the cultures were shifted to fresh glucose medium and a time series was measured. The expression levels of pCAT1 and pPEX5 decreased strongly, indicating repression on glucose. Subsequently, after glucose was depleted (approximately at 12 to 16 h, data of glucose measurements not shown), there expression increased drastically in an auto-regulated fashion.
[0075] FIG. 17: Expression levels of monodirectional promoters of the pentose phosphate pathway. The promoters show different expression levels and regulatory profiles. RPE2, TAL2, RKI1 are methanol inducible, TKL1 and TAL1 down regulated on methanol and ZWF1 is constitutive. CBS7435 is the untransformed wildtype strain.
[0076] FIG. 18: Expression levels of semi-synthetic bidirectional fusion promoters. The natural bidirectional promoter of the DAS1,2 genes is shown as a reference.
[0077] FIG. 19: eGFP reporter fluorescence of methanol inducible fusion promoters BZF1 to BZF8. Strains were grown of 60 h on glucose and subsequently induced for 24 h with methanol and reporter gene fluorescence measured.
[0078] FIG. 20: Screening data for bidirectionalized promoters. The RFU/OD600 after growth on glucose for 60 h (d0) and subsequent methanol induction (24 h) are shown.
[0079] FIG. 21: Bidirectional entry vector for testing different bidirectional promoters for CYP+CPR coexpression.
[0080] FIG. 22: CYP expression levels monitored by CO differential spectra. The screening landscapes from approximately 75 transformants per construct are shown. High expression is reflected by a pronounced peak at 450 nm. Constructs with the CYP under control methanol inducible promoters (DAS, AOX1, CAT1) were grown on methanol whereas constructs with the CYP under control of a constitutive promoter (GAP, TEF1) were grown on glucose.
[0081] FIG. 23: Bidirectional entry vector for testing different bidirectional promoters for CalB+PDI coexpression.
[0082] FIG. 24: CalB activities in strains with various bidirectional promoters used for coexpressing PDI. The screening landscapes from approximately 75 transformants per construct are shown. Constructs with CalB under control of methanol inducible promoters (DAS, AOX1, CAT1) were grown on methanol whereas constructs with the CYP under control of a constitutive promoter (GAP, HTX1, HHX2) were grown on glucose
[0083] FIG. 25: Promoter sequences
[0084] FIG. 26: Table 4

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0085] Specific terms as used throughout the specification have the following meaning.
[0086] The term “bidirectional” with respect to a promoter and transcription of a nucleotide sequence shall refer to transcription in both directions of a nucleic acid sequence.
[0087] In particular, bidirectional promoters are double-strand transcription control elements that can drive expression of at least two separate sequences, e.g. coding or non-coding sequences, in opposite directions. Such promoter sequences may be composed of two individual promoter sequences acting in opposite directions, such as one nucleotide sequence is linked to the other (complementary) nucleotide sequence, including packaging constructs comprising the two promoters in opposite directions, e.g. by hybrid, chimeric or fused sequences comprising the two individual promoter sequences, or at least core sequences thereof, or else by only one transcription regulating sequence that can initiate the transcription in both directions. The two individual promoter sequences may be juxtaposed or a linker sequence can be located between the first and second sequences. Specifically, a promoter sequence may be reversed to be combined with another promoter sequence in the opposite orientation. Still, genes located on both sides of a bidirectional promoter can be operably linked to a single transcription control sequence or region that drives the transcription in both directions.
[0088] For example, a first gene can be operably linked to the bidirectional promoter with or without further regulatory elements, such as a reporter or terminator elements, and a second gene can be operably linked to the bidirectional promoter in the opposite direction and by the complementary promoter sequence, again with or without further regulatory elements.
[0089] An expression construct incorporating such bidirectional promoter as described herein comprises a bidirectional arrangement of elements, e.g. a bidirectional architecture of a vector.
[0090] Though the sequences controlling the transcription in one and the other direction may be the same, it is preferred that the sequences are different in sequence, structure and function, e.g. promoter sequences of different transcriptional activity or strength, e.g. to obtain different transcription or expression levels and a specific transcription or expression ratio, or differently regulated with a specific regulatory profile. For example, the promoter may be constitutive, inducible and/or repressible and/or de-repressible, e.g. by a specific carbon source, such as methanol, or by specific chemicals, antibiotics or environmental factors. Therefore, the bidirectional promoter may e.g. be a constitutive promoter in one direction, and regulated differently in the other direction, e.g. inducible and/or repressible and/or de-repressible, which enables the specific co-expression of genes that is dependent on cultivation conditions. In another example, the bidirectional promoter can be inducible and/or repressible and/or de-repressible, however, by means of different trigger of the promoter activity, such as different carbon-source or a different amount or limitation of carbon-source.
[0091] The term “expression cassette” refers to nucleic acid molecules containing a desired coding sequence and control sequences in operable linkage, so that hosts transformed or transfected with these sequences are capable of producing the encoded polypeptides or host cell metabolites. In order to effect transformation, the expression system may be included in a vector; however, the relevant DNA may also be integrated into the host chromosome. Expression may refer to secreted or non-secreted expression products, including polypeptides or metabolites. Specifically, an expression cassette of the invention is also called “bidirectional expression cassette”.
[0092] “Expression vectors” used herein are defined as constructs including DNA sequences that are required for the transcription of cloned recombinant nucleotide sequences, i.e. of recombinant genes and the translation of their mRNA in a suitable host organism. Expression vectors usually comprise an origin for autonomous replication in the host cells, selectable markers, a number of restriction enzyme cleavage sites, a suitable promoter sequence and a transcription terminator, which components are operably linked together. The term “vector” as used herein specifically includes autonomously replicating nucleotide sequences as well as genome integrating nucleotide sequences. Specifically, an expression vector of the invention is also called “bidirectional expression vector”.
[0093] The expression cassette or vector of the invention specifically comprises a promoter of the invention, operably linked to two non-coding or coding regions of nucleotide sequences located on both sides of the promoter, in opposite directions, e.g. two different genes encoding a POI or reporter under the transcriptional control of said promoter, which promoter is not natively associated with the genes.
[0094] The term “gene of interest” or GOI as used herein shall refer to any coding gene, e.g. encoding a protein of interest (POI), including polypeptides, or else reporter compounds. A POI may either be a polypeptide or protein, e.g. a recombinant protein not naturally occurring in the host cell, i.e. a heterologous protein, or else may be native to the host cell, i.e. a homologous protein to the host cell, but is produced, for example, by transformation with a vector containing the nucleic acid sequence encoding the POI, or upon integration by recombinant techniques of one or more copies of the nucleic acid sequence encoding the POI into the genome of the host cell, or by recombinant modification of one or more regulatory sequences controlling the expression of the gene encoding the POI, e.g. of the promoter sequence. The expression product of a gene of interest is typically a protein, or a metabolite mediated by such protein, e.g. a product of a metabolic pathway. Alternatively, genes of regulatory pathways may be included according to the invention, e.g. signaling pathways, or transcription factors.
[0095] The genes as used according to the invention may encode parts of a protein, e.g. protein chains or protein domains. By the co-expression of such genes, e.g. employing the bidirectional constructs of the invention, a composite protein may be expressed, e.g. a heterodimeric or multimeric protein comprising encoded by at least two different genes. Alternatively, a protein complex may be expressed by coexpressing at least two proteins, which either interact with each other, e.g. an enzyme and a co-factor or substrate, or a protein and a factor processing the protein, e.g. folding such protein, or cleaving such protein, e.g. for secretion or maturation purposes. Alternatively, a series of genes may be co-expressed, which are part of a metabolic pathway to produce a cell metabolite. Further examples refer to elements of pathways, such as energy generating pathways, ATP production, or cofactor regeneration.
[0096] Genes of interest may be e.g. the genes coding for any of the above-mentioned polypeptides of interest. The expression construct of the invention may also be used for expression of marker genes, reporter genes, amplifiable genes, or the like.
[0097] The term “cell” or “host cell” as used herein refers to a cell or an established clone of a particular cell type that has acquired the ability to proliferate over a prolonged period of time. A host cell particularly includes a recombinant construct, e.g. engineered to express recombinant genes or products. The term “host cell” also refers to a recombinant cell line as used for expressing a gene or products of a metabolic pathway to produce polypeptides or cell metabolites mediated by such polypeptides, including production cell lines, which are ready-to-use for cultivation in a bioreactor to obtain the product of a production process, such as a protein of interest (POI) or a cell metabolite. The cells may be specifically eukaryotic, including mammalian, insect, yeast, filamentous fungi and plant cells. It is well understood that the term does not include human beings.
[0098] The term “isolated” as used herein with respect to a nucleic acid such as a promoter of the invention shall refer to such compound that has been sufficiently separated from the environment with which it would naturally be associated, so as to exist in “substantially pure” form. “Isolated” does not necessarily mean the exclusion of artificial or synthetic mixtures with other compounds or materials, or the presence of impurities that do not interfere with the fundamental activity, and that may be present, for example, due to incomplete purification. In particular, isolated nucleic acid molecules of the present invention are also meant to include those chemically synthesized. This term specifically refers to a DNA molecule that is separated from sequences with which it is immediately contiguous in the naturally occurring genome of the organism in which it originated. For example, an “isolated promoter” may comprise a DNA molecule inserted into a vector, such as a plasmid, or integrated into the genomic DNA of a host organism. An isolated promoter may further represent a molecule produced directly by biological or synthetic means and separated from other components present during its production.
[0099] The term “repertoire” as used herein refers to a mixture or collection of nucleic acid sequences, such as promoter, expression cassettes, or vectors, or host cells comprising such repertoire, that are characterized by sequence diversity. The individual members of a repertoire may have common features, such as a common core structure and/or a common function, e.g. a specific promoter activity. Within a repertoire there are usually “variants” of a nucleic acid sequence, such as a variety of promoter sequences, which are derived from a parent sequence through mutagenesis methods, or synthetically produced, e.g. through randomization techniques. Likewise, the term “library” as used herein refers to a variety of nucleic acid sequences or constructs or cells comprising such nucleic acid sequences, e.g. including a repertoire or a selected population of library members with common features. The library is composed of members, each of which has a single nucleic acid sequence. To this extent, “library” is synonymous with “repertoire.” Hereinafter the term “kit” is also used synonymous with “library”. Sequence differences between library members are responsible for the diversity present in the library.
[0100] The term “operably linked” as used herein refers to the association of nucleotide sequences on a single nucleic acid molecule, e.g. an expression cassette or a vector, in a way such that the function of one or more nucleotide sequences is affected by at least one other nucleotide sequence present on said nucleic acid molecule. For example, a promoter is operably linked with a coding sequence of a recombinant gene, when it is capable of effecting the expression of that coding sequence. As a further example, a nucleic acid encoding a signal peptide is operably linked to a nucleic acid sequence encoding a POI, when it is capable of expressing a protein.
[0101] The term “promoter” as used herein refers to a DNA sequence capable of controlling the expression of a coding sequence or functional RNA. The promoter of the invention specifically initiates, regulates, or otherwise mediates or controls the expression of a coding DNA. Promoter DNA and coding DNA may be from the same gene or from different genes, and may be from the same or different organisms.
[0102] Promoter activity is typically assessed by its transcriptional efficiency. This may be determined directly by measurement of the amount of mRNA transcription from the promoter, e.g. by Northern Blotting or indirectly by measurement of the amount of gene product expressed from the promoter.
[0103] The strength of the promoter of the invention specifically refers to its transcription strength, represented by the efficiency of initiation of transcription occurring at that promoter with high or low frequency. The higher transcription strength the more frequently transcription will occur at that promoter. Promoter strength is important, because it determines how often a given mRNA sequence is transcribed, effectively giving higher priority for transcription to some genes over others, leading to a higher concentration of the transcript. A gene that codes for a protein that is required in large quantities, for example, typically has a relatively strong promoter. The RNA polymerase can only perform one transcription task at a time and so must prioritize its work to be efficient. Differences in promoter strength are selected to allow for this prioritization.
[0104] The strength or relative strength of the bidirectional promoter activity, herein also referred to as transcription or expression ratio, may be determined by comparing the frequency of transcription or the transcription rate, e.g. as determined by the amount of a transcript in a suitable assay, e.g. qRT-PCR or Northern blotting. The strength of a promoter to express a gene of interest is commonly understood as the expression strength or the capability of support a high expression level or rate.
[0105] The transcription rate may be determined by the transcription strength on a microarray, or with quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR). Preferably the transcription analysis is qualitative, quantitative or semi-quantitative, e.g. employing a microarray, Northern Blot, RNA sequencing or qRT-PCR, or else in a cell culture, such as by measuring the quantity of respective gene expression products in recombinant cells.
[0106] The term “variant” as used herein in the context of the present invention shall specifically refer to any sequence derived from a parent sequence, e.g. by size variation, e.g. elongation or fragmentation, mutation, hybridization (including combination of sequences), or with a specific degree of homology, or analogy.
[0107] The invention specifically provides for bidirectional promoter which is a wild-type promoter, e.g. of P. pastoris, or a functionally active variant thereof, e.g. capable of controlling the transcription of a specific gene in a wild-type or recombinant eukaryotic cell.
[0108] The functionally active variant promoter may e.g. be derived from any of the natural promoter sequences of P. pastoris, specifically any one of SEQ ID 1-38, by mutagenesis, thus employing the wild-type sequence as a “parent” sequence, to produce sequences suitable for use as a promoter in recombinant cell lines. Such variant promoter may be obtained from a promoter library of artificial or mutant sequences by selecting those library members with predetermined properties. Variant promoters may have the same or even improved properties, e.g. improved in promoter strength to support POI production, or with the same or changed regulatory profile.
[0109] The variant promoter may also be derived from analogous sequences, e.g. from eukaryotic species other than P. pastoris or from a genus other than Pichia, such as from K. lactis, Z. rouxii, P. stipitis, H. polymorpha. Specifically, the analogous promoter sequences natively associated with genes analogous to the corresponding P. pastoris genes may be used as such or as parent sequences to produce functionally active variants thereof. The properties of such analogous promoter sequences or functionally active variants thereof may be determined using standard techniques.
[0110] The “functionally active” variant of a nucleotide or promoter sequence as used herein specifically means a mutant sequence, e.g. resulting from modification of a parent sequence by insertion, deletion or substitution of one or more nucleotides within the sequence or at either or both of the distal ends of the sequence, and which modification does not affect or impair the activity of this sequence.
[0111] Specifically, the functionally active variant of the promoter sequence according to the invention is selected from the group consisting of
[0112] homologs with at least about 60% nucleotide sequence identity, preferably at least 70%, at least 80%, or at least 90% degree of homology or sequence identity to the parent sequence; and/or
[0113] homologs obtainable by modifying the parent nucleotide sequence used as a template to provide for mutations, e.g. by insertion, deletion or substitution of one or more nucleotides within the sequence or at either or both of the distal ends of the sequence; and
[0114] analogs derived from species other than P. pastoris.
[0115] The promoter of the invention may comprise or consist of a nucleotide sequence of 80 bp to 1500 bp, preferably at least 100 bp, at least 200 bp, preferably at least 300 bp, more preferred at least 400 bp, at least 500 bp, at least 600 bp, at least 700 bp, at least 800 bp, at least 900 bp, or at least 1000 bp.
[0116] Specifically preferred functionally active variants are those derived from a promoter according to the invention by modification, extension and/or fragments of the promoter sequence, which comprises e.g. a core promoter region and additional nucleotides.
[0117] The core promoter region is understood in the following way. The promoter of the invention may include an expression regulation system comprising a transcription factor region and a core promoter region. A transcription factor region can have various positions related to a core promoter region, e.g. upstream or downstream of a core promoter region, proximate or distal to a core promoter region, or even incorporated within a core promoter region. Transcription factors generally regulate gene expression by activating or repressing expression, e.g. upon a certain stimulus. Therefore, the core promoter is understood as the part of a promoter sequence excluding the part acting as transcription factor.
[0118] A functionally active variant of a parent promoter sequences as described herein may specifically obtained through mutagenesis methods. The term “mutagenesis” as used in the context of the present invention shall refer to a method of providing mutants of a nucleotide sequence, e.g. through insertion, deletion and/or substitution of one or more nucleotides, so to obtain variants thereof with at least one change in the nucleotide sequence. Mutagenesis may be through random, semi-random or site directed mutation. Typically large randomized promoter libraries are produced with a high gene diversity, which may be selected according to a specifically desired function, e.g. transcription strength, bidirectional transcription ratio, or regulation profile.
[0119] Some of the preferred functionally active variants of the promoter according to the invention are prolonged size variants or specifically fragments of any of SEQ ID 1-38, preferably those including the 3′ end of a promoter nucleotide sequence, e.g. a nucleotide sequence derived from one of the promoter nucleotide sequences which has of a specific length and insertions or a deletion of the 5′ terminal region, e.g. an elongation or cut-off of the nucleotide sequence at the 5′ end, so to obtain a specific length with a range from the 3′ end to a varying 5′ end, such as with a length of the nucleotide sequence of at least 80 bp, preferably at least 100 bp, preferably at least 200 bp.
[0120] The functionally active variant of a promoter of the invention is also understood to encompass hybrids of any of SEQ ID 1-38, or any of the functionally active variants thereof, e.g. resulting from combination with one or more of any promoter sequences, e.g. bidirectional promoter sequences. In another embodiment, the hybrid is composed of at least one of the sequences selected from any of SEQ ID 1-38, or any of the functionally active variants thereof, a promoter sequence of a homologue gene from phylogenetically related yeast strains, and a heterologous sequence which is e.g. not natively associated with the wild-type sequence in P. pastoris.
[0121] The functionally active variant of a promoter of the invention is further understood to encompass a nucleotide sequence which hybridizes under stringent conditions to any of SEQ ID 1-38, or any of SEQ ID 39-95, or any of the bidirectional promoter sequences of Table 2 (FIG. 23).
[0122] As used in the present invention, the term “hybridization” or “hybridizing” is intended to mean the process during which two nucleic acid sequences anneal to one another with stable and specific hydrogen bonds so as to form a double strand under appropriate conditions. The hybridization between two complementary sequences or sufficiently complementary sequences depends on the operating conditions that are used, and in particular the stringency. The stringency may be understood to denote the degree of homology; the higher the stringency, the higher percent homology between the sequences. The stringency may be defined in particular by the base composition of the two nucleic sequences, and/or by the degree of mismatching between these two nucleic sequences. By varying the conditions, e.g. salt concentration and temperature, a given nucleic acid sequence may be allowed to hybridize only with its exact complement (high stringency) or with any somewhat related sequences (low stringency). Increasing the temperature or decreasing the salt concentration may tend to increase the selectivity of a hybridization reaction.
[0123] As used in the present invention the phrase “hybridizing under stringent hybridizing conditions” is preferably understood to refer to hybridizing under conditions of certain stringency. In a preferred embodiment the “stringent hybridizing conditions” are conditions where homology of the two nucleic acid sequences is at least 70%, preferably at least 80%, preferably at least 90%, i.e. under conditions where hybridization is only possible if the double strand obtained during this hybridization comprises preferably at least 70%, preferably at least 80%, preferably at least 90% of A-T bonds and C-G bonds.
[0124] The stringency may depend on the reaction parameters, such as the concentration and the type of ionic species present in the hybridization solution, the nature and the concentration of denaturing agents and/or the hybridization temperature. The appropriate conditions can be determined by those skilled in the art, e.g. as described in Sambrook et al. (Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor, 1989).
[0125] The functionally active variant of the invention is specifically characterized by exhibiting substantially the same activity as any of the wild-type P. pastoris sequences of the invention.
[0126] The term “recombinant” as used herein shall mean “being prepared by or the result of genetic engineering”. Thus, a recombinant microorganism or host cell comprises at least one “recombinant nucleic acid”. A recombinant microorganism specifically comprises an expression vector or cloning vector, or it has been genetically engineered to contain a recombinant nucleic acid sequence. A “recombinant protein” is produced by expressing a respective recombinant nucleic acid in a host. A “recombinant promoter” is a genetically engineered non-coding nucleotide sequence suitable for its use as a functionally active promoter as described herein.
[0127] The term “substantially the same activity” as used herein specifically refers to the activity as indicated by substantially the same or improved promoter strength, specifically the expression or transcriptional strength of the promoter, and its substantially the same or improved characteristics with respect to the promoter strength and regulation.
[0128] The term “homology” indicates that two or more nucleotide sequences have the same or conserved base pairs at a corresponding position, to a certain degree, up to a degree close to 100%. A homologous sequence of the invention typically has at least about 60% nucleotide sequence identity, preferably at least about 70% identity, more preferably at least about 80% identity, more preferably at least about 90% identity, more preferably at least about 95% identity, more preferably at least about 98% or 99% identity.
[0129] The homologous promoter sequence according to the invention preferably has a certain homology to any of the native promoter nucleotide sequences of P. pastoris in at least specific parts of the nucleotide sequence, such as including the 3′ region of the respective promoter nucleotide sequence.
[0130] Analogous sequences are typically derived from other species or strains. It is expressly understood that any of the analogous promoter sequences of the present invention that are derived from species other than P. pastoris, e.g. from other yeast species, may comprise a homologous sequence, i.e. a sequence with a certain homology as described herein. Thus, the term “homologous” may also include analogous sequences. On the other hand, it is understood that the invention also refers to analogous sequences and homologs thereof that comprise a certain homology.
[0131] “Percent (%) identity” with respect to the nucleotide sequence of a gene is defined as the percentage of nucleotides in a candidate DNA sequence that is identical with the nucleotides in the DNA sequence, after aligning the sequence and introducing gaps, if necessary, to achieve the maximum percent sequence identity, and not considering any conservative substitutions as part of the sequence identity. Alignment for purposes of determining percent nucleotide sequence identity can be achieved in various ways that are within the skill in the art, for instance, using publicly available computer software. Those skilled in the art can determine appropriate parameters for measuring alignment, including any algorithms needed to achieve maximal alignment over the full length of the sequences being compared.
[0132] The term “stuffer sequence” sometimes called “stuffer fragment” as used herein shall refer to a coding or non-coding nucleotide sequence used to enlarge an expression construct, herein specifically used as placeholder for incorporating a promoter sequence. It particularly includes no functional elements that would interfere with the other elements of the expression cassette or the expression vector of the invention.
[0133] The term “type IIS restriction enzyme” is herein understood in the following way. Restriction enzymes or restriction endonucleases are proteins that are able to cleave or break double-stranded DNA sequences. Type IIS restriction endonucleases cleave DNA at a defined distance from their non-palindromic asymmetric recognition sites. The stuffer sequence as described herein specifically comprises at least one type IIS restriction enzyme recognition site. The respective enzyme recognizes and binds to the restriction enzyme recognition site and cleaves the polynucleotide chains within or near to the recognition site. The type II recognition sequences can be continuous or interrupted.
[0134] Type IIS restriction enzymes generally recognize non-palindromic sequences and cleave outside of their recognition site. Exemplary enzymes are BsaI, MlyI and BmrI, and further BsaI, BsmBI, BspQI, BtgZI, BsmFI, FokI, BbvI, or any other enzymes described herein, or any variant thereof. The term “type IIS restriction enzyme recognition site” shall particularly include a complement or reverse complement of the described recognition site for that particular enzyme.
[0135] Therefore, the invention specifically provides for promoter and expression constructs the improved coexpression of two (or more) proteins at the most suitable expression level, ratio and most favorable regulatory profile (constitutive, inducible or tunable expression). Here we describe a library and kit of bidirectional promoters that can be used to optimize the coexpression of two genes in P. pastoris. The bidirectional fashion allows to easily test multiple promoters and expression ratios between different genes, facilitates the vector design, reduces the size of expression cassettes and the chance of undesired recombination events compared to dual gene expression with separate promoters. Demonstrated with an example relying on TA cloning, the employed system allows to easily test a library of promoters and facilitates cloning compared to established cloning procedures. Alternatively, other cloning techniques such as cloning by restriction/ligation, ligase or polymerase based cloning or recombination techniques can be employed. By providing a library of natural and synthetic bidirectional promoters and expression constructs incorporating such promoter, with different overall expression levels, ratios and regulatory profiles the coexpression of two genes can be easily optimized and fine-tuned. In addition the kit contains an entry vector where the library of different bidirectional promoters can be randomly cloned in between to coexpressed genes by simple TA cloning, or similar simple cloning strategies such as recombination cloning and other ligase or polymerase based cloning techniques. The system is exemplified by expression in P. pastoris but can be transferred to other yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Hansenula polymorpha, Schizzosaccharomyces pombe, Klyveromyces lactis, Yarrowia lipolytica etc and other eukaryotic expression hosts such as filamentous fungi (Aspergillus, Trichoderma, Penicillium, etc), plants and mammalian hosts (e.g. CHO or human cell lines), too. Synthetic variants of bidirectional promoters can be designed to be shorter than natural promoters and due to the bidirectional mode of action can drive and regulate transcription of two different or sequence diversified genes and thereby employed for the design of compact expression cassettes for metabolic pathways.
[0136] The cloning strategy described in FIG. 2 B allows to easily test multiple promoters to find the most suitable bidirectional promoter for a certain gene pair to enable the production of maximized amounts of functional proteins. Therefore an expression cassette consisting of the two genes of interest and a stuffer fragment separating them is cloned into a starting vector using a single restriction enzyme. In a subsequent cloning step the stuffer fragment is cleaved out using a single Type IIS restriction enzyme resulting in vector ends suitable for ligation of PCR amplified bidirectional promoters. This approach does not require restriction digestion of the promoters and does not require MCS and maintains the natural sequence context without introducing any additional sequences.
[0137] Therefore any promoter sequence can be used, without having to worry about the presence of restriction sites and its possible negative influence on transcription and translation. Furthermore MCSs contain several sites of restriction enzymes and can lead to problems, as also such short sequences represent non-natural elements added to the 5′ untranslated region of the mRNA that can interfere with mRNA structure thereby causing translation inhibition [21]. For example in P. pastoris, it has been shown that an increased length of the 5′ UTR decreases the expression of the commonly used alcohol oxidase 1 promoter (PAOX1) [22].
[0138] Using the type IIS based cloning strategy the stuffer fragment is precisely cleaved out, removing all additional vector sequences up to the start codons of the genes to be expressed. Therefore bidirectional promoters can be PCR amplified with primers designed up to their natural start codons, using the first base of the translational start codon ATG for TA cloning.
[0139] Using this strategy, a completely natural promoter and 5′UTR sequence is achieved, omitting any bias from MCS or restriction enzyme sites.
[0140] The Type IIS strategy relies on a special group of restriction enzymes. Conventional type II enzymes such as EcoRI and EcoRV cleave within their palindromic recognition sequences creating sticky or blunt ends. Type IIS enzymes like BsaI, MlyI and BmrI recognize non palindromic sequences and cleave in a variable sequence outside of their recognition sequence (see FIG. 3).
[0141] By placing the two recognition sequences at the end of the stuffer fragment in reverse orientation, it can be cleaved out without leaving any undesired sequence in the vector (see FIG. 2 B and FIG. 4).
[0142] For the direct insertion of PCR amplified bidirectional promoters without digestion, either blunt end ligations or TA cloning is applicable. Blunt end ligations can be directly used to clone PCR fragments but they show only low efficiencies. TA cloning requires a 3′ adenine overhang on the PCR product and a thymidine overhang on the vector leading to 50 fold higher ligation efficiencies than blunt end cloning [23]. Taq polymerase adds by default a 3′ adenine overhang in PCR amplification that can ligate with a thymidine overhang created by digestion with a type IIS restriction enzyme (depicted in FIG. 4). We used the enzyme BmrI and placed the recognition sequences in opposite directions to cut the adenine of the start codons, thereby removing the stuffer fragment and leaving T overhangs suitable for cloning of A tailed fragments similar to [24]. The bidirectional promoters can be simply amplified by designing primers containing exactly the promoter sequences up to the start codons (FIG. 4). The A is either introduced directly by the polymerase such as taq polymerase or in an additional short enzymatic step following the major amplification.
[0143] Therefore the same bidirectional promoter fragments can be tested with any combination of target genes.
[0144] TA cloning is not directional, therefore the bidirectional promoters can either insert in forward or reverse orientation. This is a major disadvantage for the cloning of conventional promoters or coding sequences as only the forward orientation is required. In case of bidirectional promoters, it is however a beneficial trait, because the same bidirectional promoter can easily be tested in both orientations, thereby facilitating library generation.
[0145] Alternatively to TA cloning the bidirectional promoters can also be cloned by Gibson assembly [25] MEGAWHOP cloning (Methods Enzymol. 2011; 498:399-406) or other recombination techniques such as in vivo recombination, ligase cycling reaction (ACS Synth. Biol., 2014, 3 (2), pp 97-106) and overlap extension PCR. This requires however overlapping regions with the vector and thereby for each orientation of the promoters and for each gene pair a separate set of primers or alternatively the addition of universal overlap regions into all promoters and the stuffer fragment which might cause undesired influences to the promoters due to these DNA fragments in the 5′ UTR of the promoter and also undesired multimerization of the promoters.
[0146] In comparison with currently used bidirectional vectors, the new strategy allows simple screening of a library of bidirectional promoters with a single entry vector and thereby to identify the most favorable expression condition for a certain gene pair. The cloning procedure is facilitated compared to all existing systems as the promoters can be directly PCR amplified and cloned without restriction digestion maintaining their fully natural sequence context and avoiding problems associated with the use of MCSs. Preparing the entry vector requires also only 2 restriction enzymes compared to 4 enzymes when using a conventional strategy (FIGS. 1 B and C). Cloning two different reporter genes into the entry vector the new system also allows to test and characterize bidirectional promoters similar to the system described by Polson et al. [20] but in a simple procedure and the possibility to avoid additional restriction site recognition sequences in the 5′ UTR.
[0147] Cloning strategy for expression optimization using bidirectional promoters
[0148] allows simple testing of multiple bidirectional promoters;
[0149] allows direct cloning of PCR amplified bidirectional promoters omitting restriction enzyme digestion of the promoters;
[0150] seamless cloning of the promoters avoiding problems associated with MCS.
[0151] We specifically describe a library approach for bidirectional promoters providing different overall expression levels ranging from strong to weak expression, different ratios (equal expression up to more than 20 fold difference) in P. pastoris. These libraries and individual promoters of such libraries can be used in combination with a random cloning strategy in order to optimize expression levels and ratios of several genes by compact and simple expression cassette design. Expression cassettes can be integrated into expression vectors such as plasmids, phages and other viruses and also be simple linear DNA fragments for integration into nucleic acids of the host. The bidirectional promoter libraries contain different (at least 2) bidirectional promoters either from natural origin, or made as hybrid promoters by head to head fusion or designed as fully synthetic or semi synthetic promoters combining core promoters with transcription factor binding sites or other regulatory DNA elements. Positive and negative regulatory DNA sequences can either be used in a unidirectional mode or bidirectional and thereby shared by both sides of the bidirectional promoter. Alternatively bidirectional promoters can also be designed by head to head fusion of natural or synthetic core promoter sequences without additional regulatory DNA elements. In addition to their application as promoter library also individual single bidirectional promoters with different expression strength on both sides of the promoter can be employed in random cloning approaches and expression ratios are optimized due to the different orientation of the promoter. The effect of different expression levels obtained by the two different promoter sides can be enhanced by the application of multiple copies of the expression cassette in the host strain.
[0152] The S. cerevisiae prime example of a regulated bidirectional promoter (GAL1-GAL10) is not present in P. pastoris as this yeast even lacks the enzymes required for galactose metabolism. Therefore the obviously known approach and homologs of S. cerevisiae could not be used.
[0153] However, P. pastoris is capable of growing on methanol as a sole carbon source and the genes involved in the methanol metabolism are tightly regulated by the carbon source. Namely, they are completely repressed on glucose and strongly induced on methanol. These promoters have predominately been used to drive protein expression in P. pastoris [4]. Due to their tight regulation and to get access to interesting bidirectional promoters for a promoter kit and gene expression optimization by random cloning of promoters we have tested all potentially bidirectional promoters of the MUT pathway. Therefore the genomic organization was analyzed and MUT genes with upstream genes annotated in reverse orientation were analyzed for their expression levels with green and red fluorescent proteins as reporters (GFP and RFP). In addition we also tested genes involved in the defense of radical oxygen species (ROS), as the methanol metabolism form considerable amounts of H2O2. To identify constitutive promoters, we searched for housekeeping genes organized in a bidirectional fashion that could be assumed to be expressed at high levels. These promoters included gene pairs involved in transcription, translation and primary metabolism.
[0154] Surprisingly, these important housekeeping genes were often expressed at rather low levels, despite their anticipated important physiological roles. But in some cases we could identify natural bidirectional promoters with similar or even higher expression levels than the currently used AOX1 and GAP promoters on at least one side. Some promoters provided also strong methanol inducible (PDAS1,2) or constitutive (histone promoters) expression on both sides. This was surprising, as bidirectional promoters in S. cerevisiae were reported to be a source for cryptic and pervasive transcription at low expression levels with unclear function [11,12]. Therefore the strong and in some cases even tightly regulated expression was unexpected. The constitutive bidirectional histone promoters (PHTX1, PHHX1, PHHX2,) reached similar or higher expression levels than the commonly used monodirectional GAP promoter. These bidirectional promoters are of similar length or even shorter than the monodirectional GAP promoter (PGAP: 486 bp; PHHX1: 550 bp; PHTX1: 416 bp; PHHX2: 365 bp). For comparison a simple head to head fusion of the most commonly used promoters for constitutive expression in P. pastoris (PTEF1 and PGAP) is about 1 kbp to 1.5 kbp, depending on the promoter length used. Therefore even the new natural bidirectional histone promoters allow the design of smaller vectors thereby increasing transformation efficiency and allowing the construction of small expression cassettes. Furthermore these short natural promoters provide a valuable source for promoter parts such as core promoter elements or regulatory DNA elements. In addition we found promoters providing also intermediate and low overall expression levels and promoters with different expression ratios on the two sides. However the ratios of the two sides of natural promoters were limited. We aimed to identify promoters providing a range of expression ratios, e.g. an equal expression ratio (1:1) but also promoters with stronger expression on side and half or one tenth of the expression on the other side. These promoters should ideally be available with different regulatory profiles (e.g. constitutive or inducible) and different overall expression strength (e.g. a strong expression on one side and half of that expression on the other side but also intermediate expression on one side and half of that expression on the other side).
[0155] The natural promoters met some of these requirements but did not provide the aspired range of ratios of the two sides of the bidirectional promoters. Also the regulatory profiles of the natural promoters were limited. The natural promoters provided only inducible or constitutive expression on both sides, but we did not find any natural bidirectional promoters providing mixed regulatory profiles such as constitutive expression on one side and inducible expression on the other side.
[0156] To extend the range of overall expression levels, ratios and regulatory profiles of the bidirectional promoters, we engineered the most promising natural bidirectional promoters and created synthetic bidirectional fusion promoters.
[0157] The engineering approaches were based on semi rational and systematic deletion and truncation approaches. The engineered variants of bidirectional PDAS1,2 and PHTX2 variants exceeded in some cases the expression levels of the natural wild type promoter in terms of expression, but provided also new ratios.
[0158] To achieve new regulatory profiles, we fused differently regulated monodirectional promoters in opposite orientation to each other, thereby creating synthetic bidirectional fusion promoters.
[0159] We fused the two constitutive promoters PTEF1 and PGAP to each other, thereby creating a bidirectional promoter with strong constitutive expression on both sides. We fused also the commonly used PAOX1 and PGAP promoters to each other, thereby creating a promoter with methanol inducible expression on one side and inducible expression on the other side.
[0160] Induction in these fusion promoters relies on the use of methanol. We also aimed to create bidirectional promoters providing methanol free regulated expression. This was achieved by using derepressed promoters PPEX5, PADH2, PCAT1. Similar to the commonly used AOX1 promoter, derepressed promoters are completely repressed on glucose, but they do not require methanol for induction, but auto-induce expression when the glucose in the medium is depleted. This unites the advantage of an inducible promoter (allowing to separate cell growth and heterologous gene expression) with the benefits of constitutive promoters (easy process design, no requirement for the use of an inducer). For P. pastoris, this allows even to avoid the usage of the toxic and flammable inducer methanol. The handling of large quantities of methanol for industrial protein production is a considerable problem solved by derepressed promoters.
[0161] In P. pastoris, so far only certain synthetic variants of the AOX1 promoter showed derepressed expression [28], however at significantly lower expression levels than the methanol induced AOX1 wildtype promoter, but the strength can be further increased by fusion with positive regulatory elements. Here we identified, to our knowledge the first naturally derepressed monodirectional promoters in P. pastoris: PCAT1, PADH2 and PPEX5.
[0162] The bidirectional fusion promoters tested here include combinations of PAOX1 with PCAT1, providing inducible and derepressed expression on the two sides of the bidirectional promoter. Notably PCAT1 can even be further induced with methanol.
[0163] Also a combination of PGAP and PCAT1 was tested, providing constitutive and derepressed expression on the two sides of the bidirectional promoter. So far no such combination was known for any yeast. Derepressed expression on both sides can be achieved by using fusions of PCAT1+PADH2, PPEX5+PADH2 or PPEX5+PCAT1.
[0164] Bidirectional promoter kit and its individual parts
[0165] new bidirectional promoters exceeding on single sides the expression levels of commonly used monodirectional promoters (PAOX1, PGAP)
[0166] set of natural bidirectional promoters providing . . .
[0167] different overall expression levels
[0168] different ratios of the two sides
[0169] and different regulatory profiles (constitutive, inducible and derepressed (=derepressed is inducer free regulated expression)
[0170] In S. cerevisiae just five bidirectional expression promoters are described providing strong expression with a fixed equal ratio and constitutive and inducible expression.
[0171] Engineered synthetic bidirectional promoters and variants of PDAS1,2 and PHTX2 provide
[0172] shorter promoter sequences
[0173] improved expression
[0174] a range of expression ratios
[0175] unprecedented regulatory profiles
[0176] The foregoing description will be more fully understood with reference to the following examples. Such examples are, however, merely representative of methods of practicing one or more embodiments of the present invention and should not be read as limiting the scope of invention.
[0177] In general, the recombinant nucleic acids or organisms as referred to herein may be produced by recombination techniques well known to a person skilled in the art. In accordance with the present invention there may be employed conventional molecular biology, microbiology, and recombinant DNA techniques within the skill of the art. Such techniques are explained fully in the literature (see, e.g., Maniatis, Fritsch & Sambrook, “Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor, (1982)). Specifically, a recombinant expression construct may be obtained by ligating the promoter and relevant genes into a vector or expression construct. These genes can be stably integrated into a host cell genome by transforming a host cell using such vectors or expression constructs.

EXAMPLES

Example 1—Bidirectional (TA) Cloning Vectors

[0178] At first we aimed to test the applicability of the TA cloning strategy for inserting bidirectional promoters into a vector. We aimed to link this evaluation with the establishment of a screening vector to easily assess the properties of various bidirectional promoters. Common sticky end cloning strategies require digestion of the vector and the insert with restriction enzymes. However, not all bidirectional promoters can be cloned using the same enzymes. Therefore also the position where the promoter is inserted in a MCS influences the screening, thereby biasing it. The same problem becomes evident when cloning several bidirectional promoters into an entry vector with genes to be expressed.
[0179] We based our bidirectional screening and expression plasmid on the P. pastoris vector pPpT4_S plasmid described [29]. P. pastoris vectors are by standard integrated into the genome by targeting a homologous recombination event. Most commonly, therefore the vectors are linearized in the promoter sequence used to target a recombination event. This strategy is not applicable with bidirectional promoters used here, as especially the semi-synthetic fusion promoters provide non-natural sequences hampering recombination. In addition, homologous recombination is occurring in P pastoris at rather low frequencies, therefore a linearization in the bidirectional promoter would in many cases not even be reconstituted, thereby compromising its functionality.
[0180] To this end we added an additional integration sequence to the plasmid; we used a 1.2 kbp sequence downstream of the ARG4 resistance marker gene.
[0181] At first we designed a reporter vector, where any PCR amplified promoter can be cloned in front of a reporter gene. We relied on a stuffer replacement strategy and used a variant of the green fluorescent protein (referred to as GFP) as reporter gene. The AOX1 promoter present in the pPpT4_S vector was removed by PciI and NotI digestion. The part was replaced by an olePCR assembly consisting of the ARG4 integration sequence (intARG4), a stuffer fragment and the GFP gene. We chose a sequence without any sequence homology to P. pastoris or E. coli, we used therefore a S. cerevisiae sequence present in neither organism. The TA cloning part of the stuffer was designed as outlined in section “Type IIS cloning strategy of bidirectional promoters”, and FIG. 4). We added SacI and AscI sites next to the BmrI sites to allow easy exchange of vector parts (FIG. 4). The intARG4 sequence was PCR amplified using Phusion polymerase and P. pastoris genomic DNA as template using primers int.arg.fwd and int.arg.rev (see Tab. 1). The stuffer fragment was amplified from S. cerevisiae genomic DNA using primers stufferTHI5.fwd and stufferTHI5.rev. The GFP gene was amplified using primers EGFPfwd.stufferTHI5 and EGFPrevNotI from a P. pastors cloning plasmid. For olePCR, the fragments were gel purified and mixed in equimolar ratios. After 20 cycles of primerless PCR the primers int.arg.fwd and EGFPrevNotI were added. The obtained fragment of the correct size was gel purified, PciI and NotI digested and subsequently cloned into the PciI and NotI digested backbone of pPpT4_S. A MlyI site present in the vector was removed by PCR amplifying the vector using primers ZeoCDS_mut_MlyI_fwd and ZeoCDS_mut_MlyI_rev Pfu Ultra polymerase followed by DpnI digestion. After confirming the sequence by Sanger sequencing the vector was used for the following cloning steps. The final vector is shown in FIG. 5.
[0182] To test the suitability of the system, the PCR amplified promoters of the methanol metabolism and ROS defense were cloned into the vector (for promoters and primers see Tab. 2). The vector was BmrI digested, dephosphorylated and gel purified. The promoters were PCR amplified using Phusion polymerase and the phosphorylated primers, subsequently spin column purified and A-tailed using Taq polymerase. The vector backbone and promoters were then mixed in a molar 1:3 ratio and ligated using T4 ligase. The orientation of the promoters was confirmed by colony PCRs using Taq polymerase and primers seqintARG4fwd or seqGFPrev together with the respective primer used for amplification of the promoter.
[0183] With the single reporter vector, bidirectional promoters had to be cloned twice, once in forward and once in reverse orientation. To reduce the cloning effort and allow simultaneous detection of both sides, we designed a bidirectional screening vector. Based on the single reporter vector, we inserted a second reporter gene (a red fluorescent protein variant termed Tomato, the names are used here synonymously except explicitly stated otherwise), between the integration sequence and the stuffer fragment (FIG. 6). We also tested different fluorescent proteins and designed different vector variants of the RFP (data not shown). The vector was assembled by digesting the single reporter vector with AscI and AvrII. Subsequently the RFP fused to a P. pastoris transcription terminator sequence was PCR amplified from a P. pastoris cloning vector using primers newTomatoAscIBmrIFWD and AOXTTSbfIAvrIIREV1 (Tab. 1). To add an additional SbfI restriction site, the obtained PCR fragment was used as template for a 2nd PCR using primers newTomatoAscIBmrIFWD and AOXTTSbfIAvrIIREV2. The newly inserted part was confirmed by Sanger sequencing.
[0184] Subsequently we cloned several natural bidirectional promoters and semi synthetic fusion promoters into this vector. The promoters were either inserted in random orientation by TA cloning or directional by Gibson assembly [25].
[0185] The bidirectional reporter vector described here can also be used for the creation of an entry vector for the coexpression of any gene pair. Therefore a cassette consisting of the two genes to be coexpressed with a stuffer fragment between them is assembled by olePCR, digested with NotI and cloned in the NotI digested bidirectional double reporter vector backbone.
[0186] A set of more than 30 putative natural bidirectional promoters driving the expression of genes involved in different cellular functions were selected (Tab. 2). The putative natural bidirectional promoters stem from different pathways (methanol metabolism, ROS defense, housekeeping genes) and were PCR amplified and cloned into a reporter vector between a green and a red fluorescent protein, thereby allowing separate detection of both sides. The PCR amplification was performed using Thermo Scientific Phusion High-Fidelity DNA Polymerase according to the manufacturers' recommendations. Primers were phosphorylated using Thermo Scientific/Fermentas T4 Polynucleotide Kinase according to the manufacturers' recommendations. The blunt ended PCR fragments were A-tailed using Promega GoTaq® DNA Polymerase according to the manufacturers' recommendations and ligated with the vector using Thermo Scientific T4 DNA Ligase according to the manufacturers' recommendations. The GFP/RFP reporter vector was digested with NEB BmrI according to the manufacturers' recommendations, the correct band was gel purified and used for the ligation with the A tailed promoter fragments.
[0187] The bidirectional promoters exhibited the expression levels summarized in (Tab. 2, FIG. 26). The majority of the tested promoters were giving low expression levels (data not shown), possibly as expected from the frequent role in low level pervasive and cryptic transcription described in S. cerevisiae [11,12]. Several bidirectional promoters provided strong or intermediate expression on one side, and low expression on the other side. These bidirectional promoters can be used for low level coexpression of regulator (e.g. Hac1 [30]) or to achieve strongly different ratios. The expression of the promoters was also effected by the carbon source (FIG. 7).
[0188] Surprisingly, a few promoters showed strong expression most with an equal ratio on both sides. Several histone promoters (PHTX1, PHHX1, PHHX2) provided strong constitutive expression (FIG. 8). Unexpectedly, these bidirectional histone promoters provided on each side similar or even higher expression levels than the monodirectional state of the art GAP promoter (FIG. 7). Yet their sequences, acting as a bidirectional promoter, were significantly shorter than the monodirectional GAP promoter (PGAP: 486 bp; PHHX1: 550 bp; PHTX1: 416 bp; PHHX2: 365 bp). A fusion of the most commonly used promoters for constitutive expression in P. pastoris (PTEF1 and PGAP) is about 1 kbp to 1.5 kbp, depending on the promoter length used. Therefore the novel bidirectional histone promoters allow the design of smaller vectors thereby increasing transformation efficiency, while exceeding expression levels of the commonly used GAP promoter.
[0189] The PDAS1,2 pair provided strong inducible expression, the DAS2 promoter has already been described as a strong promoter, but the DAS1 promoter and their bidirectional organization had not been tested with functional reporter gene assays. Yet, the expression ratios of these promoters were rather limited; therefore we aimed to design synthetic variants.
[0190] For the bidirectional promoters see FIG. 25; the MUT pathway SEQ ID NO:1-19, ROS defense SEQ ID NO:20-24 and Natbidis SEQ ID NO:25-38.

Example 2: Synthetic Variants of Natural Bidirectional Promoters

[0191] The overall expression levels and ratios of these promoters were fixed and thereby limited; therefore we aimed to design synthetic variants with various overall expression levels and several ratios. We selected the pHHX2 promoter as it had shown strong comparable expression levels as the other histone promoters while having the shortest length (365 bp). This short length favored deletion approaches, as variants of the promoter can be easily assembled from two long primers or a single synthetic double stranded fragment. We performed deletion studies (FIGS. 9 A and C) and truncations (FIG. 9 B) of the pHHX2 sequence. The deletion variants were either assembled by overlap extension PCR (olePCR) [28], from two primer fragments or ordered as synthetic double stranded fragment and cloned by Gibson assembly. All constructs were sequenced to confirm the correct cloning and assembly. The deletion variants showed different overall expression levels and altered ratios, resulting in a profound library for constitutive expression FIG. 10.
[0192] In addition we also designed synthetic promoters consisting of the core promoter regions of pHHX2 and cis-acting regulatory elements of methanol inducible promoters (pAOX1, pDAS1, pDAS2) named SynBidi1 to Synbidi12 (FIG. 11).
[0193] The SynBidi constructs were all ordered as synthetic double stranded fragments. All constructs were sequenced to confirm the correct cloning and assembly.
[0194] The synthetic bidirectional promoters showed strong a tight repression on glucose and strong bidirectional expression on methanol, despite their short length, making them excellent bidirectional promoters for inducible gene coexpression or pathway overexpression for metabolic engineering (FIG. 12).
[0195] Histone genes and also their organization in gene pairs flanking a bidirectional promoter are highly conserved between eukaryotes. Therefore also bidirectional histone promoters from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells (SEQ ID NO 49 to SEQ ID NO 64) and other eukaryotes can be used to drive heterologous protein production and as a general eukaryotic engineering framework to design synthetic promoters, as demonstrated for P. pastoris with methanol induction.
[0196] For the synthetic variants of natural bidirectional promoters see FIG. 25; pHHX2 variants—systematic deletions SEQ ID NO:39-53; truncations SEQ ID NO:54-61; longer/multiple deletions SEQ ID NO:62-66; synthetic methanol inducible variants SEQ ID NO:67-78; and CHO bidirectional histone promoters SEQ ID NO:166-181.
[0197] Similar to the constitutive bidirectional histone promoters, the overall expression levels and ratios of the methanol inducible DAS1,2 promoter were also fixed and thereby limited. Therefore we aimed to design synthetic variants with various overall expression levels and several ratios. In contrast to the short pHHX2, the DAS1,2 promoter is relatively long (2488 bp), therefore performing the same deletion approaches used for pHHX2 were not applicable. We relied on sequence comparisons between the DAS1 and DAS2 promoter sides and other methanol inducible genes to identify possible regulatory regions (deletions illustrated in FIG. 13). We made eight monodirectional deletion variants of 1000 bp fragments of DAS1 and DAS2. The deletions were assembled by olePCR [28] and cloned in front of a eGFP reporter after SbfI+NheI digestion. All constructs were sequenced to confirm the correct cloning and assembly. In addition, the monodirectional deletion variants were also assembled into bidirectional fusion promoters by cloning them via Gibson assembly into the bidirectional eGFP/sTom reporter vector resulting in variants DDC1 (pDAS2-1000+pDAS1-1000), DDC2 (pDAS2-del8+pDAS1-del2del5), DDC3 (pDAS2-del2+pDAS1-del2del5), DDC4 (pDAS2-del6+pDAS1-del6), DDC5 (pDAS2-del8+pDAS1-del6), DDC6 (pDAS2-del6+pDAS1-del2del5), DDC7 (pDAS2-del5+pDAS1-del6), DDC8 (pDAS2-del6+pDAS1-del7), DDC9 (pDAS2-trunc386+pDAS1-del6), DDC10 (pDAS2-trunc261+pDAS1-del6). For primers see Table 2, the respective monodirectional deletion promoters were used as template, therefore the same primers could be used in most cases.
[0198] The monodirectional variants showed a range of different expression levels, between 16 and 144% of the wildtype promoters (FIG. 14). These monodirectional pDAS1 and pDAS2 variants were combined to form bidirectional promoters providing a wide range of inducible expression with different overall expression levels and ratios (FIG. 15). These fusions of the monodirectional promoters showed also in a bidirectional context in most cases the same expression levels. In some cases synergistic effects were noticed leading to improved expression and a set of methanol-inducible promoters sufficient to fine-tune expression.
[0199] For the bidirectional promoters see FIG. 25; pDAS1 deletions SEQ ID NO:79-87, pDAS2 deletions SEQ ID NO:88-95 and fusions of pDAS1 and pDAS2 deletions Natbidis SEQ ID NO:126-135.
[0200] As the natural bidirectional promoters identified provided only constitutive or inducible regulation on both sides, we aimed to design artificial promoters with different regulatory profiles. Therefore we tried to fuse monodirectional promoters to each other, thereby creating synthetic bidirectional promoters with different tailor-made regulatory profiles.
[0201] As most well characterized state of the art promoters of P. pastoris provide only methanol inducible or constitutive expression, we aimed to identify differently regulated promoters. Recent efforts on newly regulated promoters in P. pastoris focused on different means of induction [31] or repression [32]
[0202] In contrast, we aimed to identify autoregulated promoters not requiring an inducer or repressor, as this would drastically facilitate process design. We favored derepressed promoters, as they are tightly repressed on glucose like the commonly used AOX1 promoter. However they do not need an inducer such as methanol, but simply start expression when glucose is depleted. This can be used for process design to grow cells at first in a fed batch on glucose until the glucose is depleted. After glucose depletion the feed rate is decreased and maintained at a low level providing derepressed conditions. Under these conditions, added glucose is immediately taken up thereby sustaining energy for protein production. At the same time glucose repression cannot occur because added glucose is immediately metabolized.
[0203] Derepressed promoters are known from other methylotrophic yeast such as Hansenula polymorpha, and Candida boidinii [33]. In P. pastoris only certain deletion variants of the AOX1 promoter showed a derepressed regulatory profile, although clearly weaker than the methanol induced promoter (approximately one third of the expression on methanol) [28]. However, in P. pastoris no natural strong derepressed promoters have been described.
[0204] The monodirectional promoters were selected from different pathways (methanol metabolism, ROS defense and pentose phosphate pathway) and cloned in front of a GFP reporter protein.
[0205] Thereby we identified the new derepressed promoters CAT1 (FIG. 16). The ADH2 and PEX5 promoters had been screened as potential bidirectional promoters but only shown strong derepressed expression on one side (FIG. 16) making them also suitable for such fusion approaches. However the monodirectional CAT1 promoter showed stronger derepressed expression than ADH2 and PEX5 making it the most suitable target for the fusion promoter strategy. The ADH2 promoter showed also rather a mix of constitutive expression and derepression. The other tested monodirectional promoters aside CAT1 showed also different expression levels and regulatory profiles (FIG. 17). Most notably certain promoters of the PPP (TKL1, TAL1) were downregulated on methanol, thereby providing a new regulatory profile. Such repression can be used to turn off a gene while inducing expression with a methanol inducible promoter.
[0206] For the monodirectional promoters see FIG. 25; MUT SEQ ID NO:96-97; ROS SEQ ID NO:98-101; and PPP SEQ ID NO:102-113.
[0207] As the natural bidirectional promoters identified provided only constitutive or inducible regulation on both sides, we aimed to design artificial promoters with different regulatory profiles. Therefore we tried to fuse previously identified and new monodirectional promoters to each other, thereby creating synthetic bidirectional promoters with different tailor-made regulatory profiles and expression ratios.
[0208] We aimed to design a bidirectional promoter providing strong inducible on one side and strong constitutive expression on the other. Therefore we fused the methanol inducible AOX1 promoter to the constitutive GAP promoter (pAOX1+pGAP). In addition we also aimed to link derepressed expression with either inducible or constitutive expression. To this end we fused the methanol inducible AOX1 promoter to the derepressed CAT1 promoter (pAOX1+pCAT1), in another construct the GAP promoter was fused to the CAT1 promoter (pGAP+pCAT1). We also tried to achieve constitutive expression on both sides by fusing the constitutive GAP promoter to the constitutive TEF promoter (pGAP+pTEF1). In addition fusions of methanol inducible promoters were tested to achieve different expression ratios and reduced promoter lengths compared to pDAS1,2. The variants tested include BZF1 (pFBA2-500+pTAL2-500), BZF2 (pFDH1-564+pDAS1-552), BZF3 (pFDH1-564+pCAT1-500), BZF4 (pDAS2-699+pDAS1-552), BZF5 (pFDH1-564+pPXR1-392), BZF6 (pFLD1-366+pAOX1-643), BZF7 (pAOX2-500+pCAT1-500) and BZF8 (pFLD1-366+pPXR1-392).
[0209] The promoters to be fused were PCR amplified and assembled by olePCR (primers see Table 2) and subsequently cloned into a reporter vector, in which the bidirectional promoter is flanked by a green and red fluorescent protein, allowing simultaneous detection of the expression of both promoter sides.
[0210] The results are shown in FIG. 18. Even though showing strongly divergent regulation on both sides, surprisingly the two promoters did not infer with each other, maintaining their strength and regulation, thereby forming fully functional semi synthetic bidirectional promoters. Especially the fusion promoters pAOX1+pGAP, pAOX1+pCAT1, and pGAP+pCAT1 show promising properties. The constitutive pGAP+pTEF1 promoter provided strong expression comparable to the histone promoters, but was larger in size (2 to 3 fold difference). Still this bidirectional fusion promoter provides a different regulatory profile, as the GAP side is down-regulated on methanol whereas the TEF1 side remains on. This promoter makes pGAP+pTEF1 a valuable asset for the library of bidirectional promoters. Fusions of methanol inducible promoters maintained their tight regulation and offered different expression ratios on both sides FIG. 19.
[0211] For the semi synthetic bidirectional fusion promoters see FIG. 25; SEQ ID NO:114-125.
[0212] In addition to synthetic bidirectional fusion promoters, also monodirectional promoters were bidirectionalized. Since core promoters are rather short (ca. 100 bp), this enables the creation of short bidirectional promoters. Fusion promoters have always the length of both monodirectional parts and are therefore typically longer (although fusion promoters may provide beneficial effects by synergism between the two halves). Bidirectionalization was tested for different promoters by fusing different lengths of histone core promoters to the 5′ end of the promoters of interest: BZ1 (pCoreHHT2-73+pAOX1BgIII), BZ2 (pCoreHHT2-73+pAOX1-711), BZ3 (pCoreHHT2-73+pAOX1-643), BZ4 (pCoreHHF2-76+pDAS1-552), BZ5 (pCoreHHF2-76+pDAS1-1000), BZ6 (pCoreHTA1-81+pDAS2-699), BZ7 (pCoreHTA1-81+pDAS2-1000), BZ8 (pCoreHTB1-86+pPXR1-478CBS), BZ9 (pCoreHTB1-86+pPXR1-392CBS), BZ10 (pCoreHTB1-86+pPXR1-480GS), BZ11 (pCoreHHT1-91+pFLD1-366), BZ12 (pCoreHHF1-80+pFDH1-564), BZ13 (pCoreHHT1-91+pFBA2-500), BZ14 (pCoreHHT1-91+pFBA2-704), BZ15 (pCoreHHF1-80+pTAL2-1000), BZ16 (pCoreHHF1-80+pTAL2-500), BZ17 (pCoreHHT2-73+pCAT1-692), BZ18 (pCoreHHT2-73+pCAT1-500), BZ19 (pCoreHHF2-76−pGAP-486), BZ20 (pCoreHTA1-81-pTEF1-424), BZ21 (pCoreHTB1-86−pADH2-500), BZ23 (pCoreHHT2-89+pAOX1-711), BZ24 (pCoreHHT2-105+pAOX1-711), BZ25 (pCoreHTB1-106+pPXR1-392CBS), BZ26 (pCoreHTB1-126+pPXR1-392CBS), BZ27 (pCoreHHT1-111+pFLD1-366), BZ28 (pCoreHHT1-131+pFLD1-366), BZ29 (pCoreHHF1-80+pAOX1-711), BZ30 (pCoreHHF1-100+pAOX1-711), BZ31 (pCoreHHF1-121+pAOX1-711). These promoters were created by attaching the core promoter on a PCR primer and cloning them via Gibson assembly into the bidirectional reporter vector. Primers are listed in Table 2. The fluorescence measurement results are shown in FIG. 3, demonstrating that bidirectionalization was in some cases highly successful (e.g. BZ6) and is also a feasible strategy to achieve different expression ratios and short, sequence diversified promoters.
[0213] For the bidirectional synthetic fusion promoters see FIG. 25; SEQ ID NO:136-165.
[0214] To evaluate the library approach to optimize the coexpression of a gene pair with a set of bidirectional promoters, we selected two gene pairs. The first pair consisted of a cytochrome P450 enzyme (CYP) and the associated reductase (CPR). The second gene pair was Candida antarctica lipase B (CalB), a disulfide rich protein, and a protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) to assist in folding.
[0215] Cytochrome P450 enzymes are of high pharmaceutical interest, as these enzymes are responsible for the conversion of human drugs. CYPs are also versatile biocatalysts used in biotechnology [34]. The expression of CYPs is however difficult, as it requires to coexpression of the enzyme (CYP) and an associated reductase (CPR) that delivers electrons from NADPH. To complicate matters further, the CYP and CPR are integral membrane proteins localized in the ER, therefore they require to enter the sec pathway to achieve correct localization. They need to be expressed at high levels and it is necessary to achieve a suitable ratio between the CYP and CPR [1].
[0216] Therefore such a gene pair was an excellent target to test the bidirectional expression system, as common expression approaches in P. pastoris relied on the use of the use of two separate vectors with the identical promoter [1].
[0217] We used CYP52A13 and the associated reductase from Candida tropicalis. The genes were codon optimized for P. pastoris and subsequently cloned in a bidirectional entry vector with a stuffer fragment between them. Subsequently, the stuffer fragment was replaced with a set of bidirectional promoters providing different regulatory profiles and expression ratios. We focused only on strong bidirectional promoters and omitted weaker ones, as in previous work best expression was even achieved using multi copy strains bearing the strong AOX1 promoter [1]. Therefore we omitted the weak bidirectional promoters from the screening. The bidirectional entry vector was created by digesting the bidirectional reporter vector (FIG. 6) with NotI and gel purifying the backbone.
[0218] BmrI sites present in the genes were removed by PCR amplifying the template vectors using primers pairs CtCYP52A13mutFWD+CtCYP52A13mutFWD and CtCPRmutFWD+CtCPRmutREV (introducing silent mutations in the BmrI recognition sequence, see Tab. 3 for the primer sequences) and Pfu Ultra polymerase followed by DpnI digestion. After confirming the sequence by Sanger sequencing the vectors were used as templates for the following cloning steps. An expression cassette consisting of the CYP and CPR genes in reverse orientation separated by a stuffer fragment was assembled by olePCR. The CYP gene was amplified using primers CtCYP52A13olePCRfwd and CtCYP52A13NotIrev from the above mentioned BmrI mutated vector template. The CPR gene was amplified using primers CtCPRolePCRfwd and CtCPRNotIrev from the above mentioned BmrI mutated vector template. The stuffer fragment was amplified from the bidirectional entry vector using primers stufferCYP-CPRolePCRfwd and stufferCYP-CPRolePCRrev. For olePCR, the fragments were gel purified and mixed in equimolar ratios. After 20 cycles of primerless PCR the primers CtCYP52A13NotIrev and CtCPRNotIrev were added. The obtained fragment of the correct size was gel purified, and NotI digested and subsequently cloned into the above mentioned NotI digested vector backbone. The inserted cassette was confirmed by Sanger sequencing. The final bidirectional entry vector is shown in FIG. 21.
[0219] Subsequently we removed the stuffer fragment by BmrI digestion and cloned a set of strong bidirectional promoters providing different regulatory profiles and ratios. We selected the natural bidirectional DAS1,2 promoter (strong inducible expression on both sides with slightly divergent ratio) and various semi-synthetic fusion promoters. The pAOX1+pGAP promoter provides on side strong inducible and on the other strong constitutive expression. The pAOX1+pCAT1 promoter provides on one side strong inducible and on the other strong derepressed expression. The pGAP+pCAT1 promoter provides on one side strong constitutive and on the other strong derepressed expression. The pGAP+pTEF1 promoter provides strong constitutive expression on both sides. We tested these five bidirectional promoters in both orientations, thereby doubling the different regulatory profiles and ratios.
[0220] The bidirectional promoters were cloned by Gibson assembly [25] after amplification with primers pDAS2-Gib-CtCYP-ins, pDAS1-Gib-CtCPR-ins, pDAS1-Gib-CtCYP-ins, pDAS2-Gib-CtCPR-ins, pAOX1-Gib-CtCYP-ins, pGAP-Gib-CtCPR-ins, pGAP-Gib-CtCYP-ins, pAOX1-Gib-CtCPR-ins, pCAT1-Gib-CtCPR-ins, pCAT1-Gib-CtCYP-ins, pTEF1-Gib-CtCPR-ins and pTEF1-Gib-CtCYP-ins.
[0221] The inserted bidirectional promoters were sequenced using primers seqCtCYP-141 . . . 174-rev and seqCtCPR-217 . . . 240-rev. For this application we used Gibson assembly as we were dealing with a low number of constructs and aimed to insert the promoters with a specific orientation. Compared to TA cloning, Gibson assembly does not require A-tailing of PCR fragments and verification of the orientation by colony PCR.
[0222] The results of the CYP expressions are shown in FIG. 19. As expression in P. pastoris varies between different transformants, we have analyzed landscapes of 50 to 100 transformants per construct to rule out bias of clonal variation. The bidirectional promoter used had a drastic and unexpected effect on expression. The construct ←CYP←pDAS2|pDAS1→CPR→ in which the CYP is under control of a methanol regulated construct showed the clearest peak at 450 nm, a hallmark of CYP expression. Interestingly, the same promoter in reverse orientation (←CYP←pDAS1|pDAS2→CPR→) indicated lower expression and much more background noise. This hints an effect of the expression ratio as pDAS2 appeared in the screening stronger than pDAS1 (FIG. 18). The CYP under control of the state of the art promoter pAOX1 showed clearly lower expression levels than the pDAS2 side, irrespectively of the fusion promoter (←CYP←pAOX1|pGAP→CPR→ or ←CYP←pAOX1|pCAT1→CPR→). Interestingly, CYP expression levels under the novel CAT1 promoter (←CYP←-pCAT1|pAOX1→CPR→) reached similarly high expression levels as the CYP under control of pDAS2, although the landscape clone to clone variation appeared higher (also transformants with lower expression). In this case the CPR was under control of the methanol inducible AOX1 promoter).
[0223] The CYP under control of the CAT1 promoter showed lower expression when fused to the constitutive GAP promoter (←CYP←pCAT1|pGAP→CPR→). This suggests that also the regulatory profile of the CPR expression affects CYP levels.
[0224] Strikingly, when the CYP was under control of a constitutive promoter (←CYP←pGAP|pAOX1→CPR→, ←CYP←GAP|pCAT1→CPR→, ←CYP←GAP|pTEF1→CPR→ and ←CYP←pTEF1|pGAP→CPR→) no expression was detectable, even when measured after multiple time points (data not shown). This shows that different regulatory profiles (e.g. inducible, constitutive, depressed expression and bidirectional combinations thereof) can drastically influence expression.
[0225] Our results suggest that CYP/CPR coexpression is highly complex and affected by several factors such as the expression ratio and the time profile. The bidirectional promoter library approach allowed to find an optimal expression condition for this gene pair, thereby highlighting its relevance and applicability.
[0226] Candidia antarctica lipase B (CalB) is an important biocatalyst which catalyzes a wide variety of organic reactions and is applied in many different regio- and enantio-selective syntheses. CalB expression is difficult as the protein contains three disulfide bonds. Therefore we aimed to coexpress protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), which assists in the formation of disulfide bonds in secretory and cell-surface proteins and unscrambles non-native disulfide bonds.
[0227] We aimed to optimize the coexpression of the two genes by using the bidirectional promoters expression approach. Therefore we used codon optimized genes for P. pastoris and cloned them cloned in a bidirectional entry vector with a stuffer fragment between them. Subsequently, the stuffer fragment was replaced with a set of bidirectional promoters providing different regulatory profiles and expression ratios. We focused only on strong bidirectional promoters and omitted weaker ones, as in previous work best expression was even achieved using multi copy strains bearing the strong AOX1 promoter (similar to the CYP, CPR coexpression). Therefore we omitted the weak bidirectional promoters from the screening.
[0228] The bidirectional entry vector was created by digesting the bidirectional reporter vector (FIG. 6) with NotI and gel purifying the backbone. We assembled an expression cassette consisting of the CalB and PDI in genes in reverse orientation separated by a stuffer fragment. Therefore the CalB gene was amplified from a plasmid where it was in frame linked to a Mating factor alpha signal sequence (to target secretion) using primers MFalphaolePCRfwd and CalB-NotIrev (see Tab. 3). The stuffer fragment was amplified from the bidirectional entry vector using primers 5′stufferMFalphaolePCRfwd and stufferCalB-PDIolePCRrev. The PDI gene was amplified using primers PDImutBmrIolePCRfwd+PDINotIrev. For olePCR, the fragments were gel purified and mixed in equimolar ratios. After 20 cycles of primerless PCR the primers CalB-NotIrev and PDINotIrev were added. The obtained fragment of the correct size was gel purified, NotI digested and subsequently cloned into the above mentioned NotI digested vector backbone. The inserted cassette was confirmed by Sanger sequencing. The final bidirectional entry vector is shown in FIG. 23.
[0229] Subsequently we removed the stuffer fragment by BmrI digestion and cloned a set of strong bidirectional promoters providing different regulatory profiles and ratios. We selected the natural bidirectional DAS1,2 promoter (strong inducible expression on both sides with slightly divergent ratio) and various semi-synthetic fusion promoters. The pAOX1+pGAP promoter provides on one side strong inducible and on the other strong constitutive expression. The pAOX1+pCAT1 promoter provides on one side strong inducible and on the other strong derepressed expression. The pGAP+pCAT1 promoter provides on one side strong constitutive and on the other strong derepressed expression. In addition we tested two histone promoters (pHTX1 and pHHX2) in both orientations, as they provide strong constitutive expression in different ratios.
[0230] The bidirectional promoters were cloned by Gibson assembly [25] after amplification with primers pDAS2-Gib-MFalpha-ins, pDAS1-Gib-PDI-ins, pDAS1-Gib-MFalpha-ins, pDAS2-Gib-PDI-ins, pAOX1-Gib-MFalpha-ins, pGAP-Gib-PDI-ins, pGAP-Gib-MFalpha-ins, pAOX1-Gib-PDI-ins, pCAT1-Gib-PDI-ins, pCAT1-Gib-MFalpha-ins, pHTA1-Gib-MFalpha-ins, pHTB2-Gib-PDI-ins, pHTB2-Gib-MFalpha-ins, pHTA1-Gib-PDI-ins, pHistH3-Gib-MFalpha-ins, pHistH4-Gib-PDI-ins, pHistH4-Gib-MFalpha-ins, pHistH3-Gib-PDI-ins.
[0231] The inserted bidirectional promoters were sequenced using primers seqMFalpha132 . . . 109rev and seqPDI103 . . . 126rev. For this application we used again Gibson assembly as we were dealing with a low number of constructs and aimed to insert the promoters with a specific orientation, for the same reasons as mentioned for CYP+CPR coexpression.
[0232] The results are of the expression in P. pastoris are shown in FIG. 24. We could detect CalB activity with all tested bidirectional promoters; however there appeared strong differences between the constructs. The best promoters for inducible expression (Constructs Cal1,2,3,5,6,8) and constitutive expression (4,7,11,12) performed roughly similar. The novel CAT1 promoter resulted in the highest expression of all constructs and outperformed the state of the art AOX1 promoter when PDI was under control of the GAP promoter (CAL8). The data suggests also that too strong constitutive expression might overburden the cellular machinery, therefore the constitutive histone promoters showed lower expression than fusions of the GAP promoter to either AOX1 or CAT1.
[0233] Yet, the bidirectional expression strategy helped again to optimize the expression, with the novel fusion promoter consisting of CAT1 and GAP outperforming state of the art AOX1 expression.

Tables

[0234] 
[00001] [TABLE-US-00001]
  TABLE 1
 
  Primers used for assembling the single and 
  double reporter vectors
 
 
  int.arg.fwd   GCCCACATGTATTTAAATTGCCAGTGTA
    TGTGCACTTATAGAGG
 
  int.arg.rev   CAACAGAGGTCGGCGCGCCACTGGGTGC
    TAGGACCTTCTCGCAGAATGGTATAAAT
    ATC
 
  stufferTHI5.fwd   CTGCGAGAAGGTCCTAGCACCCAGTGGC
    GCGCCGACCTCTGTTGCCTCTTTGTTGG
    ACG
 
  stufferTHI5.rev   CCTTTGCTAGCCATCAGTCCCAGTGAGC
    TCTTAAGCTGGAAGAGCCAATCTCTTGA
    AAG
 
  EGFPfwd.stufferTHI5   GGCTCTTCCAGCTTAAGAGCTCACTGGG
    ACTGATGGCTAGCAAAGGAGAAGAACTT
    TTC
 
  EGFPrevNotI   GATCGCGGCCGCTTACTTGTACAATTCA
    TCCATGCCATG
 
  ZeoCDS_mut_MlyI_fwd   agttctggactgataggctcggtttctc
    ccgtg
 
  ZeoCDS_mut_MlyI_rev   cacgggagaaaccgagcctatcagtcca
    gaact
 
  seqintARG4fwd   ctagatacccgtgaactttgtctc
 
  seqGFPrev   ttccgtatgtagcatcaccttcac
 
  newTomatoAscIBmrIFWD   GGTCggcgcgccACTGGGtgctATGGTT
    TCTAAGGGTGAGGAA
 
  AOXTTSbfIAvrIIREV1   TTATACCATTCTGCGAGAAGGTCCCCTG
    CAGGGCACAAACGAAGGTCTCACTTAAT
    CTTC
 
  AOXTTSbfIAvrIIREV2   GACCCCTAGGCCGTACGACAGTCAGTTA
    GTAGATATTTATACCATTCTGCGAGAAG
    GTCC
 

Tab. 2: List of Bidirectional Promoters (See FIG. 26)
[0235] The promoters were PCR amplified and cloned in a reporter vector with a green fluorescent protein on one side and a red fluorescent protein on the other side. If relevant, the length, primers used and approximate expression levels are outlined.
[0236] 
[00002] [TABLE-US-00002]
  TABLE 3
 
  Primers used for assembling the constructs for testing the applications
  of bidirectional expression system for gene coexpression
 
 
  CtCYP52A13mutREV   accattcaaaacccaatacagttgttgcatcacagctc
 
  CtCPRmutFWD   gtaggaagttcgacagattacttggtgagaaaggtgg
 
  CtCPRmutREV   ccacctttctcaccaagtaatctgtcgaacttcctac
 
  CtCYP52A13olePCRfwd   GCAACAGAGGTCggcgcgccACTGGGtgctATGACGGTT
    CATGACATCATCGCTACTTAC
 
  CtCYP52A13NotIrev   ACTTGCGGCCGCTTAATACATTTCAATGTTTGCACCATC
    GAACAAAGACATAGTC
 
  stufferCYP-   catgaaccgtcatagcaCCCAGTggcgcgccGACCTCTG
  CPRolePCRfwd   TTGCCTCTTTGTTGGACGAAC
 
  stufferCYP-   atcaagtgccatcagtCCCAGTgagctcTTAAGCTGGAA
  CPRolePCRrev   GAGCCAATCTCTTGAAAGTAC
 
  CtCPRolePCRfwd   AgagctcACTGGGactgatggcacttgataaactagatt
    tgtacgtgattatcaccttag
 
  CtCPRNotIrev   TAATGCGGCCGCTTACCAAACATCCTCCTGATAACGATTT
    TGAACTTTCCAG
 
  pDAS2-Gib-CtCYP-ins   aagtagcgatgatgtcatgaaccgtcatttttgatgtttg
    atagtttgataagagtgaac
 
  pDAS1-Gib-CtCPR-ins   acgtacaaatctagtttatcaagtgccattttgttcgatt
    attctccagataaaatcaac
 
  pDAS1-Gib-CtCYP-ins   taagtagcgatgatgtcatgaaccgtcattttgttcgatt
    attctccagataaaatcaac
 
  pDAS2-Gib-CtCPR-ins   cgtacaaatctagtttatcaagtgccatttttgatgtttg
    atagtttgataagagtgaac
 
  pAOX1-Gib-CtCYP-ins   aagtagcgatgatgtcatgaaccgtcatcgtttcgaataa
    ttagttgttttttgatcttc
 
  pGAP-Gib-CtCPR-ins   atcacgtacaaatctagtttatcaagtgccattgtgtttt
    gatagttgttcaattgattg
 
  pGAP-Gib-CtCYP-ins   gtagcgatgatgtcatgaaccgtcattgtgttttgatagt
    tgttcaattgattgaaatag
 
  pAOX1-Gib-CtCPR-ins   cgtacaaatctagtttatcaagtgccatcgtttcgaataa
    ttagttgttttttgatcttc
 
  pCAT1-Gib-CtCPR-ins   cacgtacaaatctagtttatcaagtgccatTTTAATTGTA
    AGTCTTGACTAGAGCAAGTG
 
  pCAT1-Gib-CtCYP-ins   gtaagtagcgatgatgtcatgaaccgtcatTTTAATTGTA
    AGTCTTGACTAGAGCAAGTG
 
  pTEF1-Gib-CtCPR-ins   acgtacaaatctagtttatcaagtgccatgttggcgaata
    actaaaatgtatgtagtgag
 
  pTEF1-Gib-CtCYP-ins   taagtagcgatgatgtcatgaaccgtcatgttggcgaata
    actaaaatgtatgtagtgag
 
  seqCtCYP-141 . . . 174-rev   agccttaaaaccgaaacaaccgtc
 
  seqCtCPR-217 . . . 240-rev   acgggacagtttgttggcgtaatc
 
  MFalphaolePCRfwd   CAACAGAGGTCggcgcgccACTGGGtgctATGAGATTCCCA
    TCTATTTTCACCGCTGTCT
 
  CalB-NotIrev   TAATGCGGCCGCTTATGGGGTCACGATACCGGAACAAGTTCTC
 
  5′stufferMFalphaolePCRfwd   atagatgggaatctcatagcaCCCAGTggcgcgccGACCTCTG
    TTGCCTCTTTGTTGGAC
 
  stufferCalB-   AttgaattgcatcagtCCCAGTgagctcTTAAGCTGGAAGAGC
  PDIolePCRrev   CAATCTCTTGAAAGTAC
 
  PDImutBmrIolePCRfwd   AGCTTAAgagctcACTGGGactgatgcaattcaaTtgggacat
    caagacagttgcatcca
 
  PDINotIrev   ttttGCGGCCGCTTACAATTCGTCGTGAGCATCAGCTTCAGAC
 
  pDAS2-Gib-MFalpha-ins   cagcggtgaaaatagatgggaatctcatttttgatgtttgata
    gtttgataagagtgaac
 
  pDAS1-Gib-PDI-ins   actgtcttgatgtcccaAttgaattgcattttgttcgattatt
    ctccagataaaatcaac
 
  pDAS1-Gib-MFalpha-ins   acagcggtgaaaatagatgggaatctcattttgttcgattatt
    ctccagataaaatcaac
 
  pDAS2-Gib-PDI-ins   ctgtcttgatgtcccaAttgaattgcatttttgatgtttgata
    gtttgataagagtgaac
 
  pAOX1-Gib-MFalpha-ins   cagcggtgaaaatagatgggaatctcatcgtttcgaataatta
    gttgttttttgatcttc
 
  pGAP-Gib-PDI-ins   gtcttgatgtcccaAttgaattgcattgtgttttgatagttgt
    tcaattgattgaaatag
 
  pGAP-Gib-MFalpha-ins   gcggtgaaaatagatgggaatctcattgtgttttgatagttgt
    tcaattgattgaaatag
 
  pAOX1-Gib-PDI-ins   ctgtcttgatgtcccaAttgaattgcatcgtttcgaataatta
    gttgttttttgatcttc
 
  pCAT1-Gib-PDI-ins   aactgtcttgatgtcccaAttgaattgcatTTTAATTGTAAGT
    CTTGACTAGAGCAAGTG
 
  pCAT1-Gib-MFalpha-ins   gacagcggtgaaaatagatgggaatctcatTTTAATTGTAAGT
    CTTGACTAGAGCAAGTG
 
  pHTA1-Gib-MFalpha-ins   gcggtgaaaatagatgggaatctcattgttgtagttttaatat
    agtttgagtatgagatg
 
  pHTB2-Gib-PDI-ins   actgtcttgatgtcccaAttgaattgcattttgatttgtttag
    gtaacttgaactggatg
 
  pHTB2-Gib-MFalpha-ins   acagcggtgaaaatagatgggaatctcattttgatttgtttag
    gtaacttgaactggatg
 
  pHTA1-Gib-PDI-ins   gtcttgatgtcccaAttgaattgcattgttgtagttttaatat
    agtttgagtatgagatg
 
  pHistH3-Gib-MFalpha-   gacagcggtgaaaatagatgggaatctcatttttactacgata
  ins   gacacaagaagaagcag
 
  pHistH4-Gib-PDI-ins   tgtcttgatgtcccaAttgaattgcatatttattgattatttg
    tttatgggtgagtctag
 
  pHistH4-Gib-MFalpha-   agcggtgaaaatagatgggaatctcatatttattgattatttg
  ins   tttatgggtgagtctag
 
  pHistH3-Gib-PDI-ins   aactgtcttgatgtcccaAttgaattgcatttttactacgata
    gacacaagaagaagcag
 
  seqMFalphal32 . . . 109rev   aaggtcagagtaaccgataactgc
 
  seqPDI103 . . . 126rev   agtagcctcagtcaacttcacaac
 

LITERATURE

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Claims

1. A library of bidirectional expression cassettes comprising a plurality of bidirectional promoter sequences, each expression cassette comprising a bidirectional promoter sequence operably linked to a first gene in one direction, and operably linked to an oppositely oriented second gene in the other direction which is different from the first gene, wherein the bidirectional promoter sequences are functional in a Pichia pastoris or CHO cell, and wherein the bidirectional promoter sequences comprise two sequences selected from the group consisting of (i) SEQ ID NO:39-78, (ii) SEQ ID NO: 126-135, and (iii) SEP ID NO: 136-165.
2. A library of expression vectors each comprising at least one expression cassette as defined in claim 1.
3. The library of claim 1, wherein the genes comprise a gene of interest (GOI) or a reporter gene, and wherein (i) the genes encode protein components of a composite protein or protein complex, (ii) the first gene encodes a first protein which supports folding or targeting of a second protein, (iii) the genes are of the same metabolic or regulatory pathway, or (iv) the genes are of different pathways wherein one pathway supports other pathways.
4. The library of claim 1, wherein the plurality of bidirectional promoter sequences comprises at least 50 different bidirectional promoter sequences.
5. A method of screening or selecting a bidirectional promoter suitable for expressing at least two GOI in a host cell which comprises
a) providing the library of claim 1, comprising the at least two GOI as the first and second genes;
b) selecting a library member which has a proven bidirectional transcription activity; and
c) identifying the bidirectional promoter sequence comprised in the selected library member and/or using the same for producing an expression construct to express said at least two GOI under the transcriptional control of said bidirectional promoter sequence.
6. The method according to claim 5, wherein the transcription activity is qualitatively and/or quantitatively determined.
7. The method of claim 5, wherein the library member is selected according to the transcription activity of the first and second genes, which is differently regulated, preferably any of a constitutive activity, or activity induced or de-repressed by a carbon source.
8. The library of claim 3, wherein the composite protein is a heterodimeric protein.
9. The library of claim 3, wherein the protein complex is formed by interaction of the protein components.
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