Tick Chitinase

  *US07488488B2*
  US007488488B2                                 
(12)United States Patent(10)Patent No.: US 7,488,488 B2
 Fujisaki et al. (45) Date of Patent:Feb.  10, 2009

(54)Tick chitinase 
    
(75)Inventors: Kozo Fujisaki,  Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido 080-8555 (JP); 
  Hideyuki Nagasawa,  Hokkaido (JP); 
  Ikuo Igarashi,  Hokkaido (JP); 
  Hiroshi Suzuki,  Hokkaido (JP); 
  Chihiro Sugimoto,  Hokkaido (JP); 
  Gakunan Gen,  Hokkaido (JP); 
  Myonjo Yu,  Hokkaido (JP); 
  Naotoshi Tsuji,  Ibaraki (JP) 
(73)Assignees:Meui Seika Kaisha, Ltd.,  Tokyo (JP), Type: Foreign Company;
Kozo Fujisaki,  Hokkaido (JP), Type: Foreign Individual
 
(*)Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 358 days. 
(21)Appl. No.: 10/506,010 
(22)PCT Filed:Feb.  28, 2003 
(86)PCT No.: PCT/JP03/02335 
 § 371 (c)(1), (2), (4) Date: Nov.  19, 2004  
(87)PCT Pub. No.:WO03/072609 
 PCT Pub. Date:Sep.  4, 2003 
(65)Prior Publication Data 
 US 2005/0129702 A1 Jun.  16, 2005 
(30)Foreign Application Priority Data 
 Feb.  28, 2002     (JP)   2002-053145
(51)Int. Cl. A61K 039/02 (20060101)
(52)U.S. Cl. 424/264.1; 424/234.1; 424/94.1; 435/4; 435/7.4; 530/350
(58)Field of Search  530/350; 424/234.1, 265.1, 94.1; 435/4, 7.4

 
(56)References Cited

 OTHER PUBLICATIONS
  
  Mikayama et al. (Nov. 1993. Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci. USA, vol. 90 : 10056-10060). *
  Rudinger et al. (Jun. 1976. Peptide Hormones. Biol.Council. pp. 5-7). *
  Bowie et al., “Deciphering the Message in Protein Sequences: Tolerance to Amino Acid Substitutions,” Science, Colume 247, pp. 1306-1310 (1990). *
  Murphy et al. Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 1989. 8: S66-S68. *
  Yamanaka et al (J. Pediatrics. 1993. 122(2): 212-218). *
  Fujisaki, K., Development of acquired resistance precipitating antibody in rabbits experimentally infested with females of Haemaphysalis longicornis (Ixodoidea: Ixodidae)., Natl. Inst. Anim. Health Q, 1978, vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 27 to 38.
  Joelle Le Mao, et al., Mapping of Dermatophagoides farinae mite allergens by two-dimensional immunoblotting., J. Allergy Clin. Immunol., 1998, vol. 102, pp. 631 to 636.
  McCall, C., et al., Characterization and cloning of a major high molecular weight house dust mite allergens (Der f 15) for dogs., Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 2001, vol. 78, No. 3-4, pp. 231 to 247.
  de la Vega H. et al., Chitinases are a multi-gene family•in Aedes, Anopheles and Drosophila., Insect. Mol. Biol., 1998, vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 233 to 239.
  Willadsen P. et al., Immunology of the tick-host interaction and the control of ticks and tick-borne diseases., Parasitol Today, 1999, vol. 15, No. 7, pp. 258 to 262.
  European Search Report Dated Apr. 25, 2007.
  Database UniProt [Online], Oct. 1, 2002, “Chitinase”, XP002428764, retrieved from EBI accession No. UNIPROT: Q8MY79, Database accession No. Q8MY79. Database EMBL [Online], Jul. 30, 2002, “Haemaphysalis longicornis Cht mRNA for chitinase, complete cds”, XP002428765, retrieved from EBI accession No. EMBL: AB074977, Database accession No. AB074977.
  Database UniProt [Online], Dec. 1, 2001, “LD45559p”, XP002428766, retrieved from EBI accession No. UNIPROT: Q960M0, Database accession No. Q960M0. Database EMBL [Online], Aug. 27, 2001, “Drosophila melanogaster LD45559 full length cDNA”, XP002428767, retrieved from EBI accession No. EMBL: AY051988, Database accession No. AY051988.
  You, Myungjo, et al., “Identification and Molecular Characterization of a Chitinase from the Hard Tick Haemaphysalis longicornis”, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Mar. 7, 2003, pp. 8556-8563, vol. 278, No. 10, XP002428759, ISSN: O021-9258, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
 
 
     * cited by examiner
 
     Primary Examiner —Jennifer E Graser
     Art Unit — 1645
     Exemplary claim number — 1
 
(74)Attorney, Agent, or Firm — Sughrue Mion, PLLC

(57)

Abstract

A novel chitinase, a polynucleotide encoding the same, a vector and a transformant comprising the polynucleotide, an antibody against the chitinase, and a screening method for screening a substance capable of modifying the chitinase, are disclosed. According to the chitinase, polynucleotide, or vector, it is possible, for example, to exterminate ticks, or to treat or prevent tick-borne infections such as piroplasmosis, Q fever, or viral encephalitis.
3 Claims, 1 Drawing Sheet, and 2 Figures


TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention relates to a tick chitinase.

BACKGROUND ART

[0002] Ticks are the cause, directly or indirectly, of extensive damage to animals or humans. Examples of the direct damage are pruritus or bleeding caused by biting or blood-sucking, or tick paralysis or allergic diseases caused by saliva secreted in blood-sucking or regurgitation of midgut contents. Examples of the indirect damage are various diseases in livestock, caused by viruses, rickettsiae, bacterium, spirochaeta, protozoa, nematoda, or the like. This damage causes enormous losses at home and abroad, and threat of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases by ticks is becoming a serious problem.
[0003] Under these circumstances, various methods to exterminate ticks are used in many countries. Among these methods, the major one is the use of agents such as organic phosphorus agents, carbamate agents, pyrethroid or macrolide antibiotics, or the like. However, in any agent, a drug resistance is established by using the agent successively or heavily, and thus many agents lose their miticidal activity. Further, when using such agents, it is necessary to take side effects to animals into consideration. In addition, there is a problem of a remnant agent which may threaten the safety of foods and the environment, and people tend to avoid the use of such agents. Furthermore, the use of agents is approaching limitation, with respect to the enormous development cost, in addition to the effectiveness thereof and an applicable area. As described above, it is considered difficult to prevent the parasitism of ticks to humans or animals, and the damage caused by ticks-borne infection in the 21st century, by means of the use of agents.
[0004] In hematophagous arthropods including ticks, acquisition of protective immune response against reinfection in a host against a viral or bacterial infection is known and has been confirmed in the laboratory stage [Fujisaki, Nat. Inst. Anim. Hlth. Quart. (Tokyo), 18, 27-38 (1978)]. Due to the recent progress in gene recombination techniques, genes encoding protective antigens, enzymes related to metamorphosis specific to hematophagous arthropods, or the like are being intensively cloned in many countries, and an attempt to manufacture safe vaccine proteins or chemotherapeutic agents has been made.
[0005] However, such an agent in practical use is only that against Boophilus microplus, which was developed by Willadesen [Willadesen and Jogejan, Prasitology Today. 15, 258-262 (1999)]. There is now a search for a vaccine against Haemaphysalis longicornis, which is widely distributed over Asian countries including Japan and the Eurasia continent and mediates zoonotic diseases such as piroplasmosis, Q fever, or viral encephalitis and thus the rapid development and practical application of such a vaccine is greatly desired.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

[0006] The present inventors have conducted intensive studies into obtaining a novel polypeptide useful as a candidate for a vaccine against ticks, particularly Haemaphysalis longicornis, and a polynucleotide encoding the polypeptide and, as a result, found a novel chitinase and a polynucleotide encoding the same. Further, the present inventors inoculated the chitinase into mice, to observe the induction of an antibody production, and confirmed that the chitinase is useful as a tick vaccine. The present invention is based on the above findings.
[0007] The object of the present invention is to provide a novel chitinase useful as a tick vaccine, and a polynucleotide encoding the chitinase.
[0008] The object can be solved by a polypeptide of the present invention, i.e., (1) a polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2;
[0009] (2) a polypeptide comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 and exhibiting a chitinase activity;
[0010] (3) a polypeptide exhibiting a chitinase activity and comprising an amino acid sequence in which one or plural amino acids are substituted, deleted, and/or inserted at one or plural positions in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2; or
[0011] (4) a polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence having a 60% or more homology with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and exhibiting a chitinase activity.
[0012] The present invention relates to a polynucleotide encoding the polypeptide.
[0013] The present invention relates to a vector comprising the polynucleotide.
[0014] The present invention relates to a transformant comprising the polynucleotide.
[0015] The present invention relates to a process for producing the polypeptide, comprising the step of culturing the transformant.
[0016] The present invention relates to a medicament comprising the polypeptide or a fragment thereof, the polynucleotide, or the vector.
[0017] The present invention relates to a pharmaceutical composition comprising the polypeptide or a fragment thereof, the polynucleotide, or the vector, and a pharmaceutically or veterinary acceptable carrier or diluent.
[0018] The present invention relates to a method for exterminating ticks, comprising administering to a subject in need thereof the polypeptide or a fragment thereof, the polynucleotide, or the vector in an amount effective therefor.
[0019] The present invention relates to a method for treating or preventing a tick-borne infection, comprising administering to a subject in need thereof the polypeptide or a fragment thereof, the polynucleotide, or the vector in an amount effective therefor.
[0020] The present invention relates to an antibody or a fragment thereof, which binds to the polypeptide.
[0021] The present invention relates to a method for screening a substance capable of modifying a chitinase activity of the polypeptide, comprising the steps of:
[0022] bringing the polypeptide into contact with a substance to be tested; and
[0023] analyzing the chitinase activity of the polypeptide.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0024] FIG. 1 shows the result of SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of a recombinant chitinase fusion protein.
[0025] FIG. 2 shows the result of electrophoresis of native (wild type) chitinase in a tick egg lysate by immunoblotting.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0026] The present invention will be explained in detail hereinafter.

[1] Polypeptide of the Present Invention

[0027] The polypeptides of the present invention includes
[0028] (1) a polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2;
[0029] (2) a polypeptide comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 and exhibiting a chitinase activity;
[0030] (3) a polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence in which one or plural amino acids are substituted, deleted, and/or inserted at one or plural positions in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and exhibiting a chitinase activity (hereinafter referred to as a variation functionally equivalent); and
[0031] (4) a polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence having a 60% or more homology with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and exhibiting a chitinase activity (hereinafter referred to as a homologous polypeptide).
[0032] The term “chitinase activity” as used herein means an enzyme activity in which chitin [poly(β-1,4-N-acetyl D-glucosamine)] is digested to generate oligosaccharides and N-acetylglucosamine. Whether or not a polypeptide to be tested exhibits the chitinase activity may be easily confirmed, for example, by a known method for measuring the chitinase activity, in which the polypeptide to be tested is brought into contact with a substrate of chitinase, and then the digestion and/or a degree thereof of the chitinase substrate is analyzed [for example, Johannes et al., Infect. Immun., 69, 4041-4047 (2001)]. The method is not particularly limited, but is preferably confirmed by a method described in Example 6.
[0033] More particularly, for example, a polypeptide to be tested is added to a well of an agarose gel containing an appropriate substrate of chitinase (for example, glycol chitin or chitin), and incubated for a predetermined period (for example, at 37° C. for 12 hours). The gel is stained with an appropriate dye [for example, Fluorescent Brightener 28 (Sigma)] and observed under an ultraviolet ray. The portion in which chitin is digested by chitinase does not react with the dye, and becomes black. In this case, it may be judged that the polypeptide to be tested exhibits the chitinase activity. Conversely, when the chitinase reaction does not occur, the gel is brightened by the reaction with the dye. In this case, it may be judged that the polypeptide to be tested does not exhibit the chitinase activity.
[0034] The “polypeptide comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 and exhibiting the chitinase activity” as the polypeptide of the present invention includes, for example,
[0035] a fusion polypeptide consisting of an amino acid sequence in which an appropriate marker sequence or the like is added to the N-terminus and/or the C-terminus of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and exhibiting the chitinase activity; or
[0036] a fusion polypeptide of the polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 and a partner for fusion, and exhibiting the chitinase activity.
[0037] As the marker sequence, for example, a sequence for easily carrying out a confirmation of polypeptide expression, a confirmation of intracellular localization thereof, a purification thereof, or the like may be used. As the sequence, there may be mentioned, for example, a FLAG tag, a hexa-histidine tag, a hemagglutinin tag, a myc epitope, or the like.
[0038] As the partner for fusion, there may be mentioned, for example, a polypeptide for purification [for example, glutathione S-transferase (GST) or a fragment thereof], a polypeptide for detection [for example, hemagglutinin or β-galactosidase α peptide (LacZ α), or a fragment thereof], a polypeptide for expression (for example, a signal sequence), or the like.
[0039] In the above fusion polypeptide, an amino acid sequence which can be specifically digested with a protease such as thrombin or factor Xa may be optionally inserted between the polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 and the marker sequence or the partner for fusion.
[0040] The variation functionally equivalent of the present invention is not particularly limited, so long as it is a polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence in which one or plural (preferably 1 to 10, more preferably 1 to 7, most preferably 1 to 5) amino acids in total (for example, one to several amino acids in total) are deleted, substituted, and/or inserted at one or plural positions in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and exhibiting the chitinase activity. Further, an origin of the variation functionally equivalent is not limited to Haemaphysalis longicornis.
[0041] The variation functionally equivalent of the present invention includes not only Haemaphysalis longicornis variations of the polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, but also variations functionally equivalent derived from organisms other than Haemaphysalis longicornis [for example, Ixodids (hard ticks) other than Haemaphysalis longicornis, or Argasids (soft ticks)]. Further, it includes polypeptides prepared using polynucleotides obtained by artificially modifying their amino acid sequences encoded thereby by genetic engineering techniques, on the basis of polynucleotides encoding these native polypeptides (i.e., Haemaphysalis longicornis variations or variations functionally equivalent derived from organisms other than Haemaphysalis longicornis), or on the basis of polynucleotides encoding the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2. The term “variation” as used herein means an individual difference between the same polypeptides in the same species or a difference between homologous polypeptides in several species.
[0042] Haemaphysalis longicornis variations of the polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, or variations functionally equivalent derived from organisms other than Haemaphysalis longicornis may be obtained by those skilled in the art in accordance with the information of a base sequence (for example, the base sequence of the 571st to 3360th bases in the base sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1) of a polynucleotide encoding the polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2. In this connection, genetic engineering techniques may be generally performed in accordance with known methods (for example, Sambrook et al., “Molecular Cloning, A Laboratory Manual”, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1989), unless otherwise specified.
[0043] For example, an appropriate probe or appropriate primers are designed in accordance with the information of a base sequence of a polynucleotide encoding the polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method (Saiki, R. K. et al., Science, 239, 487-491, 1988) or a hybridization method is carried out using a sample (for example, total RNA or an mRNA fraction, a cDNA library, or a phage library) derived prepared from an organism [for example, Ixodids (hard ticks) other than Haemaphysalis longicornis, or Argasids (soft ticks)] of interest and the primers or the probe to obtain a polynucleotide encoding the polypeptide. A desired polypeptide may be obtained by expressing the resulting polynucleotide in an appropriate expression system and confirming that the expressed polypeptide exhibits the chitinase activity by, for example, the method described in Example 6.
[0044] Further, the polypeptide artificially modified by genetic engineering techniques may be obtained by, for example, the following procedure. A gene encoding the polypeptide is obtained by a conventional method such as site-specific directed mutagenesis (Mark, D. F. et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 81, 5662-5666, 1984). A desired polypeptide may be obtained by expressing the resulting polynucleotide in an appropriate expression system and confirming that the expressed polypeptide exhibits the chitinase activity by, for example, the method described in Example 6.
[0045] The homologous polypeptide of the present invention is not particularly limited, so long as it is a polypeptide having an amino acid sequence having a 60% or more homology with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and exhibiting the chitinase activity. The homologous polypeptide of the present invention may have an amino acid sequence having preferably a 70% or more homology, more preferably a 80% or more homology, more preferably a 90% or more homology, more preferably a 95% or more homology, most preferably a 98% or more homology, with respect to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2. The term “homology” as used herein means a value obtained by a Clustal program (Higgins and Sharp, Gene, 73, 237-244, 1988; and Thompson et al., Nucleic Acid Res., 22, 4673-4680, 1994) in accordance with a default parameter.
[0046] The above-mentioned novel polypeptide of the present invention may be manufactured by various known methods, for example, known genetic engineering techniques using the polynucleotide of the present invention which encodes the polypeptide of the present invention. More particularly, the polypeptide of the present invention may be prepared by culturing the transformant of the present invention described below (i.e., the transformant comprising the polynucleotide of the present invention) under conditions in which the novel polypeptide of the present invention can be expressed, and then separating and purifying the desired polypeptide from the resulting culture in accordance with a conventional method for a polypeptide separation and purification. As the separation and purification method, there may be mentioned, for example, salting-out with ammonium sulfate, an ion exchange column chromatography using ion exchange cellulose, a molecular sieve column chromatography using molecular sieve gel, an affinity column chromatography using protein A agarose, dialysis, lyophilization, or the like.
[0047] The present invention includes a fragment of the polypeptide of the present invention. The fragment of the present invention is useful as an active ingredient for the medicament of the present invention or as an antigen for preparing the antibody of the present invention.

[2] Polynucleotide of the Present Invention

[0048] The polynucleotide of the present invention is not particularly limited, so long as it encodes the polypeptide of the present invention. As the polynucleotide of the present invention, there may be mentioned, for example, a polynucleotide consisting of the 571st to 3360th bases in the base sequence of the SEQ ID NO: 1. In this connection, the term “polynucleotide” as used herein includes both DNA and RNA.
[0049] The present invention includes a polynucleotide comprising a base sequence which can hybridize with the polynucleotide of the present invention, preferably a polynucleotide consisting of a base sequence which can hybridize with the polynucleotide of the present invention. The base sequence capable of hybridizing with the polynucleotide of the present invention is preferably a base sequence complementary to the base sequence (or a partial sequence thereof) of the polynucleotide of the present invention, more preferably a base sequence complementary to the base sequence (or a partial sequence thereof) consisting of the 571st to 3360th bases in the base sequence of the SEQ ID NO: 1.

[3] Vector and Transformant of the Present Invention

[0050] The vector of the present invention is not particularly limited, so long as it comprises the polynucleotide of the present invention. As the vector, there may be mentioned, for example, a vector obtained by introducing the polynucleotide of the present invention into a known expression vector appropriately selected in accordance with a host cell to be used.
[0051] The transformant of the present invention is not particularly limited, so long as it comprises the polynucleotide of the present invention. The transformant of the present invention may be, for example, a cell in which the polynucleotide is integrated into a chromosome of a host cell, or a transformant containing the polynucleotide as a vector comprising polynucleotide. Further, the transformant of the present invention may be a transformant expressing the polypeptide of the present invention, or a transformant not expressing the polypeptide of the present invention. The transformant of the present invention may be obtained by, for example, transfecting a desired host cell with the vector of the present invention or the polynucleotide of the present invention per se.
[0052] The host cell may be, for example, a known microorganism usually used, for example, an Escherichia coli or yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), or a known cultivated cell, such as an animal cell, such as a CHO cell, an HEK-293 cell, or a COS cell, or an insect cell such as a BmN4 cell.
[0053] The known expression vector may be, for example, pUC, pTV, pGEX, pKK, or pTrcHis for an Escherichia coli; pEMBLY or pYES2 for the yeast; pcDNA3 or pMAMneo for the CHO cell; pcDNA3 for the HEK-293 cell; pcDNA3 for the COS cell; a vector (such as pBK283) containing a polyhedrin promoter of a silkworm nucleopolyhederovirus (BmNPV) for the BmN4 cell. Further, the expression vector includes a virus vector which can be used as a vector for a gene therapy, such as retrovirus, adenovirus, or Sendai virus.

[4] Medicament of the Present Invention

[0054] The medicament of the present invention (preferably a tick vaccine) comprises, as a active ingredient, the polypeptide of the present invention or a fragment thereof, the polynucleotide of the present invention, or the vector of the present invention. In the present invention, the polypeptide of the present invention or a fragment thereof, the polynucleotide of the present invention, or the vector of the present invention can be orally or parenterally administered alone, or preferably together with a pharmaceutically or veterinarily acceptable carrier or diluent, to an animal (preferably a mammal, particularly a human) in need of an extermination of ticks.
[0055] When the active ingredient in the medicament of the present invention (i.e., the polypeptide of the present invention or a fragment thereof, the polynucleotide of the present invention, or the vector of the present invention) is administered to an animal as a tick vaccine, an antibody production may be induced and then ticks may be terminated by protective immune response against reinfection in the host animal. Further, as a result, it is possible to treat or prevent tick-borne infections such as piroplasmosis, Q fever, or viral encephalitis.
[0056] In other words, the pharmaceutical composition (preferably pharmaceutical composition for exterminating ticks or pharmaceutical composition for treating or preventing a tick-borne infection) of the present invention comprises the polypeptide of the present invention or a fragment thereof, the polynucleotide of the present invention, or the vector of the present invention as the active ingredient, and a pharmaceutically or veterinary acceptable carrier or diluent. The active ingredient in the present invention (i.e., the polypeptide of the present invention or a fragment thereof, the polynucleotide of the present invention, or the vector of the present invention) can be used in the manufacture of the above medicament (preferably medicament for exterminating ticks or medicament for treating or preventing a tick-borne infection).
[0057] When the medicament of the present invention is used as a tick vaccine, the fragment of the polypeptide of the present invention is not particularly limited, so long as the fragment administered to a subject can induce immunity thereagainst. The fragment can be appropriately selected by those skilled in the art.
[0058] The medicament (particularly the tick vaccine) of the present invention can be used, for example, by mixing the polypeptide of the present invention with an adjuvant or the like and inoculating the resulting mixture into an animal (for example, livestock) at an appropriate interval as a tick vaccine. Further, it can be used by dissolving or suspending the polypeptide of the present invention directly in an appropriate solvent, or by enclosing it in liposomes or integrating a DNA encoding it in an appropriate vector. Furthermore, it can be used in an appropriate formulation such as injections, tablets, capsules, eye drops, creams, suppositories, sprays, poultices, or the like, optionally by adding a pharmaceutical acceptable carrier to the polypeptide of the present invention.
[0059] As the pharmaceutical acceptable carrier, well-known solvents, bases, stabilizing agents, antiseptics, solubilizing agents, fillers, buffers, and the like may be used. When the polypeptide of the present invention contained in the medicament of the present invention is used in the above formulation, the administration method and the dose may be determined in accordance with, for example, the age or sex of each subject, or the kind or degree of each disease.
[0060] The oral administration includes a sublingual administration. As the parenteral administration, for example, inhalation, percutaneous administration, ophthalmic administration, vaginal administration, intra-articular administration, rectal administration, intra-arterial administration, intravenous administration, local administration, intramuscular administration, subcutaneous administration, intraperitoneal administration, or the like may be selected.

[5] Antibody and the Fragment thereof of the Present Invention

[0061] An antibody, such as a polyclonal antibody or a monoclonal antibody, which reacts with the polypeptide of the present invention may be obtained by directly administering the polypeptide of the present invention or a fragment thereof to various animals. Alternatively, it may be obtained by a DNA vaccine method (Raz, E. et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 91, 9519-9523, 1994; or Donnelly, J. J. et al., J. Infect. Dis., 173, 314-320, 1996), using a plasmid into which a polynucleotide encoding the polypeptide of the present invention is inserted.
[0062] The polyclonal antibody may be produced from a serum or eggs of an animal such as a rabbit, a rat, a goat, or a chicken, in which the animal is immunized and sensitized by the polypeptide of the present invention or a fragment thereof emulsified in an appropriate adjuvant (for example, Freund's complete adjuvant) by intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, or intravenous administration. The polyclonal antibody may be separated and purified from the resulting serum or eggs in accordance with conventional methods for polypeptide isolation and purification. Examples of the separation and purification methods include, for example, centrifugal separation, dialysis, salting-out with ammonium sulfate, or a chromatographic technique using such as DEAE-cellulose, hydroxyapatite, protein A agarose, and the like.
[0063] The monoclonal antibody may be easily produced by those skilled in the art, according to, for example, a cell fusion method of Kohler and Milstein (Kohler, G. and Milstein, C., Nature, 256, 495-497, 1975).
[0064] A mouse is immunized intraperitoneally, subcutaneously, or intravenously several times at an interval of a few weeks by a repeated inoculation of emulsions in which the polypeptide of the present invention or a fragment thereof is emulsified into a suitable adjuvant such as Freund's complete adjuvant. Spleen cells are removed after the final immunization, and then fused with myeloma cells to prepare hybridomas.
[0065] As a myeloma cell for obtaining a hybridoma, a myeloma cell having a marker such as a deficiency in hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase or thymidine kinase (for example, mouse myeloma cell line P3X63Ag8.U1) may be used. As a fusing agent, polyethylene glycol may be used. As a medium for preparation of hybridomas, for example, a commonly used medium such as an Eagle's minimum essential medium, a Dulbecco's modified minimum essential medium, or an RPMI-1640 medium may be used by adding properly 10 to 30% of a fetal bovine serum. The fused strains may be selected by a HAT selection method. A culture supernatant of the hybridomas is screened by a well-known method such as an ELISA method or an immunohistological method, to select hybridoma clones secreting the antibody of interest. The monoclonality of the selected hybridoma is guaranteed by repeating subcloning by a limiting dilution method. Antibodies in an amount which may be purified are produced by culturing the resulting hybridomas in a medium for 2 to 4 days, or in the peritoneal cavity of a pristane-pretreated BALB/c strain mouse for 10 to 20 days.
[0066] The resulting monoclonal antibodies in the culture supernatant or the ascites may be separated and purified by conventional polypeptide isolation and purification methods. Examples of the separation and purification methods include, for example, centrifugal separation, dialysis, salting-out with ammonium sulfate, or chromatographic technique using such as DEAE-cellulose, hydroxyapatite, protein A agarose, and the like.
[0067] Further, the monoclonal antibodies or the antibody fragments containing a part thereof may be produced by inserting the whole or a part of a gene encoding the monoclonal antibody into an expression vector and introducing the resulting expression vector into appropriate host cells (such as E. coli, yeast, or animal cells).
[0068] Antibody fragments comprising an active part of the antibody such as F(ab′)2, Fab, Fab′, or Fv may be obtained by a conventional method, for example, by digesting the separated and purified antibodies (including polyclonal antibodies and monoclonal antibodies) with a protease such as pepsin, papain, and the like, and separating and purifying the resulting fragments by standard polypeptide isolation and purification methods.
[0069] Further, an antibody which reacts to the polypeptide of the present invention may be obtained in a form of single chain Fv or Fab in accordance with a method of Clackson et al. or a method of Zebedee et al. (Clackson, T. et al., Nature, 352, 624-628, 1991; or Zebedee, S. et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 89, 3175-3179, 1992). Furthermore, a humanized antibody may be obtained by immunizing a transgenic mouse in which mouse antibody genes are substituted with human antibody genes (Lonberg, N. et al., Nature, 368, 856-859, 1994).

[6] Screening Method of the Present Invention

[0070] It is possible to determine whether or not a substance to be tested modifies (for example, suppresses or promotes) the chitinase activity of the polypeptide according to the present invention, using the polypeptide of the present invention.
[0071] Substances to be tested to which may be applied the screening method of the present invention are not particularly limited, but there may be mentioned, for example, various known compounds (including peptides) registered in chemical files, compounds obtained by combinatorial chemistry techniques (Terrett, N. K. et al., Tetrahedron, 51, 8135-8137, 1995), or random peptides prepared by employing a phage display method (Felici, F. et al., J. Mol. Biol., 222, 301-310, 1991) or the like. In addition, culture supernatants of microorganisms, natural components derived from plants or marine organisms, or animal tissue extracts may be used as the test substances for screening. Further, compounds (including peptides) obtained by chemically or biologically modifying compounds (including peptides) selected by the screening method of the present invention may be used.
[0072] The screening method of the present invention may be carried out by a method similar to the above-mentioned method for confirming the chitinase activity, except that the polypeptide of the present invention, a substrate of chitinase, and the test substance are brought into contact with each other instead of bringing the test polypeptide into contact with a substrate of chitinase.
[0073] Namely, in the screening method of the present invention, it is confirmed whether or not the test substance modifies the chitinase activity of the polypeptide of the present invention by bringing into contact the polypeptide of the present invention, a substrate of chitinase, and the test substance, and then analyzing whether or not the substrate of chitinase is digested (or a degree of the digestion) by the chitinase activity of the polypeptide of the present invention in the presence of the test substance. When the substrate of chitinase is not degraded by the chitinase activity of the polypeptide of the present invention, or the degree of the digestion is decreased, it is possible to confirm that the test substance suppresses the chitinase activity of the polypeptide of the present invention. Alternatively, when the degree of the digestion of the substrate of chitinase by the chitinase activity of the polypeptide of the present invention is increased, it is possible to confirm that the test substance promotes the chitinase activity of the polypeptide of the present invention.

EXAMPLES

[0074] The present invention now will be further illustrated by, but is by no means limited to, the following Examples. The procedures described in the following Examples were performed in accordance with various techniques commonly used in molecular biology, acarology, arthropodology, immunology, or biochemistry, described in, for example, Sambrook et al., “Molecular Cloning, A Laboratory Manual”, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1989 or similar books. As a software for analyzing DNA, MacVector™ (Oxford Molecular) was used.

Example 1

Isolation of a Gene Encoding a Novel Tick Chitinase

[0075] Total RNA was extracted from eggs of a Haemaphysalis longicornis Okayama strain [Fujisaki et al., Nat. Inst. Anim. Hlth Quart. (Tokyo), 16, 122-128 (1976)] by an Acid Guanidinium-phenol-chloroform method [Chomczynski et al., Anal. Biochem., 162, 156-159 (1987)]. From the resulting total RNA, poly A+ RNA was purified using an mRNA isolation kit [Oligotex-dT30 (Super), code W9021B; Takara] in accordance with a protocol attached to the kit.
[0076] The following procedures, i.e., construction of a cDNA library, screening, and insertion into plasmid of a cDNA clone (in vivo Excision) were performed using commercially available reagent kits (Stratagen) in accordance with protocols attached thereto.
[0077] More particularly, cDNA was synthesized using 5 μg of tick mRNA as a template and a cDNA synthesis kit (ZAP-cDNA Synthesis Kit, Cat. No. 200401-5; Stratagen). The resulting cDNA was fractionated by a size fractionation with a Sepharose CL-2B gel column, inserted into a vector (Uni-ZAP XR Vector, Cat. No. 237211; Stratagen), and packaged using a packaging reagent (GigapackIII Gold packaging extract; Stratagen) . Escherichia coli (E. coli XL1-Blue MRF′ strain) was transfected with the packaged product to obtain a library containing approximately 500,000 cDNA clones.
[0078] The cDNA library was plaque-screened using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, to obtain four overlapping positive clones. More particularly, a fragment of a tick chitinase gene obtained by PCR, as a probe, was reacted with the cDNA library. A positive colony was observed as a black dot. Screening was performed by confirming the black dots. In this connection, the PCR was carried out using two primers having the base sequences of SEQ ID NOS: 7 and 8 designed from the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID NOS: 5 and 6, respectively. In the PCR, 50 μL of a reaction liquid [template DNA 1 μg, 0.1 μmol/L primer, 10 mmol/L Tris-HCl (pH8.3), 50 mmol/L KCl, 1.5 mmol/L MgCl2, and 2.5U Taq Gold DNA polymerase (Part No. N808-0244; Perkin Elmer)] was used, and a cycle composed of treatments at 94° C. for 1 minute, 50° C. for 1 minute, and 72° C. for 2 minutes was repeated 40 times.
[0079] These positive clones were inserted into plasmid (i.e., converted into a pBluescript) by an in vivo Excision method.
[0080] Each plasmid containing a cDNA fragment was purified using a plasmid purification kit (Cat no. 12125; Qiagen), and then PCR was carried out using a sequencing kit (Dye Primer Cycle Sequencing Kit, Part No. 4303153; Perkin Elmer) in accordance with a protocol attached to the kit. Each resulting PCR product was analyzed with a DNA sequencer (ABI PRISM 3100 Genetic Analyzer; Perkin Elmer) to determine a base sequence of each cDNA fragment.
[0081] As a result, it was found that all four clones were derived from a single gene. The longest clone was used in the following analyses.
[0082] The full length of the cDNA was 6439 bp, and the base sequence thereof was that of SEQ ID NO: 1. It was confirmed that the base sequence contains an open reading frame consisting of 2790 bp (a base sequence consisting of the 571st to 3360th bases in the base sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1). The amino acid sequence of a protein deduced from the open reading frame was the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 consisting of 929 amino acid residues, and the deduced molecular weight was 104 kDa.
[0083] The homology search of the deduced amino acid sequence was carried out by a BLAST method (Basic local alignment search tool; Altschul, S. F. et al., J. Mol. Biol., 215, 403-410, 1990; obtained from the National Center for Biotechnology Information). As a result, it was confirmed that the amino acid sequence had a high homology with known chitinase proteins derived from other organisms. For example, it had an approximately 30% homology with yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) chitinase [Insect Mol. Biol., 7(3), 233-239 (1998)].

Example 2

Construction of Vector for Expressing Tick Chitinase Fusion Protein

[0084] For cloning the ORF region of the tick chitinase gene, a DNA amplification was carried out by PCR using the cDNA clone obtained in Example 1 as a template, and a sense primer (consisting of the base sequence of SEQ ID NO: 3 and containing the EcoRI recognition site “gaattc” at the 5′ terminus) and an antisense primer (consisting of the base sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4 and containing the XhoI recognition site “ctcgag” at the 5′ terminus). In the PCR, 50 μL of a reaction liquid [template DNA 1 μg, 0.1 μmol/L primer, 10 mmol/L Tris-HCl (pH8.3), 50 mmol/L KCl, 1.5 mmol/L MgCl2, and 2.5U Taq Gold DNA polymerase (Part No. N808-0244; Perkin Elmer)] was used, and a cycle composed of treatments at 94° C. for 1 minute, 50° C. for 1 minute, and 72° C. for 2 minutes was repeated 40 times.
[0085] The PCR product was treated with phenol/chloroform, collected by an ethanol precipitation method, and dissolved in distilled water. The resulting DNA solution was digested with the restriction enzyme EcoRI, and then the DNA fragment was separated by electrophoresis, purified using a DNA purification kit (Cat no. 1001-400; Biotechnologies), and collected in distilled water.
[0086] Meanwhile, a vector pGEMEX-4T-3 (Product no. 27-4583; Pharmacia Biotech) for expression in Escherichia coli was digested with the restriction enzyme EcoRI, dephosphorylated with alkaline phosphatase, and purified in the manner similar to that used in the purification of the PCR product.
[0087] The purified PCR product and vector were reacted using a DNA ligation kit (Cat no. 6022; Takara) in accordance with a protocol attached to the kit. Escherichia coli DH5α was transformed with the ligation reaction product, and then recombinant clones in which the chitinase ORF fragment was inserted in the same direction as that of glutathione S-transferase (GST) in the vector were selected. A recombinant plasmid was purified using a plasmid purification kit (Cat no. 12125; Qiagen).

Example 3

Expression of Tick Chitinase Recombinant Protein in Escherichia coli

[0088] Escherichia coli JM109 (DE3) (Promega) was transformed with the recombinant plasmid prepared in Example 2, and then the transformants were cultured at 37° C. in an LB medium containing ampicillin. When OD600 nm of the culture became 0.3˜0.5, isopropyl-thio-galactoside (IPTG) was added to the culture so that the final concentration became 0.5 mmol/L, and then the transformants were further cultured at 37° C. for 4 hours.
[0089] The expression of tick chitinase recombinant protein was confirmed by carrying out 10% sodium dodecyl sulfate(SDS)-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis [Laemmli et al., Nature, 227, 680-685 (1970)] followed by Coomassie staining.
[0090] As a result, the expression of the recombinant protein having a molecular weight of approximately 130 kDa was observed, and it was confirmed that the recombinant protein was a fusion protein of a GST leader protein (26 kDa) and the tick chitinase protein (104 kDa).

Example 4

Purification of Tick Chitinase Recombinant Protein and Preparation of Antiserum

[0091] The recombinant chitinase fusion protein expressed in Escherichia coli by the method described in Example 3 was purified in accordance with a protocol attached to a commercially available kit (Bulk GST Purification Module; Amersham Bioscience).
[0092] The result of electrophoresis of the purified recombinant chitinase fusion protein is shown in FIG. 1. In this connection, the electrophoresis and staining were performed in the manner similar to that described in Example 3. In FIG. 1, lane 1 is the result of molecular weight markers, lane 2 is the result of the purified recombinant chitinase fusion protein, and lane 3 is the result of the purified GST protein. The arrow at the right side of lane 3 indicates the recombinant chitinase fusion protein, and the numbers at the right side of lane 3 mean the molecular weights of the recombinant chitinase fusion protein (130 kDa), and the tick chitinase protein (104 kDa) and the GST leader protein (26 kDa) which are composed of the recombinant chitinase fusion protein.
[0093] An emulsion was prepared by mixing 200 μL of a solution containing 100 μg of the purified recombinant chitinase fusion protein with 200 μL of a complete Freund's adjuvant (Adjuvant Complete Freund; Difco). The emulsion was intraperitoneally inoculated into a 8-week-old female BALB/c mouse. After 2 and 4 weeks from the intraperitoneal inoculation, 100 μg of the recombinant chitinase fusion protein was mixed with an incomplete Freund's adjuvant (Difco), and each booster inoculation was carried out. After 2 weeks from the final inoculation, blood was collected and the resulting serum was kept at −20° C.

Example 5

Identification of Native (Wild Type) Chitinase by Immunoblotting

[0094] The wild type chitinase protein was identified by immunoblotting [Towbin et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 76, 4350-4354 (1979)] using the anti-recombinant chitinase fusion protein mouse serum obtained in Example 4. As samples, a lysate of tick eggs, i.e., a supernatant prepared in accordance with a method described in You et al., Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol., 32, 67-73 (2000), was used. More particularly, the lasate was prepared by homogenizing tick eggs in 20 mmol/L Tris-HCl and centrifuging the homogenate at 1000 rpm for 30 minutes.
[0095] The result is shown in FIG. 2. In FIG. 2, lane 1 is the result when the anti-recombinant chitinase fusion protein immune serum was used, and lane 2 is the result when the anti-GST protein immune serum was used (negative control). The arrow at the right side of lane 2 indicates the wild type chitinase protein, and the numbers at the right side of lane 2 mean molecular weights.
[0096] As shown in lane 1 in FIG. 2, the specific band of the wild type chitinase protein (114 kDa) was detected in the egg lysate. The measured molecular weight was approximately 10 kDa higher than the molecular weight (104 kDa) deduced from the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2. The difference seems to be due to glycosylation.

Example 6

Confirmation of Chitinase Activity in Recombinant Chitinase Fusion Protein

[0097] In this Example, the chitinase activity in the recombinant chitinase fusion protein was examined on a 1% agarose gel containing 0.01% glycol chitin, in accordance with a known method for measuring the chitinase activity [Johannes et al., Infect. Immun., 69, 4041-4047 (2001)]. For comparison, the chitinase activity in Serratia marcescens chitinase (Sigma ) or β-galactosidase was examined.
[0098] More particularly, 10 μL of each proten solution obtained by dissolving each protein in PBS (phosphate buffer) was added to each well in the agarose gel. After an incubation at 37° C. for 12 hours, the gel was stained in a 0.01% staining liquid (Fluorescent Brightener28; Sigma), washed with distilled water, and observed under an ultraviolet ray.
[0099] The recombinant chitinase fusion protein or Serratia marcescens chitinase reacted with chitin more strongly than did the β-galactosidase or PBS (control). As a result, it was confirmed that the recombinant chitinase fusion protein or Serratia marcescens chitinase exhibits a property of digesting chitin.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

[0100] According to the polypeptide, polynucleotide, vector, transformant, and antibody of the present invention, the medicament of the present invention, particularly a tick vaccine, can be provided.
[0101] Further, according to the medicament of the present invention, particularly a tick vaccine, it is possible, for example, to exterminate ticks, or to treat or prevent tick-borne infections such as piroplasmosis, Q fever, or viral encephalitis.

Free Text in Sequence Listing

[0102] Each of the base sequences of SEQ ID NOS: 3, 4, 7, and 8 in the Sequence Listing is an artificially synthesized primer sequence.
[0103] In the base sequence of SEQ ID NO: 8 in the Sequence Listing, the alphabet “n” means A (i.e., adenine), C (i.e., cytosine), G (i.e., guanine), or T (i.e., thymine).
[0104] Although the present invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, various changes and modifications obvious to those skilled in the art are possible without departing from the scope of the appended claims.
(57)

Claims

1. An isolated polypeptide selected from the group consisting of:
(a) a polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2;
(b) a polypeptide comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 and exhibiting chitinase activity; and
(c) a polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence having at least 90% homology with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and exhibiting chitinase activity.
2. A pharmaceutical composition comprising an isolated polypeptide selected from the group consisting of:
(a) a polypeptide consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2;
(b) a polypeptide comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2 and exhibiting citinase activity; and
(c) a polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence having at least 90% homology with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2, and exhibiting chitinase activity;
and a pharmaceutically or veterinary acceptable carrier or diluent.
3. A method for screening a substance capable of modifying a chitinase activity of the polypeptide of claim 1, comprising the steps of:
bringing the polypeptide into contact with a substance to be tested; and
analyzing the chitinase activity of the polypeptide.
*****

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