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Publication numberUS20050101556 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/829,717
Publication dateMay 12, 2005
Filing dateApr 22, 2004
Priority dateJan 28, 1997
Also published asCA2221686A1, DE69835913D1, EP0855444A2, EP0855444A3, EP0855444B1, EP1811035A1, US6319689, US6870030, US20030036112, US20030109022, US20060263852, US20060269539
Publication number10829717, 829717, US 2005/0101556 A1, US 2005/101556 A1, US 20050101556 A1, US 20050101556A1, US 2005101556 A1, US 2005101556A1, US-A1-20050101556, US-A1-2005101556, US2005/0101556A1, US2005/101556A1, US20050101556 A1, US20050101556A1, US2005101556 A1, US2005101556A1
InventorsDavid Powell, Conrad Chapman, Kay Murphy, Trudi Smith
Original AssigneeSmithkline Beecham Corporation, Smithkline Beecham P.L.C.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Genetic engineering; Alzheimer's disease; anticancer agents
US 20050101556 A1
Abstract
ASP2 polypeptides and polynucleotides and methods for producing such polypeptides by recombinant techniques are disclosed. Also disclosed are methods for utilizing ASP2 polypeptides and polynucleotides in the design of protocols for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing, among others, and diagnostic assays for such conditions.
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Claims(19)
1. An isolated polynucleotide comprising a nucleotide sequence that has at least 80% identity over its entire length to a nucleotide sequence encoding the ASP2 polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2; or a nucleotide sequence complementary to said isolated polynucleotide.
2. The polynucleotide of claim 1 wherein said polynucleotide comprises the nucleotide sequence contained in SEQ ID NO:1 encoding the ASP2 polypeptide of SEQ ID NO2.
3. The polynucleotide of claim 1 wherein said polynucleotide comprises a nucleotide sequence that is at least 80% identical to that of SEQ ID NO:1 over its entire length.
4. The polynucleotide of claim 3 which is polynucleotide of SEQ ID NO: 1.
5. The polynucleotide of claim 1 which is DNA or RNA.
6. A DNA or RNA molecule comprising an expression system, wherein said expression system is capable of producing a ASP2 polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence, which has at least 80% identity with the polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2 when said expression system is present in a compatible host cell.
7. A host cell comprising the expression system of claim 6.
8. A process for producing a ASP2 polypeptide comprising culturing a host of claim 7 under conditions sufficient for the production of said polypeptide and recovering the polypeptide from the culture.
9. A process for producing a cell which produces a ASP2 polypeptide thereof comprising transforming or transfecting a host cell with the expression system of claim 6 such that the host cell, under appropriate culture conditions, produces a ASP2 polypeptide.
10. A ASP2 polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence which is at least 80% identical to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2 over its entire length.
11. The polypeptide of claim 10 which comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2.
12. An antibody immunospecific for the ASP2 polypeptide of claim 10.
13. A method for the treatment of a subject in need of enhanced activity or expression of ASP2 polypeptide of claim 10 comprising:
(a) administering to the subject a therapeutically effective amount of an agonist to said polypeptide; and/or
(b) providing to the subject an isolated polynucleotide comprising a nucleotide sequence that has at least 80% identity to a nucleotide sequence encoding the ASP2 polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2 over its entire length; or a nucleotide sequence complementary to said nucleotide sequence in a form so as to effect production of said polypeptide activity in vivo.
14. A method for the treatment of a subject having need to inhibit activity or expression of ASP2 polypeptide of claim 10 comprising:
(a) administering to the subject a therapeutically effective amount of an antagonist to said polypeptide; and/or
(b) administering to the subject a nucleic acid molecule that inhibits the expression of the nucleotide sequence encoding said polypeptide; and/or
(c) administering to the subject a therapeutically effective amount of a polypeptide that competes with said polypeptide for its ligand, substrate, or receptor.
15. A process for diagnosing a disease or a susceptibility to a disease in a subject related to expression or activity of ASP2 polypeptide of claim 10 in a subject comprising:
(a) determining the presence or absence of a mutation in the nucleotide sequence encoding said ASP2 polypeptide in the genome of said subject; and/or
(b) analyzing for the presence or amount of the ASP2 polypeptide expression in a sample derived from said subject.
16. A method for identifying compounds which inhibit (antagonize) or agonize the ASP2 polypeptide of claim 10 which comprises:
(a) contacting a candidate compound with cells which express the ASP2 polypeptide (or cell membrane expressing ASP2 polypeptide) or respond to ASP2 polypeptide; and
(b) observing the binding, or stimulation or inhibition of a functional response; or comparing the ability of the cells (or cell membrane) which were contacted with the candidate compounds with the same cells which were not contacted for ASP2 polypeptide activity.
17. An agonist identified by the method of claim 16.
18. An antagonist identified by the method of claim 16.
19. A recombinant host cell produced by a method of claim 9 or a membrane thereof expressing a ASP2 polypeptide.
Description

This application claims the benefit of U.K. Application No. 9701684.4, filed Jan. 28, 1997, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to newly identified polynucleotides, polypeptides encoded by them and to the use of such polynucleotides and polypeptides, and to their production. More particularly, the polynucleotides and polypeptides of the present invention relate to Aspartic Proteinase family, hereinafter referred to as ASP2. The invention also relates to inhibiting or activating the action of such polynucleotides and polypeptides.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are currently five known human aspartic proteases, namely, pepsin, gastricsin, cathespin D, cathespin E and renin, and these have widely varying functions. Pepsin and gastricsin are involved in nutritive processes in the stomach, cathepsin D is involved in protein turnover in many cell types, and renin has the highly specific function of angiotensin production from its precursor form, angiotensinogen. The precise role of cathepsin E remains to be confirmed, although its location in some epithelial cells types has indicated a role in antigen processing. It may also be involved in certain inflammatory conditions, such as Helicobacter pylori infection in the stomach. This indicates that the Aspartic Proteinase family has an established, proven history as therapeutic targets. Clearly there is a need for identification and characterization of further members of Aspartic Proteinase family which can play a role in preventing, ameliorating or correcting dysfunctions or diseases, including, but not limited to, Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the invention relates to ASP2 polypeptides and recombinant materials and methods for their production. Another aspect of the invention relates to methods for using such ASP2 polypeptides and polynucleotides. Such uses include the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing, among others. In still another aspect, the invention relates to methods to identify agonists and antagonists using the materials provided by the invention, and treating conditions associated with ASP2 imbalance with the identified compounds. Yet another aspect of the invention relates to diagnostic assays for detecting diseases associated with inappropriate ASP2 activity or levels.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Definitions

The following definitions are provided to facilitate understanding of certain terms used frequently herein.

“ASP2” refers, among others, generally to a polypeptide having the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:2 or an allelic variant thereof.

“ASP2 activity or ASP2 polypeptide activity” or “biological activity of the ASP2 or ASP2 polypeptide” refers to the metabolic or physiologic function of said ASP2 including similar activities or improved activities or these activities with decreased undesirable side-effects. Also included are antigenic and immunogenic activities of said ASP2.

“ASP2 gene” refers to a polynucleotide having the nucleotide sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:1 or allelic variants thereof and/or their complements.

“Antibodies” as used herein includes polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies, chimeric, single chain, and humanized antibodies, as well as Fab fragments, including the products of an Fab or other immunoglobulin expression library.

“Isolated” means altered “by the hand of man” from the natural state. If an “isolated” composition or substance occurs in nature, it has been changed or removed from its original environment, or both. For example, a polynucleotide or a polypeptide naturally present in a living animal is not “isolated,” but the same polynucleotide or polypeptide separated from the coexisting materials of its natural state is “isolated”, as the term is employed herein.

“Polynucleotide” generally refers to any polyribonucleotide or polydeoxribonucleotide, which may be unmodified RNA or DNA or modified RNA or DNA. “Polynucleotides” include, without limitation single- and double-stranded DNA, DNA that is a mixture of single- and double-stranded regions, single- and double-stranded RNA, and RNA that is mixture of single- and double-stranded regions, hybrid molecules comprising DNA and RNA that may be single-stranded or, more typically, double-stranded or a mixture of single- and double-stranded regions. In addition, “polynucleotide” refers to triple-stranded regions comprising RNA or DNA or both RNA and DNA. The term polynucleotide also includes DNAs or RNAs containing one or more modified bases and DNAs or RNAs with backbones modified for stability or for other reasons. “Modified” bases include, for example, tritylated bases and unusual bases such as inosine. A variety of modifications has been made to DNA and RNA; thus, “polynucleotide” embraces chemically, enzymatically or metabolically modified forms of polynucleotides as typically found in nature, as well as the chemical forms of DNA and RNA characteristic of viruses and cells. “Polynucleotide” also embraces relatively short polynucleotides, often referred to as oligonucleotides.

“Polypeptide” refers to any peptide or protein comprising two or more amino acids joined to each other by peptide bonds or modified peptide bonds, i.e., peptide isosteres. “Polypeptide” refers to both short chains, commonly referred to as peptides, oligopeptides or oligomers, and to longer chains, generally referred to as proteins. Polypeptides may contain amino acids other than the 20 gene-encoded amino acids. “Polypeptides” include amino acid sequences modified either by natural processes, such as posttranslational processing, or by chemical modification techniques which are well known in the art. Such modifications are well described in basic texts and in more detailed monographs, as well as in a voluminous research literature. Modifications can occur anywhere in a polypeptide, including the peptide backbone, the amino acid side-chains and the amino or carboxyl termini. It will be appreciated that the same type of modification may be present in the same or varying degrees at several sites in a given polypeptide. Also, a given polypeptide may contain many types of modifications. Polypeptides may be branched as a result of ubiquitination, and they may be cyclic, with or without branching. Cyclic, branched and branched cyclic polypeptides may result from posttranslation natural processes or may be made by synthetic methods. Modifications include acetylation, acylation, ADP-ribosylation, amidation, covalent attachment of flavin, covalent attachment of a heme moiety, covalent attachment of a nucleotide or nucleotide derivative, covalent attachment of a lipid or lipid derivative, covalent attachment of phosphotidylinositol, cross-linking, cyclization, disulfide bond formation, demethylation, formation of covalent cross-links, formation of cystine, formation of pyroglutamate, formylation, gamma-carboxylation, glycosylation, GPI anchor formation, hydroxylation, iodination, methylation, myristoylation, oxidation, proteolytic processing, phosphorylation, prenylation, racemization, selenoylation, sulfation, transfer-RNA mediated addition of amino acids to proteins such as arginylation, and ubiquitination. See, for instance, PROTEINS—STRUCTURE AND MOLECULAR PROPERTIES, 2nd Ed., T. E. Creighton, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 1993 and Wold, F., Posttranslational Protein Modifications: Perspectives and Prospects, pgs. 1-12 in POSTTRANSLATIONAL COVALENT MODIFICATION OF PROTEINS, B. C. Johnson, Ed., Academic Press, New York, 1983; Seifter et al., “Analysis for protein modifications and nonprotein cofactors”, Meth Enzymol (1990) 182:626-646 and Rattan et al., “Protein Synthesis: Posttranslational Modifications and Aging”, Ann NY Acad Sci (1992) 663:48-62.

“Variant” as the term is used herein, is a polynucleotide or polypeptide that differs from a reference polynucleotide or polypeptide respectively, but retains essential properties. A typical variant of a polynucleotide differs in nucleotide sequence from another, reference polynucleotide. Changes in the nucleotide sequence of the variant may or may not alter the amino acid sequence of a polypeptide encoded by the reference polynucleotide. Nucleotide changes may result in amino acid substitutions, additions, deletions, fusions and truncations in the polypeptide encoded by the reference sequence, as discussed below. A typical variant of a polypeptide differs in amino acid sequence from another, reference polypeptide. Generally, differences are limited so that the sequences of the reference polypeptide and the variant are closely similar overall and, in many regions, identical. A variant and reference polypeptide may differ in amino acid sequence by one or more substitutions, additions, deletions in any combination. A substituted or inserted amino acid residue may or may not be one encoded by the genetic code. A variant of a polynucleotide or polypeptide may be a naturally occurring such as an allelic variant, or it may be a variant that is not known to occur naturally. Non-naturally occurring variants of polynucleotides and polypeptides may be made by mutagenesis techniques or by direct synthesis.

“Identity,” as known in the art, is a relationship between two or more polypeptide sequences or two or more polynucleotide sequences, as determined by comparing the sequences. In the art, “identity” also means the degree of sequence relatedness between polypeptide or polynucleotide sequences, as the case may be, as determined by the match between strings of such sequences. “Identity” and “similarity” can be readily calculated by known methods, including but not limited to those described in (Computational Molecular Biology, Lesk, A. M., ed., Oxford University Press, New York, 1988; Biocomputing: Informatics and Genome Projects, Smith, D. W., ed., Academic Press, New York, 1993; Computer Analysis of Sequence Data, Part I, Griffin, A. M., and Griffin, H. G., eds., Humana Press, New Jersey, 1994; Sequence Analysis in Molecular Biology, von Heinje, G., Academic Press, 1987; and Sequence Analysis Primer, Gribskov, M. and Devereux, J., eds., M Stockton Press, New York, 1991; and Carillo, H., and Lipman, D., SIAM J. Applied Math., 48: 1073 (1988). Preferred methods to determine identity are designed to give the largest match between the sequences tested. Methods to determine identity and similarity are codified in publicly available computer programs. Preferred computer program methods to determine identity and similarity between two sequences include, but are not limited to, the GCG program package (Devereux, J., et al., Nucleic Acids Research 12(1): 387 (1984)), BLASTP, BLASTN, and FASTA (Atschul, S. F. et al., J. Molec. Biol. 215:403-410 (1990). The BLAST X program is publicly available from NCBI and other sources (BLAST Manual Altschul, S., et al., NCBI NLM NIH Bethesda, Md. 20894; Altschul, S., et al., J. Mol. Biol. 215: 403-410 (1990). The well known Smith Waterman algorithm may also be used to determine identity.

Preferred parameters for polypeptide sequence comparison include the following:

1) Algorithm: Needleman and Wunsch, J. Mol Biol. 48: 443-453 (1970)

Comparison matrix: BLOSSUM62 from Hentikoff and Hentikoff, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 89:10915-10919 (1992)

Gap Penalty: 12

Gap Length Penalty: 4

A program useful with these parameters is publicly available as the “gap” program from Genetics Computer Group, Madison Wis. The aforementioned parameters are the default parameters for polypeptide comparisons (along with no penalty for end gaps).

Preferred parameters for polynucleotide comparison include the following:

1) Algorithm: Needleman and Wunsch, J. Mol Biol. 48: 443-453 (1970)

Comparison matrix: matches=+10, mismatch=0

Gap Penalty: 50

Gap Length Penalty: 3

A program useful with these parameters is publicly available as the “gap” program from Genetics Computer Group, Madison Wis. The aforementioned parameters are the default parameters for polynucleotide comparisons.

Preferred polynucleotide embodiments further include an isolated polynucleotide comprising a polynucleotide having at least a 50, 60, 70, 80, 85, 90, 95, 97 or 100% identity to a polynucleotide reference sequence of SEQ ID NO:1, wherein said reference sequence may be identical to the sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 or may include up to a certain integer number of nucleotide alterations as compared to the reference sequence, wherein said alterations are selected from the group consisting of at least one nucleotide deletion, substitution, including transition and transversion, or insertion, and wherein said alterations may occur at the 5′ or 3′ terminal positions of the reference nucleotide sequence or anywhere between those terminal positions, interspersed either individually among the nucleotides in the reference sequence or in one or more contiguous groups within the reference sequence, and wherein said number of nucleotide alterations is determined by multiplying the total number of nucleotides in SEQ ID NO:1 by the numerical percent of the respective percent identity and subtracting that product from said total number of nucleotides in SEQ ID NO:1, or:
n n ≦x n−(x n ·y),
wherein nn is the number of nucleotide alterations, xn is the total number of nucleotides in SEQ ID NO:1, and y is 0.50 for 50%, 0.60 for 60%, 0.70 for 70%, 0.80 for 80%, 0.85 for 85%, 0.90 for 90%, 0.95 for 95%, 0.97 for 97% or 1.00 for 100%, and wherein any non-integer product of xn and y is rounded down to the nearest integer prior to subtracting it from xn. Alterations of a polynucleotide sequence encoding the polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2 may create nonsense, missense or frameshift mutations in this coding sequence and thereby alter the polypeptide encoded by the polynucleotide following such alterations.

Preferred polypeptide embodiments further include an isolated polypeptide comprising a polypeptide having at least a 50, 60, 70, 80, 85, 90, 95, 97 or 100% identity to a polypeptide reference sequence of SEQ ID NO:2, wherein said reference sequence may be identical to the sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 or may include up to a certain integer number of amino acid alterations as compared to the reference sequence, wherein said alterations are selected from the group consisting of at least one amino acid deletion, substitution, including conservative and non-conservative substitution, or insertion, and wherein said alterations may occur at the amino- or carboxy-terminal positions of the reference polypeptide sequence or anywhere between those terminal positions, interspersed either individually among the amino acids in the reference sequence or in one or more contiguous groups within the reference sequence, and wherein said number of amino acid alterations is determined by multiplying the total number of amino acids in SEQ ID NO:2 by the numerical percent of the respective percent identity and subtracting that product from said total number of amino acids in SEQ ID NO:2, or:
n a ≦x a−(x a ·y),

wherein na is the number of amino acid alterations, xa is the total number of amino acids in SEQ ID NO:2, and y is 0.50 for 50%, 0.60 for 60%, 0.70 for 70%, 0.80 for 80%, 0.85 for 85%, 0.90 for 90%, 0.95 for 95%, 0.97 for 97% or 1.00 for 100%, and wherein any non-integer product of xa and y is rounded down to the nearest integer prior to subtracting it from xa.

Polypeptides of the Invention

In one aspect, the present invention relates to ASP2 polypeptides (or ASP2 proteins). The ASP2 polypeptides include the polypeptide of SEQ ID NOS:2 and 4; as well as polypeptides comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2; and polypeptides comprising the amino acid sequence which have at least 80% identity to that of SEQ ID NO:2 over its entire length, and still more preferably at least 90% identity, and even still more preferably at least 95% identity to SEQ ID NO: 2. Furthermore, those with at least 97-99% are highly preferred. Also included within ASP2 polypeptides are polypeptides having the amino acid sequence which have at least 80% identity to the polypeptide having the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2 over its entire length, and still more preferably at least 90% identity, and still more preferably at least 95% identity to SEQ ID NO:2. Furthermore, those with at least 97-99% are highly preferred. Preferably ASP2 polypeptide exhibit at least one biological activity of ASP2.

The ASP2 polypeptides may be in the form of the “mature” protein or may be a part of a larger protein such as a fusion protein. It is often advantageous to include an additional amino acid sequence which contains secretory or leader sequences, pro-sequences, sequences which aid in purification such as multiple histidine residues, or an additional sequence for stability during recombinant production.

Fragments of the ASP2 polypeptides are also included in the invention. A fragment is a polypeptide having an amino acid sequence that entirely is the same as part, but not all, of the amino acid sequence of the aforementioned ASP2 polypeptides. As with ASP2 polypeptides, fragments may be “free-standing,” or comprised within a larger polypeptide of which they form a part or region, most preferably as a single continuous region. Representative examples of polypeptide fragments of the invention, include, for example, fragments from about amino acid number 1-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80, 81-100, and 101 to the end of ASP2 polypeptide. In this context “about” includes the particularly recited ranges larger or smaller by several, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 amino acid at either extreme or at both extremes.

Preferred fragments include, for example, truncation polypeptides having the amino acid sequence of ASP2 polypeptides, except for deletion of a continuous series of residues that includes the amino terminus, or a continuous series of residues that includes the carboxyl terminus or deletion of two continuous series of residues, one including the amino terminus and one including the carboxyl terminus. Also preferred are fragments characterized by structural or functional attributes such as fragments that comprise alpha-helix and alpha-helix forming regions, beta-sheet and beta-sheet-forming regions, turn and turn-forming regions, coil and coil-forming regions, hydrophilic regions, hydrophobic regions, alpha amphipathic regions, beta amphipathic regions, flexible regions, surface-forming regions, substrate binding region, and high antigenic index regions. Other preferred fragments are biologically active fragments. Biologically active fragments are those that mediate ASPR2 activity, including those with a similar activity or an improved activity, or with a decreased undesirable activity. Also included are those that are antigenic or immunogenic in an animal, especially in a human.

Preferably, all of these polypeptide fragments retain the biological activity of the ASP2, including antigenic activity. Among the most preferred fragment is that having the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4. Variants of the defined sequence and fragments also form part of the present invention. Preferred variants are those that vary from the referents by conservative amino acid substitutions—i.e., those that substitute a residue with another of like characteristics. Typical such substitutions are among Ala, Val, Leu and Ile; among Ser and Thr; among the acidic residues Asp and Glu; among Asn and Gln; and among the basic residues Lys and Ara; or aromatic residues Phe and Tyr. Particularly preferred are variants in which several, 5-10, 1-5, or 1-2 amino acids are substituted, deleted, or added in any combination.

The ASP2 polypeptides of the invention can be prepared in any suitable manner. Such polypeptides include isolated naturally occurring polypeptides, recombinantly produced polypeptides, synthetically produced polypeptides, or polypeptides produced by a combination of these methods. Means for preparing such polypeptides are well understood in the art.

Polynucleotides of the Invention

Another aspect of the invention relates to ASP2 polynucleotides. ASP2 polynucleotides include isolated polynucleotides which encode the ASP2 polypeptides and fragments, and polynucleotides closely related thereto. More specifically, ASP2 polynucleotide of the invention include a polynucleotide comprising the nucleotide sequence contained in SEQ ID NO:1 encoding a ASP2 polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, and polynucleotides having the particular sequences of SEQ ID NOS:1 and 3. ASP2 polynucleotides further include a polynucleotide comprising a nucleotide sequence that has at least 80% identity over its entire length to a nucleotide sequence encoding the ASP2 polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2, and a polynucleotide comprising a nucleotide sequence that is at least 80% identical to that of SEQ ID NO:1 over its entire length. In this regard, polynucleotides at least 90% identical are particularly preferred, and those with at least 95% are especially preferred. Furthermore, those with at least 97% are highly preferred and those with at least 98-99% are most highly preferred, with at least 99% being the most preferred. Also included under ASP2 polynucleotides are a nucleotide sequence which has sufficient identity to a nucleotide sequence contained in SEQ ID NO:1 to hybridize under conditions useable for amplification or for use as a probe or marker. The invention also provides polynucleotides which are complementary to such ASP2 polynucleotides.

ASP2 of the invention is structurally related to other proteins of the Aspartic Proteinase family, as shown by the results of sequencing the cDNA encoding human ASP2. The cDNA sequence of SEQ ID NO:1 contains an open reading frame (nucleotide number 1 to 1503) encoding a polypeptide of 501 amino acids of SEQ ID NO:2. The amino acid sequence of Table 1 (SEQ ID NO:2) has about 48.7% identity (using FASTA (GCG)) in 460 amino acid residues with ASPI, Novel Aspartic Proteinase, (U.S. Serial No. Unassigned, Attorney Docket Number GH70262, filed Oct. 6, 1997). The nucleotide sequence of Table 1 (SEQ ID NO:1) has about 59.2% identity (using FASTA (GCG)) in 1516 nucleotide residues with ASPI Novel Aspartic Proteinase (U.S. Serial No. Unassigned, Attorney Docket number GH70262, filed Oct. 6, 1997). Thus, ASP2 polypeptides and polynucleotides of the present invention are expected to have, inter alia, similar biological functions/properties to their homologous polypeptides and polynucleotides, and their utility is obvious to anyone skilled in the art.

TABLE 1a
ATGGCCCAAGCCCTGCCCTGGCTCCTGCTGTGGATGGGCGCGGGAGTGCTGCCTGCCCACGGCACCCAG
CACGGCATCCGGCTGCCCCTGCGCAGCGGCCTGGGGGGCGCCCCCCTGGGGCTGCGGCTGCCCCGGGAG
ACCGACGAAGAGCCCGAGGAGCCCGGCCGGAGGGGCAGCTTTGTGGAGATGGTGGACAACCTGAGGGGC
AAGTCGGGGCAGGGCTACTACGTGGAGATGACCGTGGGCAGCCCCCCGCAGACGCTCAACATCCTGGTG
GATACAGGCAGCAGTAACTTTGCAGTGGGTGCTGCCCCCCACCCCTTCCTGCATCGCTACTACCAGAGG
CAGCTGTCCAGCACATACCGGGACCTCCGGAAGGGTGTGTATGAGCCCTACACCCAGGGCAAGTGGGAA
GGGGAGCTGGGCACCGACCTGGTAAGCATCCCCCATGGCCCCAACGTCACTGTGCGTGCCAACATTGCT
GCCATCACTGAATCAGACAAGTTCTTCATCAACGGCTCCAACTGGGAAGGCATCCTGGGGCTGGCCTAT
GCTGAGATTGCCAGGCCTGACGACTCCCTGGAGCCTTTCTTTGACTCTCTGGTAAAGCAGACCCACGTT
CCCAACCTCTTCTCCCTGCAGCTTTGTGGTGCTGGCTTCCCCCTCAACCAGTCTGAAGTGCTGGCCTCT
GTCGGAGGGAGCATGATCATTGGAGGTATCGACCACTCGCTGTACACAGGCAGTCTCTGGTATACACCC
ATCCGGCGGGAGTGGTATTATGAGGTGATCATTGTGCGGGTGGAGATCAATGGACAGGATCTGAAAATG
GACTGCAAGGAGTACAACTATGACAAGAGCATTGTGGACAGTGGCACCACCAACCTTCGTTTGCCCAAG
AAAGTGTTTGAAGCTGCAGTCAAATCCATCAAGGCAGCCTCCTCCACGGAGAAGTTCCCTGATGGTTTC
TGGCTAGGAGAGCAGCTGGTGTGCTGGCAAGCAGGCACCACCCCTTGGAACATTTTCCCAGTCATCTCA
CTCTACCTAATGGGTGAGGTTACCAACCAGTCCTTCCGCATCACCATCCTTCCGCAGCAATACCTGCGG
CCAGTGGAAGATGTGGCCACGTCCCAAGACGACTGTTACAAGTTTGCCATCTCACAGTCATCCACGGGC
ACTGTTATGGGAGCTGTTATCATGGAGGGCTTCTACGTTGTCTTTGATCGGGCCCGAAAACGAATTGGC
TTTGCTGTCAGCGCTTGCCATGTGCACGATGAGTTCAGGACGGCAGCGGTGGAAGGCCCTTTTGTCACC
TTGGACATGGAAGACTGTGGCTACAACATTCCACAGACAGATGAGTCAACCCTCATGACCATAGCCTAT
GTCATGGCTGCCATCTGCGCCCTCTTCATGCTGCCACTCTGCCTCATGGTGTGTCAGTGGCGCTGCCTC
CGCTGCCTGCGCCAGCAGCATGATGACTTTGCTGATGACATCTCCCTGCTGAAGTGAGGAGGCCCATGG
GAGAAAGATAGAGATTCCCCTGGGACCACACCTCCGTGGTTCACTTTGGTCACAAGTAGGAGACACAGA
TGGCACCTGTGGCCAGAGCACCTCAGGACCCTCCCCACCCACCAAATGCCTCTGCCTTGATGGAGAAGG
AAAAGGCTGGCAAGGTGGGTTCCAGGGACTGTACCTGTAGGAAACAGAAAAGAGAAGAAAGAAGCACTC
TGCTGGCGGGAATACTCTTGGTCACCTCAAATTTAAGTCGGGAAATTCTGCTGCTTGAAACTTCAGCCC
TGAACCTTTGTCCACCATTCCTTTAAATTCTCCAACCCAAAGTATTCTTCTTTTCTTAGTTTCAGAAGT
ACTGGCATCACACGCAGGTTACCTTGGCGTGTGTCCCTGTGGTACCCGGGCAGAGAAGAGACCAAGCTT
GTTTCCCTGCTGGCCAAAGTCAGTAGGAGAGGATGCACAGTTTGCTATTTGCTTTAGAGACAGGGACT
GTATAAACAAGCCTAACATTGGTGCAAAGATTGCCTCTTGAATTAAAAAAAAAAACTAGATTGACTATT
TATACAAATGGGGGCGGCTGGAAAGAGGAGAAGGAGAGGGAGTACAAAGACAGGGAATAGTGGGATCAA
AGCTAGGAAAGGCAGAAACACAACCACTCACCAGTCCTAGTTTTAGACCTCATCTCCAAGATAGCATCC
CATCTCAGAAGATGGGTGTTGTTTTCAATGTTTTCTTTTCTGTGGTTGCAGCCTGACCAAAAGTGAGAT
GGGAAGGGCTTATCTAGCCAAAGAGCTCTTTTTTAGCTCTCTTAAATGAAGTGCCCACTAAGGAAGTTC
CACTTGAACACATGGAATTTCTGCCATATTAATTTCCATTGTCTCTATCTGGAACCACCCTTTAATCTC
TACATATGATTAGGTCCAGCACTTGAAAATATTCCTAACCNNAATTTGNCTTGGGGGCTTTGCNGN
CCAGGTGCTAAAAGGGNTTGGGTAGGNGNCCNCTTNTATNTNATNCCTNAAAAGGTTANNG

aA nucleotide sequence of a human ASP2 (SEQ ID NO: 1).

TABLE 2b
MAQALPWLLLWMGAGVLPAHGTQHGIRLPLRSGLGGAPLGLRLPRETDEEPEEPGRRGSFVEMVDNLRG
KSGQGYYVEMTVGSPPQTLNILVDTGSSNFAVGAAPHPFLHRYYQRQLSSTYRDLRKGVYEPYTQGKWE
GELGTDLVSIPHGPNVTVRANIAAITESDKFFINGSNWEGILGLAYAEIARPDDSLEPFFDSLVKQTHV
PNLFSLQLCGAGFPLNQSEVLASVGGSMIIGGIDHSLYTGSLWYTPIRREWYYEVIIVRVEINGQDLKM
DCKEYNYDKSIVDSGTTNLRLPKKVFEAAVKSIKAASSTEKFPDGFWLGEQLVCWQAGTTPWNIFPVIS
LYLMGEVTNQSFRITILPQQYLRPVEDVATSQDDCYKFAISQSSTGTVMGAVIMEGFYVVFDRARKRIG
FAVSACHVHDEFRTAAVEGPFVTLDMEDCGYNIPQTDESTLMTIAYVMAAICALFMLPLCLMVCQWRCL
RCLRQQHDDFADDISLLK

bAn amino acid sequence of a human ASP2 (SEQ ID NO: 2).

One polynucleotide of the present invention encoding ASP2 may be obtained using standard cloning and screening, from a cDNA library derived from mRNA in cells of human pancreas and brain, using the expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis (Adams, M. D., et al. Science (1991) 252:1651-1656; Adams, M. D. et al., Nature, (1992) 355:632-634; Adams, M. D., et al., Nature (1995) 377 Supp:3-174). Polynucleotides of the invention can also be obtained from natural sources such as genomic DNA libraries or can be synthesized using well known and commercially available techniques.

The nucleotide sequence encoding ASP2 polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2 may be identical to the polypeptide encoding sequence contained in Table 1 (nucleotide number 1 to 1503 of SEQ ID NO:1), or it may be a sequence, which as a result of the redundancy (degeneracy) of the genetic code, also encodes the polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2.

When the polynucleotides of the invention are used for the recombinant production of ASP2 polypeptide, the polynucleotide may include the coding sequence for the mature polypeptide or a fragment thereof, by itself; the coding sequence for the mature polypeptide or fragment in reading frame with other coding sequences, such as those encoding a leader or secretory sequence, a pre-, or pro- or prepro-protein sequence, or other fusion peptide portions. For example, a marker sequence which facilitates purification of the fused polypeptide can be encoded. In certain preferred embodiments of this aspect of the invention, the marker sequence is a hexa-histidine peptide, as provided in the pQE vector (Qiagen, Inc.) and described in Gentz et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (1989) 86:821-824, or is an HA tag. The polynucleotide may also contain non-coding 5′ and 3′ sequences, such as transcribed, non-translated sequences, splicing and polyadenylation signals, ribosome binding sites and sequences that stabilize mRNA.

Further preferred embodiments are polynucleotides encoding ASP2 variants comprising the amino acid sequence of ASP2 polypeptide of Table 2 (SEQ ID NO:2) in which several, 5-10, 1-5, 1-3, 1-2 or 1 amino acid residues are substituted, deleted or added, in any combination. Among the preferred polynucleotides of the present invention is contained in Table 3 (SEQ ID NO: 3) encoding the amino acid sequence of Table 4 (SEQ ID NO: 4).

TABLE 3c
GGCAGCTTTGTGGAGATGGTGGACAACCTGAGGGGCAAGTCGGGGCAGGGCTACTACGTGGAGATGACC
GTGGGCAGCCCCCCGCAGACGCTCAACATCCTGGTGGATACAGGCAGCAGTAACTTTGCAGTGGGTGCT
GCCCCCCACCCCTTCCTGCATCGCTACTACCAGAGGCAGCTGTCCAGCACATACCGGGACCTCCGGAAG
GGTGTGTATGAGCCCTACACCCAGGGCAAGTGGGAAGGGGAGCTGGGCACCGACCTGGTAAGCATCCCC
CATGGCCCCAACGTCACTGTGCGTGCCAACSTTGCTGCCATCACTGAATCAGACAAGTTCTTCATCAAC
GGCTCCAACTGGGAAGGCATCCTGGGGCTGGCCTATGCTGAGATTGCCA9GCCTGACGACTCCCTGGAG
CCTTTCTTTGACTCTCTGGTAAAGCAGACCCACGTTCCCAACCTCTTCTCCCTGCAGCTTTGTGGTGCT
GGCTTCCCCCTCAACCAGTCTGAAGTGCTGGCCTCTGTCGGAGGGAGCATGATCATTGGAGGTATCGAC
CACTCGCTGTACACAGGCAGTCTCTGGTATACACCCATCCGGCGGGAGTGGTATTATGAGGTGATCATT
GTGAGGGTGGAGATCAATGGACAGGATCTGAAAATGGACTGCAAGGAGTACAACTATGACAAGAGCATT
GTGGACAGTGGCACCACCAACCTTCGTTTGCCCAAGAAAGTGTTTGAAGCTGCSGTCAAATCCATCAAG
GCAGCCTCTCCACGGGAGAAGTTCCCTGATGGTTTCTGGCTAGGAGAGCAGCTGGTGTGCTGGCAAGCA
GGCACCACCCCTTGGAACATTTTCCCAGTCATCTCACTCTACCTAATGGGTGAGGTTACCAACCAGTCC
TTCCGCATCACCATCCTTCCGCAGCAATACCTGCGGCCAGTGGAAGATGTGGCCACGTCCCAAGACGAC
TGTTACAAGTTTGCCATCTCACAGTCATCCACGGGCACTGTTATGGGAGCTGTTATCATGGAGGGCTTC
TACGTTGTCTTTGATCGGGCCCGAAAACGAATTGGCTTTGCTGTCAGCGCTTGCCATGTGCACGATGAG
TTCAGGACGGCAGCGGTGGAAGGCCCTTTTGTCACCTTGGACATGGAAGACTGTGGCTACAACATTCCA
CAGACAGATGAGTCAACCCTCATGACCATAGCCTATGTCATGGCTGCCATCTGCGCCCTCTTCATGCTG
CCACTCTGCCTCATGGTGTGTCAGTGGCGCTGCCTCCGCTGCCTGCGCCAGACAATGGATGACTTTGCT
GATGACATCTCCCTGCTGAAGTGAGGAGGCCCATGGGAGAAAGATAGAGATTCCCCTGGGACCACACCT
CCGTGGTTCACTTTGGTCACAAGTAGGAGACACAGATGGCACCTGTGGCCAGAGCACCTCAGGACCCTC
CCCACCCACCAAATGCCTCTGCCTTGATGGAGAAGGAAAAGGCTGGCAAGGTGGGTTCCAGGGACTGTA
CCTGTAGGAAACAGAAAAGAGAAGAAAAGAAGCACTCTGCTGGCGGGAATACTCTTGGTCACCTCAATT
TAAGTCGGGAAATTCTGCTGCTTGAAACTTCAGCCCTGAACCTTTGTCCACCATTCCTTTAAATTCTCC
AACCCAAAGTATTCTTCTTTTCTTAGTTTCAGAAGTACTGGCATCACACGCAGGTTACCTTGGCGTGTG
TCCCTGTGGTACCCGGGCAGAGAAGAGACCAAGCTTGTTTCCCTGCTGGCCAAAGTCAGTAGGAGAGGA
TGCACAGTTTGCTATTTGCTTTAGAGACAGGGACTGTATAAACAAGCCTAACATTGGTGCAAAGATTGC
CTCTTGAATTAAAAAAAAAAACTAGATTGACTATTTATACAAATGGGGGCGGCTGGAAAGAGGAGAAGG
AGAGGGAGTACAAAGACAGGGAATAGTGGGATCAAAGCTAGGAAAGGCAGAAACACAACCACTCACCAG
TCCTAGTTTTAGACCTCATCTCCAAGATAGCATCCCATCTCAGAAGATGGGTGTTGTTTTCAATGTTTT
CTTTTCTGTGGTTGCAGCCTGACCAAAAGTGAGATGGGAAGGGCTTATCTAGCCAAAGAGCTCTTTTTT
AGCTCTCTTAAATGAAGTGCCCACTAAGGAAGTTCCACTTGAACACATGGAATTTCTGCCATATTAATT
TCCATTGTCTCTATCTGGAACCACCCTTTAATCTCTACATATGATTAGGTCCAGCACTTGAAAATATTC
CTAACCNNAATTTGNCTTGGGGGCTTTGCNGNCCAGGTGCTAAAAGGGNTTGGGTAGGNGNCCNCTTNT
ATNTNATNCCTNAAAAGGTTANNG

cA partial nucleotide sequence of a human ASP2 (SEQ ID NO: 3).

TABLE 4d
GSFVEMVDNLRGKSGQGYYVEMTVGSPPQTLNILVDTGSSNFAVGAAPHPFLHRYYQRQLSSTYRDURK
GVYEPYTQGKWEGELGTDLVSIPHGPNVTVRANIAAITESDKFFINGSNWEGILGLAYAEIARPDDSLE
PFFDSLVKQTHVPNLFSLQLCGAGFPLNQSEVLASVGGSMIIGGIDHSLYTGSLWYTPIRREWYYEVII
VRVEINGQDLKMDCKEYNYDKSIVDSGTTNLRLPKKVFEAAVKSIKAASPREKFPDGFWLGEQLVCWQA
GTTPWNIFPVISLYLMGEVTNQSFRITILPQQYLRPVEDVATSQDDCYKFAISQSSTGTVMGAVIMEGF
YVVFDRARKRIGFAVSACHVHDEFRTAAVEGPFVTLDMEDCGYNIPQTDESTLMTIAYVMAAICALFML
PLCLMVCQWRCLRCLRQTMDDFADDISLLK.GGPWEKDRDSPGTTPPWFTLVTSRRHRWHLWPEHLRTL
PTHQMPLP.WRRKRLARWVPGTVPVGNRKEKKEALCWREYSWSPQI.VGKFCCLKLQP.TFVHHSFKFS
NPKYSSFLSFRSTGITRRLPWRVSLWYPGREETKLVSLLAKVSRRGCTVCYLL.RQGLYKQA.HWCKDC
LLN.KKKLD.LFIQMGAAGKRRRRGSTKTGNSGIKARKGRNTTTHQS.F.TSSPR.HPISEDGCCFQCF
LFCGCSLTKSEMGRAYLAKELFFSSLK.SAH.GSST.THGISAILISIVSIWNHPLISTYD.VQHLKIF
LTXIXLGGFAXQVLKGXG.XXXXXXXLKRLX

dA partial amino acid sequence of a human ASP2 (SEQ ID NO: 4).

The present invention further relates to polynucleotides that hybridize to the herein above-described sequences. In this regard, the present invention especially relates to polynucleotides which hybridize under stringent conditions to the herein above-described polynucleotides. As herein used, the term “stringent conditions” means hybridization will occur only if there is at least 80%, and preferably at least 90%, and more preferably at least 95%, yet even more preferably 97-99% identity between the sequences.

Polynucleotides of the invention, which are identical or sufficiently identical to a nucleotide sequence contained in SEQ ID NO:1 or a fragment thereof (including that of SEQ ID NO:3), may be used as hybridization probes for cDNA and genomic DNA, to isolate full-length cDNAs and genomic clones encoding ASP2 polypeptide and to isolate cDNA and genomic clones of other genes (including genes encoding homologs and orthologs from species other than human) that have a high sequence similarity to the ASP2 gene. Such hybridization techniques are known to those of skill in the art. Typically these nucleotide sequences are 80% identical, preferably 90% identical, more preferably 95% identical to that of the referent. The probes generally will comprise at least 15 nucleotides. Preferably, such probes will have at least 30 nucleotides and may have at least 50 nucleotides. Particularly preferred probes will range between 30 and 50 nucleotides.

In one embodiment, to obtain a polynucleotide encoding ASP2 polypeptide, including homologs and orthologs from species other than human, comprises the steps of screening an appropriate library under stingent hybridization conditions with a labeled probe having the SEQ ID NO: 1 or a fragment thereof (including that of SEQ ID NO: 3), and isolating full-length cDNA and genomic clones containing said polynucleotide sequence. Such hybridization techniques are well known to those of skill in the art. Thus in another aspect, ASP2 polynucleotides of the present invention further include a nucleotide sequence comprising a nucleotide sequence that hybridize under stringent condition to a nucleotide sequence having SEQ ID NO: 1 or a fragment thereof (including that of SEQ ID NO:3). Also included with ASP2 polypeptides are polypeptide comprising amino acid sequence encoded by nucleotide sequence obtained by the above hybridization condition. Stringent hybridization conditions are as defined above or, alternatively, conditions under overnight incubation at 42° C. in a solution comprising: 50% formamide, 5×SSC (150 mM NaCl, 15 mM trisodium citrate), 50 mM sodium phosphate (pH7.6), 5× Denhardt's solution, 10% dextran sulfate, and 20 microgram/ml denatured, sheared salmon sperm DNA, followed by washing the filters in 0.1×SSC at about 65° C.

The polynucleotides and polypeptides of the present invention may be employed as research reagents and materials for discovery of treatments and diagnostics to animal and human disease.

Vectors, Host Cells, Expression

The present invention also relates to vectors which comprise a polynucleotide or polynucleotides of the present invention, and host cells which are genetically engineered with vectors of the invention and to the production of polypeptides of the invention by recombinant techniques. Cell-free translation systems can also be employed to produce such proteins using RNAs derived from the DNA constracts of the present invention.

For recombinant production, host cells can be genetically engineered to incorporate expression systems or portions thereof for polynucleotides of the present invention. Introduction of polynucleotides into host cells can be effected by methods described in many standard laboratory manuals, such as Davis et al., BASIC METHODS IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY (1986) and Sambrook et al., MOLECULAR CLONING: A LABORATORY MANUAL, 2nd Ed., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. (1989) such as calcium phosphate transfection, DEAE-dextran mediated transfection, transvection, microinjection, cationic lipid-mediated transfection, electroporation, transduction, scrape loading, ballistic introduction or infection.

Representative examples of appropriate hosts include bacterial cells, such as streptococci, staphylococci, E. coli, Streptomyces and Bacilluis subtilis cells; fungal cells, such as yeast cells and Aspergillus cells; insect cells such as Drosophila S2 and Spodoptera Sf9 cells; animal cells such as CHO, COS, HeLa, C127, 3T3, BHK, HEK 293 and Bowes melanoma cells; and plant cells.

A great variety of expression systems can be used. Such systems include, among others, chromosomal, episomal and virus-derived systems, e.g., vectors derived from bacterial plasmids, from bacteriophage, from transposons, from yeast episomes, from insertion elements, from yeast chromosomal elements, from viruses such as baculoviruses, papova viruses, such as SV40, vaccinia viruses, adenoviruses, fowl pox viruses, pseudorabies viruses and retroviruses, and vectors derived from combinations thereof, such as those derived from plasmid and bacteriophage genetic elements, such as cosmids and phagemids. The expression systems may contain control regions that regulate as well as engender expression. Generally, any system or vector suitable to maintain, propagate or express polynucleotides to produce a polypeptide in a host may be used. The appropriate nucleotide sequence may be inserted into an expression system by any of a variety of well-known and routine techniques, such as, for example, those set forth in Sambrook et al., MOLECULAR CLONING, A LABORATORY MANUAL (supra).

For secretion of the translated protein into the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum, into the periplasmic space or into the extracellular environment, appropriate secretion signals may be incorporated into the desired polypeptide. These signals may be endogenous to the polypeptide or they may be heterologous signals.

If the ASP2 polypeptide is to be expressed for use in screening assays, generally, it is preferred that the polypeptide be produced at the surface of the cell. In this event, the cells may be harvested prior to use in the screening assay. If ASP2 polypeptide is secreted into the medium, the medium can be recovered in order to recover and purify the polypeptide; if produced intracellularly, the cells must first be lysed before the polypeptide is recovered.

ASP2 polypeptides can be recovered and purified frorm recombinant cell cultures by well-known methods including ammonium sulfate or ethanol precipitation, acid extraction, anion or cation exchange chromatography, phosphocellulose chromatography, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, affinity chromatography, hydroxylapatite chromatography and lectin chromatography. Most preferably, high performance liquid chromatography is employed for purification. Well known techniques for refolding proteins may be employed to regenerate active conformation when the polypeptide is denatured during isolation and or purification.

Diagnostic Assays

This invention also relates to the use of ASP2 polynucleotides for use as diagnostic reagents. Detection of a mutated form of ASP2 gene associated with a dysfunction will provide a diagnostic tool that can add to or define a diagnosis of a disease or susceptibility to a disease which results from under-expression, over-expression or altered expression of ASP2. Individuals carrying mutations in the ASP2 gene may be detected at the DNA level by a variety of techniques.

Nucleic acids for diagnosis may be obtained from a subject's cells, such as from blood, urine, saliva, tissue biopsy or autopsy material. The genomic DNA may be used directly for detection or may be amplified enzymatically by using PCR or other amplification techniques prior to analysis. RNA or cDNA may also be used in similar fashion. Deletions and insertions can be detected by a change in size of the amplified product in comparison to the normal genotype. Point mutations can be identified by hybridizing amplified DNA to labeled ASP2 nucleotide sequences. Perfectly matched sequences can be distinguished from mismatched duplexes by RNase digestion or by differences in melting temperatures. DNA sequence differences may also be detected by alterations in electrophoretic mobility of DNA fragments in gels, with or without denaturing agents, or by direct DNA sequencing. See, e.g., Myers et al., Science (1985) 230:1242. Sequence changes at specific locations may also be revealed by nuclease protection assays, such as RNase and S1 protection or the chemical cleavage method. See Cotton et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (1985) 85: 4397-4401. In another embodiment, an array of oligonucleotides probes comprising ASP2 nucleotide sequence or fragments thereof can be constructed to conduct efficient screening of e.g., genetic mutations. Array technology methods are well known and have general applicability and can be used to address a variety of questions in molecular genetics including gene expression, genetic linkage, and genetic variability. (See for example: M. Chee et al., Science, Vol 274, pp 610-613 (1996)).

The diagnostic assays offer a process for diagnosing or determining a susceptibility to Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing through detection of mutation in the ASP2 gene by the methods described.

In addition, Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing, can be diagnosed by methods comprising determining from a sample derived from a subject an abnormally decreased or increased level of ASP2 polypeptide or ASP2 mRNA. Decreased or increased expression can be measured at the RNA level using any of the methods well known in the art for the quantitation of polynucleotides, such as, for example, PCR, RT-PCR, RNase protection, Northern blotting and other hybridization methods. Assay techniques that can be used to determine levels of a protein, such as an ASP2 polypeptide, in a sample derived from a host are well-known to those of skill in the art. Such assay methods include radioimmunoassays, competitive-binding assays, Western Blot analysis and ELISA assays.

Thus in another aspect, the present invention relates to a diagonostic kit for a disease or suspectability to a disease, particularly Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing, which comprises:

(a) a ASP2 polynucleotide, preferably the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1, or a fragment thereof;

(b) a nucleotide sequence complementary to that of (a);

(c) a ASP2 polypeptide, preferably the polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, or a fragment thereof; or

(d) an antibody to a ASP2 polypeptide, preferably to the polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2.

It will be appreciated that in any such kit, (a), (b), (c) or (d) may comprise a substantial component.

Chromosome Assays

The nucleotide sequences of the present invention are also valuable for chromosome identification. The sequence is specifically targeted to and can hybridize with a particular location on an individual human chromosome. The mapping of relevant sequences to chromosomes according to the present invention is an important first step in correlating those sequences with gene associated disease. Once a sequence has been mapped to a precise chromosomal location, the physical position of the sequence on the chromosome can be correlated with genetic map data. Such data are found, for example, in V. McKusick, Mendelian Inheritance in Man (available on line through Johns Hopkins University Welch Medical Library). The relationship between genes and diseases that have been mapped to the same chromosomal region are then identified through linkage analysis (coinheritance of physically adjacent genes). The differences in the cDNA or genomic sequence between affected and unaffected individuals can also be determined. If a mutation is observed in some or all of the affected individuals but not in any normal individuals, then the mutation is likely to be the causative agent of the disease.

A chromosomal loci of 11 q22 has been inferred for ASP2 by homology (99% in 210 nucleotides) with Genbank Locus G24698 (Human STS WI-14206).

Antibodies

The polypeptides of the invention or their fragments or analogs thereof, or cells expressing them can also be used as immunogens to produce antibodies immunospecific for the ASP2 polypeptides. The term “inmmunospecific” means that the antibodies have substantiall greater affinity for the polypeptides of the invention than their affinity for other related polypeptides in the prior art.

Antibodies generated against the ASP2 polypeptides can be obtained by administering the polypeptides or epitope-bearing fragments, analogs or cells to an animal; preferably a nonhuman, using routine protocols. For preparation of monoclonal antibodies, any technique which provides antibodies produced by continuous cell line cultures can be used. Examples include the hybridoma technique (Kohler, G. and Milstein, C., Nature (1975) 256:495-497), the trioma technique, the human B-cell hybridoma technique (Kozbor et al., Immunology Today (1983) 4:72) and the EBV-hybridoma technique (Cole et al., MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES AND CANCER THERAPY, pp. 77-96, Alan R. Liss, Inc., 1985).

Techniques for the production of single chain antibodies (U.S. Pat. No. 4,946,778) can also be adapted to produce single chain antibodies to polypeptides of this invention. Also, transgenic mice, or other organisms including other mammals, may be used to express humanized antibodies.

The above-described antibodies may be employed to isolate or to identify clones expressing the polypeptide or to purify the polypeptides by affinity chromatography.

Antibodies against ASP2 polypeptides may also be employed to treat Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing, among others.

Vaccines

Another aspect of the invention relates to a method for inducing an immunological response in a mammal which comprises inoculating the mammal with ASP2 polypeptide, or a fragment thereof, adequate to produce antibody and/or T cell immune response to protect said animal from Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing, among others. Yet another aspect of the invention relates to a method of inducing immunological response in a mammal which comprises, delivering ASP2 polypeptide via a vector directing expression of ASP2 polynucleotide in vivo in order to induce such an immunological response to produce antibody to protect said animal from diseases.

Further aspect of the invention relates to an immunological/vaccine formulation (composition) which, when introduced into a mammalian host, induces an immunological response in that mammal to a ASP2 polypeptide wherein the composition comprises a ASP2 polypeptide or ASP2 gene. The vaccine formulation may further comprise a suitable carrier. Since ASP2 polypeptide may be broken down in the stomach, it is preferably administered parenterally (including subcutaneous, intramuscular, intravenous, intradermal etc. injection). Formulations suitable for parenteral administration include aqueous and non-aqueous sterile injection solutions which may contain anti-oxidants, buffers, bacteriostats and solutes which render the formulation instonic with the blood of the recipient; and aqueous and non-aqueous sterile suspensions which may include suspending agents or thickening agents. The formulations may be presented in unit-dose or multi-dose containers, for example, sealed ampoules and vials and may be stored in a freeze-dried condition requiring only the addition of the sterile liquid carrier immediately prior to use. The vaccine formulation may also include adjuvant systems for enhancing the immunogenicity of the formulation, such as oil-in water systems and other systems known in the art. The dosage will depend on the specific activity of the vaccine and can be readily determined by routine experimentation.

Screening Assays

The ASP2 polypeptide of the present invention may be employed in a screening process for compounds which activate (agonists) or inhibit activation of (antagonists, or otherwise called inhibitors) the ASP2 polypeptide of the present invention. Thus, polypeptides of the invention may also be used to assess identify agonist or antagonists from, for example, cells, cell-free preparations chemical libraries, and natural product mixtures. These agonists or antagonists may be natural or modified substrates, ligands, enzymes, receptors, etc., as the case may be, of the polypeptide of the present invention; or may be structural or functional mimetics of the polypeptide of the present invention. See Coligan et al., Current Protocols in Immunology 1(2):Chapter 5 (1991).

ASP2 polypeptides are responsible for many biological functions, including many pathologies. Accordingly, it is desirous to find compounds and drugs which stimulate ASP2 polypeptide on the one hand and which can inhibit the function of ASP2 polypeptide on the other hand. In general, agonists are employed for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes for such conditions as Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing. Antagonists may be employed for a variety of therapeutic and prophylactic purposes for such conditions as Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing.

In general, such screening procedures may involve using appropriate cells which express the ASP2 polypeptide or respond to ASP2 polypeptide of the present invention. Such cells include cells from mammals, yeast, Drosophila or E. coli. Cells which express the ASP2 polypeptide (or cell membrane containing the expressed polypeptide) or respond to ASP2 polypeptide are then contacted with a test compound to observe binding, or stimulation or inhibition of a functional response. The ability of the cells which were contacted with the candidate compounds is compared with the same cells which were not contacted for ASP2 activity. In addition, all aspartic proteinases are inhibited by pepstatin. Therefore, pepstatin inhibitory assays may also be employed with the present invention as a method of detection or as a screening assay.

The assays may simply test binding of a candidate compound wherein adherence to the cells bearing the ASP2 polypeptide is detected by means of a label directly or indirectly associated with the candidate compound or in an assay involving competition with a labeled competitor. Further, these assays may test whether the candidate compound results in a signal generated by activation of the ASP2 polypeptide, using detection systems appropriate to the cells bearing the ASP2 polypeptide. Inhibitors of activation are generally assayed in the presence of a known agonist and the effect on activation by the agonist by the presence of the candidate compound is observed.

Further, the assays may simply comprise the steps of mixing a candidate compound with a solution containing a ASP2 polypeptide to form a mixture, measuring ASP2 activity in the mixture, and comparing the ASP2 activity of the mixture to a standard.

The ASP2 cDNA, protein and antibodies to the protein may also be used to configure assays for detecting the effect of added compounds on the production of ASP2 mRNA and protein in cells. For example, an ELISA may be constructed for measuring secreted or cell associated levels of ASP2 protein using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies by standard methods known in the art, and this can be used to discover agents which may inhibit or enhance the production of ASP2 (also called antagonist or agonist, respectively) from suitably manipulated cells or tissues.

The ASP2 protein may be used to identify membrane bound or soluble receptors, if any, through standard receptor binding techniques known in the art. These include, but are not limited to, ligand binding and crosslinking assays in which the ASP2 is labeled with a radioactive isotope (eg 125I), chemically modified (eg biotinylated), or fused to a peptide sequence suitable for detection or purification, and incubated with a source of the putative receptor (cells, cell membranes, cell supernatants, tissue extracts, bodily fluids). Other methods include biophysical techniques such as surface plasmon resonance and spectroscopy. In addition to being used for purification and cloning of the receptor, these binding assays can be used to identify agonists and antagonists of ASP2 which compete with the binding of ASP2 to its receptors, if any. Standard methods for conducting screening assays are well understood in the art.

Examples of potential ASP2 polypeptide antagonists include antibodies or, in some cases, oligonucleotides or proteins which are closely related to the ligands, substrates, enzymes, receptors, etc., as the case may be, of the ASP2 polypeptide, e.g., a fragment of the ligands, substrates, enzymes, receptors, etc.; or small molecules which bind to the polypeptide of the present invention but do not elicit a response, so that the activity of the polypeptide is prevented.

Thus in another aspect, the present invention relates to a screening kit for identifying agonists, antagonists, ligands, receptors, substrates, enzymes, etc. for ASP2 polypeptides; or compounds which decrease or enhance the production of ASP2 polypeptides, which comprises:

(a) a ASP2 polypeptide, preferably that of SEQ ID NO:2;

(b) a recombinant cell expressing a ASP2 polypeptide, preferably that of SEQ ID NO:2;

(c) a cell membrane expressing a ASP2 polypeptide; preferably that of SEQ ID NO: 2; or

(d) antibody to a ASP2 polypeptide, preferably that of SEQ ID NO: 2.

It will be appreciated that in any such kit, (a), (b), (c) or (d) may comprise a substantial component.

Prophylactic and Therapeutic Methods

This invention provides methods of treating abnormal conditions such as, Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and prohormone processing, related to both an excess of and insufficient amounts of ASP2 polypeptide activity.

If the activity of ASP2 polypeptide is in excess, several approaches are available. One approach comprises administering to a subject an inhibitor compound (antagonist) as hereinabove described along with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier in an amount effective to inhibit the function of the ASP2 polypeptide, such as, for example, by blocking the binding of ligands, substrates, enzymes, receptors, etc., or by inhibiting a second signal, and thereby alleviating the abnormal condition. In another approach, soluble forms of ASP2 polypeptides still capable of binding the ligand, substrate, enzymes, receptors, etc. in competition with endogenous ASP2 polypeptide may be administered. Typical embodiments of such competitors comprise fragments of the ASP2 polypeptide.

In another approach, soluble forms of ASP2 polypeptides still capable of binding the ligand in competition with endogenous ASP2 polypeptide may be administered. Typical embodiments of such competitors comprise fragments of the ASP2 polypeptide.

In still another approach, expression of the gene encoding endogenous ASP2 polypeptide can be inhibited using expression blocking techniques. Known such techniques involve the use of antisense sequences, either internally generated or separately administered. See, for example, O'Connor, J Neurochem (1991) 56:560 in Oligodeoxynucleotides as Antisense Inhibitors of Gene Expression, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla. (1988). Alternatively, oligonucleotides which form triple helices with the gene can be supplied. See, for example, Lee et al., Nucleic Acids Res (1979)6:3073; Cooney et al., Science (1988) 241:456; Dervan et al., Science (1991) 251:1360. These oligomers can be administered per se or the relevant oligomers can be expressed in vivo.

For treating abnormal conditions related to an under-expression of ASP2 and its activity, several approaches are also available. One approach comprises administering to a subject a therapeutically effective amount of a compound which activates ASP2 polypeptide, i.e., an agonist as described above, in combination with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, to thereby alleviate the abnormal condition. Alternatively, gene therapy may be employed to effect the endogenous production of ASP2 by the relevant cells in the subject. For example, a polynucleotide of the invention may be engineered for expression in a replication defective retroviral vector, as discussed above. The retroviral expression construct may then be isolated and introduced into a packaging cell transduced with a retroviral plasmid vector containing RNA encoding a polypeptide of the present invention such that the packaging cell now produces infectious viral particles containing the gene of interest. These producer cells may be administered to a subject for engineering cells in vivo and expression of the polypeptide in vivo. For overview of gene therapy, see Chapter 20, Gene Therapy and other Molecular Genetic-based Therapeutic Approaches, (and references cited therein) in Human Molecular Genetics, T Strachan and A P Read, BIOS Scientific Publishers Ltd (1996). Another approach is to administer a therapeutic amount of ASP2 polypeptides in combination with a suitable pharmaceutical carrier.

Formulation and Administration

Peptides, such as the soluble form of ASP2 polypeptides, and agonists and antagonist peptides or small molecules, may be formulated in combination with a suitable pharmaceutical carrier. Such formulations comprise a therapeutically effective amount of the polypeptide or compound, and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier or excipient. Such carriers include but are not limited to, saline, buffered saline, dextrose, water, glycerol, ethanol, and combinations thereof. Formulation should suit the mode of administration, and is well within the skill of the art. The invention further relates to pharmaceutical packs and kits comprising one or more containers filled with one or more of the ingredients of the aforementioned compositions of the invention.

Polypeptides and other compounds of the present invention may be employed alone or in conjunction with other compounds, such as therapeutic compounds.

Preferred forms of systemic administration of the pharmaceutical compositions include injection, typically by intravenous injection. Other injection routes, such as subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intraperitoneal, can be used. Alternative means for systemic administration include transmucosal and transdermal administration using penetrants such as bile salts or fusidic acids or other detergents. In addition, if properly formulated in enteric or encapsulated formulations, oral administration may also be possible. Administration of these compounds may also be topical and/or localized, in the form of salves, pastes, gels and the like.

The dosage range required depends on the choice of peptide, the route of administration, the nature of the formulation, the nature of the subject's condition, and the judgment of the attending practitioner. Suitable dosages, however, are in the range of 0.1-100 μg/kg of subject. Wide variations in the needed dosage, however, are to be expected in view of the variety of compounds available and the differing efficiencies of various routes of administration. For example, oral administration would be expected to require higher dosages than administration by intravenous injection. Variations in these dosage levels can be adjusted using standard empirical routines for optimization, as is well understood in the art.

Polypeptides used in treatment can also be generated endogenously in the subject, in treatment, modalities often referred to as “gene therapy” as described above. Thus, for example, cells from a subject may be engineered with a polynucleotide, such as a DNA or RNA, to encode a polypeptide ex vivo, and for example, by the use of a retroviral plasmid vector. The cells are then introduced into the subject.

EXAMPLES

The examples below are carried out using standard techniques, which are well known and routine to those of skill in the art, except where otherwise described in detail. The examples illustrate, but do not limit the invention.

Cloning

Rapid amplification of cDNA ends polymerase chain reaction technology (RACE PCR) was used to identify the missing 5′ cDNA sequence of the aspartyl protease 2 gene. The source of cDNA template for the amplification reactions was a range of Marathon-Ready™ cDNA preparations (Clontech Laboratories, Inc., 1020 East Meadow Circle, Palo Alto, Calif. 94303-4230, USA.). These Marathon-Ready cDNAs are essentially cDNA libraries which have oligonucleotide adaptors ligated onto them. This allows the researcher to perform 5′ RACE PCR using two primers, one complementary to a region of known sequence in the gene of interest and the other complementary to the ligated adaptor; resulting in an extension to the known sequence at the 5′end. PCR was performed using AmpliTaq® Gold DNA polymerase (Perkin-Elmer Corp).

It was found to be necessary to include 5% Dimethylsulphoxide in the reaction buffer for successful amplification, probably due to the high GC nucleotide content of this region of DNA.

The DNA sequence was cloned and a region of DNA was confirmed (nucleotides 1-273 in Table 1) at the 5′ end of the Asp2 gene as extending from the start codon to overlap with the previously identified EST sequences. This novel sequence was identified in cDNA templates from seven human tissues, heart, leukocyte, mammary gland, spleen, skeletal muscle, thymus and aorta.

Northern Analysis

A human Multiple Tissue Northern blot (MTN catalogue number 7760-1) (Clontech) was hybridized with an Asp-2 specific probe (of 325 nucleotides in length) generated by PCR, using the specific oligonucleotides 5′ GATGAGTTCAGGACGGCAG 3′ (SEQ ID NO:5) and 5′ GGTGCCATATGTGTCTCC 3′ (SEQ ID NO:6). The probe was radiolabelled by incorporation of 32P-dCTP during PCR amplification, and the labelled PCR product was subsequently purified using the Qiagen PCR Purification Kit. After a 1 hour prehybridization, hybridization was carried out for 2 hours using ExpressHyb buffer (Clontech) at 68° C., and the labelled probe was added to a final concentration of 1×106 cpm/ml. After hybridization, the membrane was washed twice in 2×SSC/0.05% SDS for 20 minutes, and twice in 0.1×SSC/0.1% SDS at 50° C. for 20 minutes. The membrane was then wrapped in plastic wrap and exposed to X-ray film at −70° C. with two intensifying screens. This revealed that the highest expression (tissues examined were heart, brain, placenta, lung, liver, skeletal muscle, kidney and pancreas) of Asp2 was in the pancreas, followed by the brain.

All publications, including but not limited to patents and patent applications, cited in this specification are herein incorporated by reference as if each individual publication were specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference herein as though fully set forth.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7579180Feb 28, 2007Aug 25, 2009Amgen Inc.Polypeptides and nucleic acid molecules encoding the polypeptide; such molecules have use as probes for diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, and for identification of compounds that modulate the activity of beta secretase
US7582465Feb 28, 2007Sep 1, 2009Amgen Inc.Polypeptides and nucleic acid molecules encoding the polypeptide; such molecules have use as probes for diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, and for identification of compounds that modulate the activity of beta secretase