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Title:  Guanosine monophosphate reductase
United States Patent: 
7,018,822
Issued: 
March 28, 2006
Inventors: 
Hillman; Jennifer L. (San Jose, CA)
Assignee:
 Incyte Corporation (Wilmington, DE)
Appl. No.: 
007306
Filed: 
January 15, 1998


 

Executive MBA in Pharmaceutical Management, U. Colorado


Abstract

The present invention provides a human guanosine monophosphate reductase (HGMPR) and polynucleotides which identify and encode HGMPR. The invention also provides genetically engineered expression vectors and host cells comprising the nucleic acid sequences encoding HGMPR and a method for producing HGMPR. The invention also provides for agonists, antibodies, or antagonists specifically binding HGMPR, and their use, in the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with expression of HGMPR. Additionally, the invention provides for the use of antisense molecules to polynucleotides encoding HGMPR for the treatment of diseases associated with the expression of HGMPR. The invention also provides diagnostic assays which utilize the polynucleotide, or fragments or the complement thereof, and antibodies specifically binding HGMPR.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The Invention

The invention is based on the discovery of a novel human guanosine monophosphate reductase, (HGMPR), the polynucleotides encoding HGMPR, and the use of these compositions for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of cancer, viral diseases, inflammatory diseases, and immunological disorders.

Nucleic acids encoding the human HGMPR of the present invention were first identified in Incyte Clone 569141 from the macrophage cDNA library (MMLR3DT010) through a computer-generated search for amino acid alignments. A consensus sequence, SEQ ID NO:1, was derived from the following overlapping and/or extended nucleic acid sequences: Incyte Clones 989/U937NOT01, 43480/TBLYNOT01, 256710/HNT2RAT01, 297670/HIPONOT01, 569141/MMLR3DT01, 971292/MUSCNOT02, 1458673/COLNFET02,1729347/BRSTTUT08, and 1723868/PROSNOT14.

In one embodiment, the invention encompasses a polypeptide comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:1, as shown in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E. HGMPR is 366 amino acids in length and has cysteine residues representing potential intramolecular cysteine—cysteine disulfide bridging sites at C86, C113, C145, C204, C223, C240, and C334. As shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B, HGMPR has chemical and structural homology with a GMPR from E. coli (GI 473772; SEQ ID NO:3) and human red blood cells (GI 544455; SEQ ID NO:4). In particular, HGMPR shares 72% overall identity with the E. coli GMPR, and 77% identity with the human GMPR. The most significant difference between HGMPR and the two GMPRs is the presence of an N-terminal sequence in HGMPR that is not present in the other two GMPR and may represent a novel signal sequence targeting HGMPR to different tissues. Six of the seven cysteine residues in HGMPR are shared by one or both of the two GMPRs. As illustrated by FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C, HGMPR and the GMPRs from E. coli and human have rather similar hydrophobicity plots. Northern analysis (FIG. 4), together with the libraries mentioned above, indicates that partial transcripts of the nucleic acid sequence encoding HGMPR are prominent in various cancerous tissues (prostate, brain, breast, and blood), and cells associated with inflammatory diseases and the immune response (mast cells, monocytes, macrophages, lymphocytes, and endothelial cells).

The invention also encompasses HGMPR variants. A preferred HGMPR variant is one having at least 80%, and more preferably 90%, amino acid sequence similarity to the HGMPR amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO:1). A most preferred HGMPR variant is one having at least 95% amino acid sequence similarity to SEQ ID NO:1.

The invention also encompasses polynucleotides which encode HGMPR. Accordingly, any nucleic acid sequence which encodes the amino acid sequence of HGMPR can be used to generate recombinant molecules which express HGMPR. In a particular embodiment, the invention encompasses the polynucleotide comprising the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2 as shown in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C and 1E.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that as a result of the degeneracy of the genetic code, a multitude of nucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR, some bearing minimal homology to the nucleotide sequences of any known and naturally occurring gene, may be produced. Thus, the invention contemplates each and every possible variation of nucleotide sequence that could be made by selecting combinations based on possible codon choices. These combinations are made in accordance with the standard triplet genetic code as applied to the nucleotide sequence of naturally occurring HGMPR, and all such variations are to be considered as being specifically disclosed.

Although nucleotide sequences which encode HGMPR and its variants are preferably capable of hybridizing to the nucleotide sequence of the naturally occurring HGMPR under appropriately selected conditions of stringency, it may be advantageous to produce nucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR or its derivatives possessing a substantially different codon usage. Codons may be selected to increase the rate at which expression of the peptide occurs in a particular prokaryotic or eukaryotic host in accordance with the frequency with which particular codons are utilized by the host. Other reasons for substantially altering the nucleotide sequence encoding HGMPR and its derivatives without altering the encoded amino acid sequences include the production of RNA transcripts having more desirable properties, such as a greater half-life, than transcripts produced from the naturally occurring sequence.

The invention also encompasses production of DNA sequences, or portions thereof, which encode HGMPR and its derivatives, entirely by synthetic chemistry. After production, the synthetic sequence may be inserted into any of the many available expression vectors and cell systems using reagents that are well known in the art at the time of the filing of this application. Moreover, synthetic chemistry may be used to introduce mutations into a sequence encoding HGMPR or any portion thereof.

Also encompassed by the invention are polynucleotide sequences that are capable of hybridizing to the claimed nucleotide sequences, and in particular, those shown in SEQ ID NO:2, under various conditions of stringency. Hybridization conditions are based on the melting temperature (Tm) of the nucleic acid binding complex or probe, as taught in Wahl, G. M. and S. L. Berger (1987; Methods Enzymol. 152:399-407) and Kimmel, A. R. (1987; Methods Enzymol. 152:507-511), and may be used at a defined stringency.

Altered nucleic acid sequences encoding HGMPR which are encompassed by the invention include deletions, insertions, or substitutions of different nucleotides resulting in a polynucleotide that encodes the same or a functionally equivalent HGMPR. The encoded protein may also contain deletions, insertions, or substitutions of amino acid residues which produce a silent change and result in a functionally equivalent HGMPR. Deliberate amino acid substitutions may be made on the basis of similarity in polarity, charge, solubility, hydrophobicity, hydrophilicity, and/or the amphipathic nature of the residues as long as the biological activity of HGMPR is retained. For example, negatively charged amino acids may include aspartic acid and glutamic acid; positively charged amino acids may include lysine and arginine; and amino acids with uncharged polar head groups having similar hydrophilicity values may include leucine, isoleucine, and valine; glycine and alanine; asparagine and glutamine; serine and threonine and; phenylalanine and tyrosine.

Also included within the scope of the present invention are alleles of the genes encoding HGMPR. As used herein, an "allele" or "allelic sequence" is an alternative form of the gene which may result from at least one mutation in the nucleic acid sequence. Alleles may result in altered mRNAs or polypeptides whose structure or function may or may not be altered. Any given gene may have none, one, or many allelic forms. Common mutational changes which give rise to alleles are generally ascribed to natural deletions, additions, or substitutions of nucleotides. Each of these types of changes may occur alone, or in combination with the others, one or more times in a given sequence.

Methods for DNA sequencing which are well known and generally available in the art may be used to practice any embodiments of the invention. The methods may employ such enzymes as the Klenow fragment of DNA polymerase I, SEQUENASE® (US Biochemical Corp, Cleveland, Ohio), Taq polymerase (Perkin Elmer), thermostable T7 polymerase (Amersham, Chicago, Ill.), or combinations of recombinant polymerases and proofreading exonucleases such as the ELONGASE Amplification System marketed by Gibco BRL (Gaithersburg, Md.). Preferably, the process is automated with machines such as the Hamilton Micro Lab 2200 (Hamilton, Reno, Nev.), Peltier Thermal Cycler (PTC200; MJ Research, Watertown, Mass.) and the ABI 377 DNA sequencers (Perkin Elmer).

The nucleic acid sequences encoding HGMPR may be extended utilizing a partial nucleotide sequence and employing various methods known in the art to detect upstream sequences such as promoters and regulatory elements. For example, one method which may be employed, "restriction-site" PCR, uses universal primers to retrieve unknown sequence adjacent to a known locus (Sarkar, G. (1993) PCR Methods Applic. 2:318-322). In particular, genomic DNA is first amplified in the presence of primer to linker sequence and a primer specific to the known region. The amplified sequences are then subjected to a second round of PCR with the same linker primer and another specific primer internal to the first one. Products of each round of PCR are transcribed with an appropriate RNA polymerase and sequenced using reverse transcriptase.

Inverse PCR may also be used to amplify or extend sequences using divergent primers based on a known region (Triglia, T. et al. (1988) Nucleic Acids Res. 16:8186). The primers may be designed using OLIGO 4.06 Primer Analysis software (National Biosciences Inc., Plymouth, Minn.), or another appropriate program, to be 22-30 nucleotides in length, to have a GC content of 50% or more, and to anneal to the target sequence at temperatures about 68°-72° C. The method uses several restriction enzymes to generate a suitable fragment in the known region of a gene. The fragment is then circularized by intramolecular ligation and used as a PCR template.

Another method which may be used is capture PCR which involves PCR amplification of DNA fragments adjacent to a known sequence in human and yeast artificial chromosome DNA (Lagerstrom, M. et al. (1991) PCR Methods Applic. 1:111-119). In this method, multiple restriction enzyme digestions and ligations may also be used to place an engineered double-stranded sequence into an unknown portion of the DNA molecule before performing PCR.

Another method which may be used to retrieve unknown sequences is that of Parker, J. D. et al. (1991; Nucleic Acids Res. 19:3055-3060). Additionally, one may use PCR, nested primers, and PROMOTERFINDER libraries to walk in genomic DNA (Clontech, Palo Alto, Calif.). This process avoids the need to screen libraries and is useful in finding intron/exon junctions.

When screening for full-length cDNAs, it is preferable to use libraries that have been size-selected to include larger cDNAs. Also, random-primed libraries are preferable, in that they will contain more sequences which contain the 5′ regions of genes. Use of a randomly primed library may be especially preferable for situations in which an oligo d(T) library does not yield a full-length cDNA. Genomic libraries may be useful for extension of sequence into the 5′ and 3′ non-transcribed regulatory regions.

Capillary electrophoresis systems which are commercially available may be used to analyze the size or confirm the nucleotide sequence of sequencing or PCR products. In particular, capillary sequencing may employ flowable polymers for electrophoretic separation, four different fluorescent dyes (one for each nucleotide) which are laser activated, and detection of the emitted wavelengths by a charge coupled device camera. Output/light intensity may be converted to electrical signal using appropriate software (e.g. GENOTYPER and SEQUENCE NAVIGATOR, Perkin Elmer) and the entire process from loading of samples to computer analysis and electronic data display may be computer controlled. Capillary electrophoresis is especially preferable for the sequencing of small pieces of DNA which might be present in limited amounts in a particular sample.

In another embodiment of the invention, polynucleotide sequences or fragments thereof which encode HGMPR, or fusion proteins or functional equivalents thereof, may be used in recombinant DNA molecules to direct expression of HGMPR in appropriate host cells. Due to the inherent degeneracy of the genetic code, other DNA sequences which encode substantially the same or a functionally equivalent amino acid sequence may be produced and these sequences may be used to clone and express HGMPR.

As will be understood by those of skill in the art, it may be advantageous to produce HGMPR-encoding nucleotide sequences possessing non-naturally occurring codons. For example, codons preferred by a particular prokaryotic or eukaryotic host can be selected to increase the rate of protein expression or to produce a recombinant RNA transcript having desirable properties, such as a half-life which is longer than that of a transcript generated from the naturally occurring sequence.

The nucleotide sequences of the present invention can be engineered using methods generally known in the art in order to alter HGMPR encoding sequences for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to, alterations which modify the cloning, processing, and/or expression of the gene product. DNA shuffling by random fragmentation and PCR reassembly of gene fragments and synthetic oligonucleotides may be used to engineer the nucleotide sequences. For example, site-directed mutagenesis may be used to insert new restriction sites, alter glycosylation patterns, change codon preference, produce splice variants, or introduce mutations, and so forth.

In another embodiment of the invention, natural, modified, or recombinant nucleic acid sequences encoding HGMPR may be ligated to a heterologous sequence to encode a fusion protein. For example, to screen peptide libraries for inhibitors of HGMPR activity, it may be useful to encode a chimeric HGMPR protein that can be recognized by a commercially available antibody. A fusion protein may also be engineered to contain a cleavage site located between the HGMPR encoding sequence and the heterologous protein sequence, so that HGMPR may be cleaved and purified away from the heterologous moiety.

In another embodiment, sequences encoding HGMPR may be synthesized, in whole or in part, using chemical methods well known in the art (see Caruthers, M. H. et al. (1980) Nucl. Acids Res. Symp. Ser. 215-223, Horn, T. et al. (1980) Nucl. Acids Res. Symp. Ser. 225-232). Alternatively, the protein itself may be produced using chemical methods to synthesize the amino acid sequence of HGMPR, or a portion thereof. For example, peptide synthesis can be performed using various solid-phase techniques (Roberge, J. Y. et al. (1995) Science 269:202-204) and automated synthesis may be achieved, for example, using the ABI 431A Peptide Synthesizer (Perkin Elmer).

The newly synthesized peptide may be substantially purified by preparative high performance liquid chromatography (e.g., Creighton, T. (1983) Proteins, Structures and Molecular Principles, W H Freeman and Co., New York, N.Y.). The composition of the synthetic peptides may be confirmed by amino acid analysis or sequencing (e.g., the Edman degradation procedure; Creighton, supra). Additionally, the amino acid sequence of HGMPR, or any part thereof, may be altered during direct synthesis and/or combined using chemical methods with sequences from other proteins, or any part thereof, to produce a variant polypeptide.

In order to express a biologically active HGMPR, the nucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR or functional equivalents, may be inserted into appropriate expression vector, i.e., a vector which contains the necessary elements for the transcription and translation of the inserted coding sequence.

Methods which are well known to those skilled in the art may be used to construct expression vectors containing sequences encoding HGMPR and appropriate transcriptional and translational control elements. These methods include in vitro recombinant DNA techniques, synthetic techniques, and in vivo genetic recombination. Such techniques are described in Sambrook, J. et al. (1989) Molecular Cloning, A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Press, Plainview, N.Y., and Ausubel, F. M. et al. (1989) Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley & Sons, New York, N.Y.

A variety of expression vector/host systems may be utilized to contain and express sequences encoding HGMPR. These include, but are not limited to, microorganisms such as bacteria transformed with recombinant bacteriophage, plasmid, or cosmid DNA expression vectors; yeast transformed with yeast expression vectors; insect cell systems infected with virus expression vectors (e.g., baculovirus); plant cell systems transformed with virus expression vectors (e.g., cauliflower mosaic virus, CaMV; tobacco mosaic virus, TMV) or with bacterial expression vectors (e.g., Ti or pBR322 plasmids); or animal cell systems.

The "control elements" or "regulatory sequences" are those non-translated regions of the vector—enhancers, promoters, 5′ and 3′ untranslated regions—which interact with host cellular proteins to carry out transcription and translation. Such elements may vary in their strength and specificity. Depending on the vector system and host utilized, any number of suitable transcription and translation elements, including constitutive and inducible promoters, may be used. For example, when cloning in bacterial systems, inducible promoters such as the hybrid lacZ promoter of the BLUESCRIPT phagemid (Stratagene, LaJolla, Calif.) or PSPORT1 plasmid (Gibco BRL) and the like may be used. The baculovirus polyhedrin promoter may be used in insect cells. Promoters or enhancers derived from the genomes of plant cells (e.g., heat shock, RUBISCO; and storage protein genes) or from plant viruses (e.g., viral promoters or leader sequences) may be cloned into the vector. In mammalian cell systems, promoters from mammalian genes or from mammalian viruses are preferable. If it is necessary to generate a cell line that contains multiple copies of the sequence encoding HGMPR, vectors based on SV40 or EBV may be used with an appropriate selectable marker.

In bacterial systems, a number of expression vectors may be selected depending upon the use intended for HGMPR. For example, when large quantities of HGMPR are needed for the induction of antibodies, vectors which direct high level expression of fusion proteins that are readily purified may be used. Such vectors include, but are not limited to, the multifunctional E. coli cloning and expression vectors such as BLUESCRIPT (Stratagene), in which the sequence encoding HGMPR may be ligated into the vector in frame with sequences for the amino-terminal Met and the subsequent 7 residues of β-galactosidase so that a hybrid protein is produced; pIN vectors (Van Heeke, G. and S. M. Schuster (1989) J. Biol. Chem. 264:5503-5509); and the like. pGEX vectors (Promega, Madison, Wis.) may also be used to express foreign polypeptides as fusion proteins with glutathione S-transferase (GST). In general, such fusion proteins are soluble and can easily be purified from lysed cells by adsorption to glutathione-agarose beads followed by elution in the presence of free glutathione. Proteins made in such systems may be designed to include heparin, thrombin, or factor XA protease cleavage sites so that the cloned polypeptide of interest can be released from the GST moiety at will.

In the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a number of vectors containing constitutive or inducible promoters such as alpha factor, alcohol oxidase, and PGH may be used. For reviews, see Ausubel et al. (supra) and Grant et al. (1987) Methods Enzymol. 153:516-544.

In cases where plant expression vectors are used, the expression of sequences encoding HGMPR may be driven by any of a number of promoters. For example, viral promoters such as the 35S and 19S promoters of CaMV may be used alone or in combination with the omega leader sequence from TMV (Takamatsu, N. (1987) EMBO J. 6:307-311). Alternatively, plant promoters such as the small subunit of RUBISCO or heat shock promoters may be used (Coruzzi, G. et al. (1984) EMBO J. 3:1671-1680; Broglie, R. et al. (1984) Science 224:838-843; and Winter, J. et al. (1991) Results Probl. Cell Differ. 17:85-105). These constructs can be introduced into plant cells by direct DNA transformation or pathogen-mediated transfection. Such techniques are described in a number of generally available reviews (see, for example, Hobbs, S. or Murry, L. E. in McGraw Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology (1992) McGraw Hill, New York, N.Y.; pp. 191-196).

An insect system may also be used to express HGMPR. For example, in one such system, Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcNPV) is used as a vector to express foreign genes in Spodoptera frugiperda cells or in Trichoplusia larvae. The sequences encoding HGMPR may be cloned into a non-essential region of the virus, such as the polyhedrin gene, and placed under control of the polyhedrin promoter. Successful insertion of HGMPR will render the polyhedrin gene inactive and produce recombinant virus lacking coat protein. The recombinant viruses may then be used to infect, for example, S. frugiperda cells or Trichoplusia larvae in which HGMPR may be expressed (Engelhard, E. K. et al. (1994) Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 91:3224-3227).

In mammalian host cells, a number of viral-based expression systems may be utilized. In cases where an adenovirus is used as an expression vector, sequences encoding HGMPR may be ligated into an adenovirus transcription/translation complex consisting of the late promoter and tripartite leader sequence. Insertion in a non-essential E1 or E3 region of the viral genome may be used to obtain a viable virus which is capable of expressing HGMPR in infected host cells (Logan, J. and Shenk, T. (1984) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 81:3655-3659). In addition, transcription enhancers, such as the Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) enhancer, may be used to increase expression in mammalian host cells.

Specific initiation signals may also be used to achieve more efficient translation of sequences encoding HGMPR. Such signals include the ATG initiation codon and adjacent sequences. In cases where sequences encoding HGMPR, its initiation codon, and upstream sequences are inserted into the appropriate expression vector, no additional transcriptional or translational control signals may be needed. However, in cases where only coding sequence, or a portion thereof, is inserted, exogenous translational control signals including the ATG initiation codon should be provided. Furthermore, the initiation codon should be in the correct reading frame to ensure translation of the entire insert. Exogenous translational elements and initiation codons may be of various origins, both natural and synthetic. The efficiency of expression may be enhanced by the inclusion of enhancers which are appropriate for the particular cell system which is used, such as those described in the literature (Scharf, D. et al. (1994) Results Probl. Cell Differ. 20:125-162).

In addition, a host cell strain may be chosen for its ability to modulate the expression of the inserted sequences or to process the expressed protein in the desired fashion. Such modifications of the polypeptide include, but are not limited to, acetylation, carboxylation, glycosylation, phosphorylation, lipidation, and acylation. Post-translational processing which cleaves a "prepro" form of the protein may also be used to facilitate correct insertion, folding and/or function. Different host cells such as CHO, HeLa, MDCK, HEK293, and WI38, which have specific cellular machinery and characteristic mechanisms for such post-translational activities, may be chosen to ensure the correct modification and processing of the foreign protein.

For long-term, high-yield production of recombinant proteins, stable expression is preferred. For example, cell lines which stably express HGMPR may be transformed using expression vectors which may contain viral origins of replication and/or endogenous expression elements and a selectable marker gene on the same or on a separate vector. Following the introduction of the vector, cells may be allowed to grow for 1-2 days in an enriched media before they are switched to selective media. The purpose of the selectable marker is to confer resistance to selection, and its presence allows growth and recovery of cells which successfully express the introduced sequences. Resistant clones of stably transformed cells may be proliferated using tissue culture techniques appropriate to the cell type.

Any number of selection systems may be used to recover transformed cell lines. These include, but are not limited to, the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (Wigler, M. et al. (1977) Cell 11:223-32) and adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (Lowy, I. et al. (1980) Cell 22:817-23) genes which can be employed in tk- or aprt- cells, respectively. Also, antimetabolite, antibiotic or herbicide resistance can be used as the basis for selection; for example, dhfr which confers resistance to methotrexate (Wigler, M. et al. (1980) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 77:3567-70); npt, which confers resistance to the aminoglycosides neomycin and G-418 (Colbere-Garapin, F. et al (1981) J. Mol. Biol. 150:1-14) and als or pat, which confers resistance to chlorsulfuron and phosphinotricin acetyltransferase, respectively (Murry, supra). Additional selectable genes have been described, for example, trpB, which allows cells to utilize indole in place of tryptophan, or hisD, which allows cells to utilize histinol in place of histidine (Hartman, S. C. and R. C. Mulligan (1988) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 85:8047-51). Recently, the use of visible markers has gained popularity with such markers as anthocyanins, β glucuronidase and its substrate GUS, and luciferase and its substrate luciferin, being widely used not only to identify transformants, but also to quantify the amount of transient or stable protein expression attributable to a specific vector system (Rhodes, C. A. et al. (1995) Methods Mol. Biol. 55:121-131).

Although the presence/absence of marker gene expression suggests that the gene of interest is also present, its presence and expression may need to be confirmed. For example, if the sequence encoding HGMPR is inserted within a marker gene sequence, recombinant cells containing sequences encoding HGMPR can be identified by the absence of marker gene function. Alternatively, a marker gene can be placed in tandem with a sequence encoding HGMPR under the control of a single promoter. Expression of the marker gene in response to induction or selection usually indicates expression of the tandem gene as well.

Alternatively, host cells which contain the nucleic acid sequence encoding HGMPR and express HGMPR may be identified by a variety of procedures known to those of skill in the art. These procedures include, but are not limited to, DNA—DNA or DNA-RNA hybridizations and protein bioassay or immunoassay techniques which include membrane, solution, or chip based technologies for the detection and/or quantification of nucleic acid or protein.

The presence of polynucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR can be detected by DNA—DNA or DNA-RNA hybridization or amplification using probes or portions or fragments of polynucleotides encoding HGMPR. Nucleic acid amplification based assays involve the use of oligonucleotides or oligomers based on the sequences encoding HGMPR to detect transformants containing DNA or RNA encoding HGMPR. As used herein "oligonucleotides" or "oligomers" refer to a nucleic acid sequence of at least about 10 nucleotides and as many as about 60 nucleotides, preferably about 15 to 30 nucleotides, and more preferably about 20-25 nucleotides, which can be used as a probe or amplimer.

A variety of protocols for detecting and measuring the expression of HGMPR, using either polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies specific for the protein are known in the art. Examples include enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), radioimmunoassay (RIA), and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). A two-site, monoclonal-based immunoassay utilizing monoclonal antibodies reactive to two non-interfering epitopes on HGMPR is preferred, but a competitive binding assay may be employed. These and other assays are described, among other places, in Hampton, R. et al. (1990; Serological Methods, a Laboratory Manual, APS Press, St Paul, Minn.) and Maddox, D. E. et al. (1983; J. Exp. Med. 158:1211-1216).

A wide variety of labels and conjugation techniques are known by those skilled in the art and may be used in various nucleic acid and amino acid assays. Means for producing labeled hybridization or PCR probes for detecting sequences related to polynucleotides encoding HGMPR include oligolabeling, nick translation, end-labeling or PCR amplification using a labeled nucleotide. Alternatively, the sequences encoding HGMPR, or any portions thereof may be cloned into a vector for the production of an mRNA probe. Such vectors are known in the art, are commercially available, and may be used to synthesize RNA probes in vitro by addition of an appropriate RNA polymerase such as T7, T3, or SP6 and labeled nucleotides. These procedures may be conducted using a variety of commercially available kits (Pharmacia & Upjohn, (Kalamazoo, Mich.); Promega (Madison Wis.); and U.S. Biochemical Corp., Cleveland, Ohio). Suitable reporter molecules or labels, which may be used, include radionuclides, enzymes, fluorescent, chemiluminescent, or chromogenic agents as well as substrates, cofactors, inhibitors, magnetic particles, and the like.

Host cells transformed with nucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR may be cultured under conditions suitable for the expression and recovery of the protein from cell culture. The protein produced by a recombinant cell may be secreted or contained intracellularly depending on the sequence and/or the vector used. As will be understood by those of skill in the art, expression vectors containing polynucleotides which encode HGMPR may be designed to contain signal sequences which direct secretion of HGMPR through a prokaryotic or eukaryotic cell membrane. Other recombinant constructions may be used to join sequences encoding HGMPR to nucleotide sequences encoding a polypeptide domain which will facilitate purification of soluble proteins. Such purification facilitating domains include, but are not limited to, metal chelating peptides such as histidine-tryptophan modules that allow purification on immobilized metals, protein A domains that allow purification on immobilized immunoglobulin, and the domain utilized in the FLAGS extension/affinity purification system (Immunex Corp., Seattle, Wash.). The inclusion of cleavable linker sequences such as those specific for Factor XA or enterokinase (Invitrogen, San Diego, Calif.) between the purification domain and HGMPR may be used to facilitate purification. One such expression vector provides for expression of a fusion protein containing HGMPR and a nucleic acid encoding 6 histidine residues preceding a thioredoxin or an enterokinase cleavage site. The histidine residues facilitate purification on IMIAC (immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography) as described in Porath, J. et al. (1992, Prot. Exp. Purif. 3: 263-281) while the enterokinase cleavage site provides a means for purifying HGMPR from the fusion protein. A discussion of vectors which contain fusion proteins is provided in Kroll, D. J. et al. (1993; DNA Cell Biol. 12:441-453).

In addition to recombinant production, fragments of HGMPR may be produced by direct peptide synthesis using solid-phase techniques (Merrifield J. (1963) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 85:2149-2154). Protein synthesis may be performed using manual techniques or by automation. Automated synthesis may be achieved, for example, using Applied Biosystems 431A Peptide Synthesizer (Perkin Elmer). Various fragments of HGMPR may be chemically synthesized separately and combined using chemical methods to produce the full length molecule.

Therapeutics

HGMPR bears chemical and structural homology to GMPRs from E. coli (SEQ ID NO:3) and man (SEQ ID NO:4). Furthermore, GMPRs are known to play a role in various conditions involving a proliferative cell state such as cancer, viral diseases, inflammation, or the immune response. Based on these facts, and the expression of HGMPR in various normal and tumor tissues and in tissues involved in inflammation and the immune response, HGMPR is believed to play a role in cancer, viral diseases, inflammatory diseases, and immunological disorders.

Therefore, in one embodiment, a vector expressing antisense of the polynucleotide encoding HGMPR may be administered to a subject to treat or prevent cancer. Cancers may include, but are not limited to, cancers of the prostate, brain, breast, colon, heart, and leukemias.

In another embodiment, a vector expressing antisense of the polynucleotide encoding HGMPR may be administered to a subject to treat or prevent viral diseases. Viral diseases may include, but are not limited to herpes simplex type I and type II, influenza, rhinovirus, cytomegalovirus, hepatitis, and human immunodeficency virus (AIDS).

In another embodiment, a vector expressing antisense of the polynucleotide encoding HGMPR may be administered to a subject to treat or prevent inflammatory diseases and immunological disorders, which may include, but are not limited to conditions such as anemias, asthma, systemic lupus, myasthenia gravis, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune thyroiditis, pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis, osteoporosis, glomerulonephritis; rheumatoid and osteoarthritis; and scleroderma.

In another embodiment, antagonists or inhibitors of HGMPR may be administered to a subject to treat or prevent cancers described above.

In another embodiment, antagonists or inhibitors of HGMPR may be administered to a subject to treat or prevent viral diseases described above.

In another embodiment, antagonists or inhibitors of HGMPR may be administered to a subject to treat or prevent inflammatory diseases and immunological disorders described above.

Antibodies which are specific for HGMPR may be used directly as an antagonist, or indirectly as a targeting or delivery mechanism for bringing a pharmaceutical agent to cells or tissue which express HGMPR.

In other embodiments, any of the therapeutic proteins, antagonists, antibodies, agonists, antisense sequences or vectors described above may be administered in combination with other appropriate therapeutic agents. Selection of the appropriate agents for use in combination therapy may be made by one of ordinary skill in the art, according to conventional pharmaceutical principles. The combination of therapeutic agents may act synergistically to effect the treatment or prevention of the various disorders described above. Using this approach, one may be able to achieve therapeutic efficacy with lower dosages of each agent, thus reducing the potential for adverse side effects.

Antagonists or inhibitors of HGMPR may be produced using methods which are generally known in the art. In particular, purified HGMPR may be used to produce antibodies or to screen libraries of pharmaceutical agents to identify those which specifically bind HGMPR.

Antibodies to HGMPR may be generated using methods that are well known in the art. Such antibodies may include, but are not limited to, polyclonal, monoclonal, chimeric, single chain, Fab fragments, and fragments produced by a Fab expression library. Neutralizing antibodies, (i.e., those which inhibit dimer formation) are especially preferred for therapeutic use.

For the production of antibodies, various hosts including goats, rabbits, rats, mice, humans, and others, may be immunized by injection with HGMPR or any fragment or oligopeptide thereof which has immunogenic properties. Depending on the host species, various adjuvants may be used to increase immunological response. Such adjuvants include, but are not limited to, Freund's, mineral gels such as aluminum hydroxide, and surface active substances such as lysolecithin, pluronic polyols, polyanions, peptides, oil emulsions, keyhole limpet hemocyanin, and dinitrophenol. Among adjuvants used in humans, BCG (bacilli Calmette-Guerin) and Corynebacterium parvum are especially preferable.

It is preferred that the peptides, fragments, or oligopeptides used to induce antibodies to HGMPR have an amino acid sequence consisting of at least five amino acids, and more preferably at least 10 amino acids. It is also preferable that they are identical to a portion of the amino acid sequence of the natural protein, and they may contain the entire amino acid sequence of a small, naturally occurring molecule. Short stretches of HGMPR amino acids may be fused with those of another protein such as keyhole limpet hemocyanin and antibody produced against the chimeric molecule.

Monoclonal antibodies to HGMPR may be prepared using any technique which provides for the production of antibody molecules by continuous cell lines in culture. These include, but are not limited to, the hybridoma technique, the human B-cell hybridoma technique, and the EBV-hybridoma technique (Kohler, G. et al. (1975) Nature 256:495-497; Kozbor, D. et al. (1985) J. Immunol. Methods 81:31-42; Cote, R. J. et al. (1983) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 80:2026-2030; Cole, S. P. et al. (1984) Mol. Cell Biol. 62:109-120).

In addition, techniques developed for the production of "chimeric antibodies", the splicing of mouse antibody genes to human antibody genes to obtain a molecule with appropriate antigen specificity and biological activity can be used (Morrison, S. L. et al. (1984) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 81:6851-6855; Neuberger, M. S. et al. (1984) Nature 312:604-608; Takeda, S. et al. (1985) Nature 314:452-454). Alternatively, techniques described for the production of single chain antibodies may be adapted, using methods known in the art, to produce HGMPR-specific single chain antibodies. Antibodies with related specificity, but of distinct idiotypic composition, may be generated by chain shuffling from random combinatorial immunoglobulin libraries (Burton D. R. (1991) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 88:11120-3).

Antibodies may also be produced by inducing in vivo production in the lymphocyte population or by screening recombinant immunoglobulin libraries or panels of highly specific binding reagents as disclosed in the literature (Orlandi, R. et al. (1989) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 86: 3833-3837; Winter, G. et al. (1991) Nature 349:293-299).

Antibody fragments which contain specific binding sites for HGMPR may also be generated. For example, such fragments include, but are not limited to, the F(ab′)2 fragments which can be produced by pepsin digestion of the antibody molecule and the Fab fragments which can be generated by reducing the disulfide bridges of the F(ab′)2 fragments. Alternatively, Fab expression libraries may be constructed to allow rapid and easy identification of monoclonal Fab fragments with the desired specificity (Huse, W. D. et al. (1989) Science 254:1275-1281).

Various immunoassays may be used for screening to identify antibodies having the desired specificity. Numerous protocols for competitive binding or immunoradiometric assays using either polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies with established specificities are well known in the art. Such immunoassays typically involve the measurement of complex formation between HGMPR and its specific antibody. A two-site, monoclonal-based immunoassay utilizing monoclonal antibodies reactive to two non-interfering HGMPR epitopes is preferred, but a competitive binding assay may also be employed (Maddox, supra).

In another embodiment of the invention, the polynucleotides encoding HGMPR, or any fragment thereof, or antisense molecules, may be used for therapeutic purposes. In one aspect, antisense to the polynucleotide encoding HGMPR may be used in situations in which it would be desirable to block the transcription of the mRNA. In particular, cells may be transformed with sequences complementary to polynucleotides encoding HGMPR. Thus, antisense molecules may be used to modulate HGMPR activity, or to achieve regulation of gene function. Such technology is now well known in the art, and sense or antisense oligomers or larger fragments, can be designed from various locations along the coding or control regions of sequences encoding HGMPR.

Expression vectors derived from retroviruses, adenovirus, herpes or vaccinia viruses, or from various bacterial plasmids may be used for delivery of nucleotide sequences to the targeted organ, tissue or cell population. Methods which are well known to those skilled in the art can be used to construct recombinant vectors which will express antisense molecules complementary to the polynucleotides of the gene encoding HGMPR. These techniques are described both in Sambrook et al. (supra) and in Ausubel et al. (supra).

Genes encoding HGMPR can be turned off by transforming a cell or tissue with expression vectors which express high levels of a polynucleotide or fragment thereof which encodes HGMPR. Such constructs may be used to introduce untranslatable sense or antisense sequences into a cell. Even in the absence of integration into the DNA, such vectors may continue to transcribe RNA molecules until they are disabled by endogenous nucleases. Transient expression may last for a month or more with a non-replicating vector and even longer if appropriate replication elements are part of the vector system.

As mentioned above, modifications of gene expression can be obtained by designing antisense molecules, DNA, RNA, or PNA, to the control regions of the gene encoding HGMPR, i.e., the promoters, enhancers, and introns. Oligonucleotides derived from the transcription initiation site, e.g., between positions -10 and +10 from the start site, are preferred. Similarly, inhibition can be achieved using "triple helix" base-pairing methodology. Triple helix pairing is useful because it causes inhibition of the ability of the double helix to open sufficiently for the binding of polymerases, transcription factors, or regulatory molecules. Recent therapeutic advances using triplex DNA have been described in the literature (Gee, J. E. et al. (1994) In: Huber, B. E. and B. I. Carr, Molecular and Immunologic Approaches, Futura Publishing Co., Mt. Kisco, N.Y.). The antisense molecules may also be designed to block translation of mRNA by preventing the transcript from binding to ribosomes.

Ribozymes, enzymatic RNA molecules, may also be used to catalyze the specific cleavage of RNA. The mechanism of ribozyme action involves sequence-specific hybridization of the ribozyme molecule to complementary target RNA, followed by endonucleolytic cleavage. Examples which may be used include engineered hammerhead motif ribozyme molecules that can specifically and efficiently catalyze endonucleolytic cleavage of sequences encoding HGMPR.

Specific ribozyme cleavage sites within any potential RNA target are initially identified by scanning the target molecule for ribozyme cleavage sites which include the following sequences: GUA, GUU, and GUC. Once identified, short RNA sequences of between 15 and 20 ribonucleotides corresponding to the region of the target gene containing the cleavage site may be evaluated for secondary structural features which may render the oligonucleotide inoperable. The suitability of candidate targets may also be evaluated by testing accessibility to hybridization with complementary oligonucleotides using ribonuclease protection assays.

Antisense molecules and ribozymes of the invention may be prepared by any method known in the art for the synthesis of nucleic acid molecules. These include techniques for chemically synthesizing oligonucleotides such as solid phase phosphoramidite chemical synthesis. Alternatively, RNA molecules may be generated by in vitro and in vivo transcription of DNA sequences encoding HGMPR. Such DNA sequences may be incorporated into a wide variety of vectors with suitable RNA polymerase promoters such as T7 or SP6. Alternatively, these cDNA constructs that synthesize antisense RNA constitutively or inducibly can be introduced into cell lines, cells, or tissues.

RNA molecules may be modified to increase intracellular stability and half-life. Possible modifications include, but are not limited to, the addition of flanking sequences at the 5′ and/or 3′ ends of the molecule or the use of phosphorothioate or 2′ O-methyl rather than phosphodiesterase linkages within the backbone of the molecule. This concept is inherent in the production of PNAs and can be extended in all of these molecules by the inclusion of nontraditional bases such as inosine, queosine, and wybutosine, as well as acetyl-, methyl-, thio-, and similarly modified forms of adenine, cytidine, guanine, thymine, and uridine which are not as easily recognized by endogenous endonucleases.

Many methods for introducing vectors into cells or tissues are available and equally suitable for use in vivo, in vitro, and ex vivo. For ex vivo therapy, vectors may be introduced into stem cells taken from the patient and clonally propagated for autologous transplant back into that same patient. Delivery by transfection and by liposome injections may be achieved using methods which are well known in the art.

Any of the therapeutic methods described above may be applied to any subject in need of such therapy, including, for example, mammals such as dogs, cats, cows, horses, rabbits, monkeys, and most preferably, humans.

An additional embodiment of the invention relates to the administration of a pharmaceutical composition, in conjunction with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, for any of the therapeutic effects discussed above. Such pharmaceutical compositions may consist of HGMPR, antibodies to HGMPR, mimetics, agonists, antagonists, or inhibitors of HGMPR. The compositions may be administered alone or in combination with at least one other agent, such as stabilizing compound, which may be administered in any sterile, biocompatible pharmaceutical carrier, including, but not limited to, saline, buffered saline, dextrose, and water. The compositions may be administered to a patient alone, or in combination with other agents, drugs or hormones.

The pharmaceutical compositions utilized in this invention may be administered by any number of routes including, but not limited to, oral, intravenous, intramuscular, intra-arterial, intramedullary, intrathecal, intraventricular, transdermal, subcutaneous, intraperitoneal, intranasal, enteral, topical, sublingual, or rectal means.

In addition to the active ingredients, these pharmaceutical compositions may contain suitable pharmaceutically-acceptable carriers comprising excipients and auxiliaries which facilitate processing of the active compounds into preparations which can be used pharmaceutically. Further details on techniques for formulation and administration may be found in the latest edition of Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences (Maack Publishing Co., Easton, Pa.).

Pharmaceutical compositions for oral administration can be formulated using pharmaceutically acceptable carriers well known in the art in dosages suitable for oral administration. Such carriers enable the pharmaceutical compositions to be formulated as tablets, pills, dragees, capsules, liquids, gels, syrups, slurries, suspensions, and the like, for ingestion by the patient.

Pharmaceutical preparations for oral use can be obtained through combination of active compounds with solid excipient, optionally grinding a resulting mixture, and processing the mixture of granules, after adding suitable auxiliaries, if desired, to obtain tablets or dragee cores. Suitable excipients are carbohydrate or protein fillers, such as sugars, including lactose, sucrose, mannitol, or sorbitol; starch from corn, wheat, rice, potato, or other plants; cellulose, such as methyl cellulose, hydroxypropylmethyl-cellulose, or sodium carboxymethylcellulose; gums including arabic and tragacanth; and proteins such as gelatin and collagen. If desired, disintegrating or solubilizing agents may be added, such as the cross-linked polyvinyl pyrrolidone, agar, alginic acid, or a salt thereof, such as sodium alginate.

Dragee cores may be used in conjunction with suitable coatings, such as concentrated sugar solutions, which may also contain gum arabic, talc, polyvinylpyrrolidone, carbopol gel, polyethylene glycol, and/or titanium dioxide, lacquer solutions, and suitable organic solvents or solvent mixtures. Dyestuffs or pigments may be added to the tablets or dragee coatings for product identification or to characterize the quantity of active compound, i.e., dosage.

Pharmaceutical preparations which can be used orally include push-fit capsules made of gelatin, as well as soft, sealed capsules made of gelatin and a coating, such as glycerol or sorbitol. Push-fit capsules can contain active ingredients mixed with a filler or binders, such as lactose or starches, lubricants, such as talc or magnesium stearate, and, optionally, stabilizers. In soft capsules, the active compounds may be dissolved or suspended in suitable liquids, such as fatty oils, liquid, or liquid polyethylene glycol with or without stabilizers.

Pharmaceutical formulations suitable for parenteral administration may be formulated in aqueous solutions, preferably in physiologically compatible buffers such as Hanks'solution, Ringer's solution, or physiologically buffered saline. Aqueous injection suspensions may contain substances which increase the viscosity of the suspension, such as sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, sorbitol, or dextran. Additionally, suspensions of the active compounds may be prepared as appropriate oily injection suspensions. Suitable lipophilic solvents or vehicles include fatty oils such as sesame oil, or synthetic fatty acid esters, such as ethyl oleate or triglycerides, or liposomes. Optionally, the suspension may also contain suitable stabilizers or agents which increase the solubility of the compounds to allow for the preparation of highly concentrated solutions.

For topical or nasal administration, penetrants appropriate to the particular barrier to be permeated are used in the formulation. Such penetrants are generally known in the art.

The pharmaceutical compositions of the present invention may be manufactured in a manner that is known in the art, e.g., by means of conventional mixing, dissolving, granulating, dragee-making, levigating, emulsifying, encapsulating, entrapping, or lyophilizing processes.

The pharmaceutical composition may be provided as a salt and can be formed with many acids, including but not limited to, hydrochloric, sulfuric, acetic, lactic, tartaric, malic, succinic, etc. Salts tend to be more soluble in aqueous or other protonic solvents than are the corresponding free base forms. In other cases, the preferred preparation may be a lyophilized powder which may contain any or all of the following: 1-50 mM histidine, 0.1%-2% sucrose, and 2-7% mannitol, at a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5, that is combined with buffer prior to use.

After pharmaceutical compositions have been prepared, they can be placed in an appropriate container and labeled for treatment of an indicated condition. For administration of HGMPR, such labeling would include amount, frequency, and method of administration.

Pharmaceutical compositions suitable for use in the invention include compositions wherein the active ingredients are contained in an effective amount to achieve the intended purpose. The determination of an effective dose is well within the capability of those skilled in the art.

For any compound, the therapeutically effective dose can be estimated initially either in cell culture assays, e.g., of neoplastic cells, or in animal models, usually mice, rabbits, dogs, or pigs. The animal model may also be used to determine the appropriate concentration range and route of administration. Such information can then be used to determine useful doses and routes for administration in humans.

A therapeutically effective dose refers to that amount of active ingredient, for example HGMPR or fragments thereof, antibodies of HGMPR, agonists, antagonists or inhibitors of HGMPR, which ameliorates the symptoms or condition. Therapeutic efficacy and toxicity may be determined by standard pharmaceutical procedures in cell cultures or experimental animals, e.g., ED50 (the dose therapeutically effective in 50% of the population) and LD50 (the dose lethal to 50% of the population). The dose ratio between therapeutic and toxic effects is the therapeutic index, and it can be expressed as the ratio, LD50/ED50. Pharmaceutical compositions which exhibit large therapeutic indices are preferred. The data obtained from cell culture assays and animal studies is used in formulating a range of dosage for human use. The dosage contained in such compositions is preferably within a range of circulating concentrations that include the ED50 with little or no toxicity. The dosage varies within this range depending upon the dosage form employed, sensitivity of the patient, and the route of administration.

The exact dosage will be determined by the practitioner, in light of factors related to the subject that requires treatment. Dosage and administration are adjusted to provide sufficient levels of the active moiety or to maintain the desired effect. Factors which may be taken into account include the severity of the disease state, general health of the subject, age, weight, and gender of the subject, diet, time and frequency of administration, drug combination(s), reaction sensitivities, and tolerance/response to therapy. Long-acting pharmaceutical compositions may be administered every 3 to 4 days, every week, or once every two weeks depending on half-life and clearance rate of the particular formulation.

Normal dosage amounts may vary from 0.1 to 100,000 micrograms, up to a total dose of about 1 g, depending upon the route of administration. Guidance as to particular dosages and methods of delivery is provided in the literature and generally available to practitioners in the art. Those skilled in the art will employ different formulations for nucleotides than for proteins or their inhibitors. Similarly, delivery of polynucleotides or polypeptides will be specific to particular cells, conditions, locations, etc.

Diagnostics

In another embodiment, antibodies which specifically bind HGMPR may be used for the diagnosis of conditions or diseases characterized by expression of HGMPR, or in assays to monitor patients being treated with HGMPR, agonists, antagonists or inhibitors. The antibodies useful for diagnostic purposes may be prepared in the same manner as those described above for therapeutics. Diagnostic assays for HGMPR include methods which utilize the antibody and a label to detect HGMPR in human body fluids or extracts of cells or tissues. The antibodies may be used with or without modification, and may be labeled by joining them, either covalently or non-covalently, with a reporter molecule. A wide variety of reporter molecules which are known in the art may be used, several of which are described above.

A variety of protocols including ELISA, RIA, and FACS for measuring HGMPR are known in the art and provide a basis for diagnosing altered or abnormal levels of HGMPR expression. Normal or standard values for HGMPR expression are established by combining body fluids or cell extracts taken from normal mammalian subjects, preferably human, with antibody to HGMPR under conditions suitable for complex formation. The amount of standard complex formation may be quantified by various methods, but preferably by photometric means. Quantities of HGMPR expressed in subject, control and disease, samples from biopsied tissues are compared with the standard values. Deviation between standard and subject values establishes the parameters for diagnosing disease.

In another embodiment of the invention, the polynucleotides encoding HGMPR may be used for diagnostic purposes. The polynucleotides which may be used include oligonucleotide sequences, antisense RNA and DNA molecules, and PNAs. The polynucleotides may be used to detect and quantitate gene expression in biopsied tissues in which expression of HGMPR may be correlated with disease. The diagnostic assay may be used to distinguish between absence, presence, and excess expression of HGMPR, and to monitor regulation of HGMPR levels during therapeutic intervention.

In one aspect, hybridization with PCR probes which are capable of detecting polynucleotide sequences, including genomic sequences, encoding HGMPR or closely related molecules, may be used to identify nucleic acid sequences which encode HGMPR. The specificity of the probe, whether it is made from a highly specific region, e.g., 10 unique nucleotides in the 5′ regulatory region, or a less specific region, e.g., especially in the 3′ coding region, and the stringency of the hybridization or amplification (maximal, high, intermediate, or low) will determine whether the probe identifies only naturally occurring sequences encoding HGMPR, alleles, or related sequences.

Probes may also be used for the detection of related sequences, and should preferably contain at least 50% of the nucleotides from any of the HGMPR encoding sequences. The hybridization probes of the subject invention may be DNA or RNA and derived from the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:2 or from genomic sequence including promoter, enhancer elements, and introns of the naturally occurring HGMPR.

Means for producing specific hybridization probes for DNAs encoding HGMPR include the cloning of nucleic acid sequences encoding HGMPR or HGMPR derivatives into vectors for the production of mRNA probes. Such vectors are known in the art, commercially available, and may be used to synthesize RNA probes in vitro by means of the addition of the appropriate RNA polymerases and the appropriate labeled nucleotides. Hybridization probes may be labeled by a variety of reporter groups, for example, radionuclides such as 32P or 35S, or enzymatic labels, such as alkaline phosphatase coupled to the probe via avidin/biotin coupling systems, and the like.

Polynucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR may be used for the diagnosis of conditions or diseases which are associated with expression of HGMPR. Examples of such conditions or diseases include cancers of the prostate, brain, breast, colon, heart, and leukemias, viral diseases such as simplex type I and type II, influenza, rhinovirus, cytomegalovirus, hepatitis, and human immunodeficency virus (AIDS), and immunological disorders such as anemias, asthma, systemic lupus, and myasthenia gravis, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, glomerulonephritis; rheumatoid and osteoarthritis; and scleroderma. The polynucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR may be used in Southern or northern analysis, dot blot, or other membrane-based technologies; in PCR technologies; or in dip stick, pin, ELISA or chip assays utilizing fluids or tissues from patient biopsies to detect altered HGMPR expression. Such qualitative or quantitative methods are well known in the art.

In a particular aspect, the nucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR may be useful in assays that detect activation or induction of various cancers, particularly those mentioned above. The nucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR may be labeled by standard methods, and added to a fluid or tissue sample from a patient under conditions suitable for the formation of hybridization complexes. After a suitable incubation period, the sample is washed and the signal is quantitated and compared with a standard value. If the amount of signal in the biopsied or extracted sample is significantly altered from that of a comparable control sample, the nucleotide sequences have hybridized with nucleotide sequences in the sample, and the presence of altered levels of nucleotide sequences encoding HGMPR in the sample indicates the presence of the associated disease. Such assays may also be used to evaluate the efficacy of a particular therapeutic treatment regimen in animal studies, in clinical trials, or in monitoring the treatment of an individual patient.

In order to provide a basis for the diagnosis of disease associated with expression of HGMPR, a normal or standard profile for expression is established. This may be accomplished by combining body fluids or cell extracts taken from normal subjects, either animal or human, with a sequence, or a fragment thereof, which encodes HGMPR, under conditions suitable for hybridization or amplification. Standard hybridization may be quantified by comparing the values obtained from normal subjects with those from an experiment where a known amount of a substantially purified polynucleotide is used. Standard values obtained from normal samples may be compared with values obtained from samples from patients who are symptomatic for disease. Deviation between standard and subject values is used to establish the presence of disease.

Once disease is established and a treatment protocol is initiated, hybridization assays may be repeated on a regular basis to evaluate whether the level of expression in the patient begins to approximate that which is observed in the normal patient. The results obtained from successive assays may be used to show the efficacy of treatment over a period ranging from several days to months.

With respect to cancer, the presence of a relatively high amount of transcript in biopsied tissue from an individual may indicate a predisposition for the development of the disease, or may provide a means for detecting the disease prior to the appearance of actual clinical symptoms. A more definitive diagnosis of this type may allow health professionals to employ preventative measures or aggressive treatment earlier thereby preventing the development or further progression of the cancer.

Additional diagnostic uses for oligonucleotides designed from the sequences encoding HGMPR may involve the use of PCR. Such oligomers may be chemically synthesized, generated enzymatically, or produced from a recombinant source. Oligomers will preferably consist of two nucleotide sequences, one with sense orientation (5′->3′) and another with antisense (3′<-5′), employed under optimized conditions for identification of a specific gene or condition. The same two oligomers, nested sets of oligomers, or even a degenerate pool of oligomers may be employed under less stringent conditions for detection and/or quantitation of closely related DNA or RNA sequences.

Methods which may also be used to quantitate the expression of HGMPR include radiolabeling or biotinylating nucleotides, coamplification of a control nucleic acid, and standard curves onto which the experimental results are interpolated (Melby, P. C. et al. (1993) J. Immunol. Methods, 159:235-244; Duplaa, C. et al. (1993) Anal. Biochem. 229-236). The speed of quantitation of multiple samples may be accelerated by running the assay in an ELISA format where the oligomer of interest is presented in various dilutions and a spectrophotometric or calorimetric response gives rapid quantitation.

In another embodiment of the invention, the nucleic acid sequences which encode HGMPR may also be used to generate hybridization probes which are useful for mapping the naturally occurring genomic sequence. The sequences may be mapped to a particular chromosome or to a specific region of the chromosome using well known techniques. Such techniques include FISH, FACS, or artificial chromosome constructions, such as yeast artificial chromosomes, bacterial artificial chromosomes, bacterial PI constructions or single chromosome cDNA libraries as reviewed in Price, C. M. (1993) Blood Rev. 7:127-134, and Trask, B. J. (1991) Trends Genet. 7:149-154.

FISH (as described in Verma et al. (1988) Human Chromosomes: A Manual of Basic Techniques, Pergamon Press, New York, N.Y.) may be correlated with other physical chromosome mapping techniques and genetic map data. Examples of genetic map data can be found in the 1994 Genome Issue of Science (265:1981f). Correlation between the location of the gene encoding HGMPR on a physical chromosomal map and a specific disease, or predisposition to a specific disease, may help delimit the region of DNA associated with that genetic disease. The nucleotide sequences of the subject invention may be used to detect differences in gene sequences between normal, carrier, or affected individuals.

In situ hybridization of chromosomal preparations and physical mapping techniques such as linkage analysis using established chromosomal markers may be used for extending genetic maps. Often the placement of a gene on the chromosome of another mammalian species, such as a mouse, may reveal associated markers even if the number or arm of a particular human chromosome is not known. New sequences can be assigned to chromosomal arms, or parts thereof, by physical mapping. This provides valuable information to investigators searching for disease genes using positional cloning or other gene discovery techniques. Once the disease or syndrome has been crudely localized by genetic linkage to a particular genomic region, for example, AT to 11q22-23 (Gatti, R. A. et al. (1988) Nature 336:577-580), any sequences mapping to that area may represent associated or regulatory genes for further investigation. The nucleotide sequence of the subject invention may also be used to detect differences in the chromosomal location due to translocation, inversion, etc. among normal, carrier, or affected individuals.

In another embodiment of the invention, HGMPR, its catalytic or immunogenic fragments or oligopeptides thereof, can be used for screening libraries of compounds in any of a variety of drug screening techniques. The fragment employed in such screening may be free in solution, affixed to a solid support, borne on a cell surface, or located intracellularly. The formation of binding complexes, between HGMPR and the agent being tested, may be measured.

Another technique for drug screening which may be used provides for high throughput screening of compounds having suitable binding affinity to the protein of interest as described in published PCT application WO84/03564. In this method, as applied to HGMPR large numbers of different small test compounds are synthesized on a solid substrate, such as plastic pins or some other surface. The test compounds are reacted with HGMPR, or fragments thereof, and washed. Bound HGMPR is then detected by methods well known in the art. Purified HGMPR can also be coated directly onto plates for use in the aforementioned drug screening techniques. Alternatively, non-neutralizing antibodies can be used to capture the peptide and immobilize it on a solid support.

In another embodiment, one may use competitive drug screening assays in which neutralizing antibodies capable of binding HGMPR specifically compete with a test compound for binding HGMPR. In this manner, the antibodies can be used to detect the presence of any peptide which shares one or more antigenic determinants with HGMPR.

In additional embodiments, the nucleotide sequences which encode HGMPR may be used in any molecular biology techniques that have yet to be developed, provided the new techniques rely on properties of nucleotide sequences that are currently known, including, but not limited to, such properties as the triplet genetic code and specific base pair interactions.

 

Claim 1 of 2 Claims

1. A substantially purified guanosine monophosphate reductase comprising the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:1 or an enzymatically active fragments thereof.

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