Title of Invention

AN ISOLATED NUCLEIC ACID ENCODING A PATCHOULOL SYNTHASE, METHOD FOR ITS PREPARATION, POLYPEPTIDE ENCODED BY IT AND A VECTOR OR A MICROBIAL HOST CELL, COMPRISING IT

Abstract The invention discloses an isolated nucleic acid sequence identical to SEQ ID NO: 5 or at least 70% identical to it, encoding a polypeptide having patchoulol synthase activity, a polypeptide encoded by it with amino acid sequence identical to SEQ ID NO: 10 or at least 80% identical to it. The invention is also for method of preparing patchoulol synthase with said nucleic acid, a vector or a microbial host cell comprising it and method of making patchoulol.
Full Text AN ISOLATED NUCLEIC ACID ENCODING A PATCHOULOL SYNTHASE, METHOD FOR ITS PREPARATION, POLYPEPTIDE ENCODED BY IT AND A VECTOR OR A MICROBIAL HOST CELL, COMPRISING IT
[0001] The present invention relates to sesquiterpene synthases from Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) plants, and methods of their production and use. In one embodiment, the invention provides nucleic acids comprising a nucleotide sequence as described herein that encodes for at least one sesquiterpene synthase. In a further embodiment, the invention also provides for sesquiterpene synthases and. methods of making and using these enzymes, For example, sesquiterpene synthases of the invention may be used to convert famesyl-pyrophosphate to various sesquiterpenes including patchoulol, g-curcumene and other germacrane-type sesquiterpenes.
Background of the Invention
[0002] Terpenoids or terpenes represent a family of natural products found in most organisms (bacteria, fungi, animal, plants). Terpenoids are made up of five carbon units called isoprene units. They can be classified by the number of isoprene units present in their structure: monoterpenes (C10), sesquiterpenes (C15), diterpenes (C20), triterpenes (C30), tetraterpenes (C40) and polyterpenes (Cn). The plant kingdom contains the highest diversity of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.
[0003] The monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes are the most structurally diverse isoprenoids. They are usually volatile compounds and are mostly found in plants were they play a role in defense against pathogens and herbivores attacks, in pollinator attraction and in plant-plant communication. [0004] Some plants, known as aromatic plants or essential-od-plants, accumulate large amounts of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes in their leaves. In these plants, the terpenes are often synthesized and accumulated in specialized anatomical structures, glandular trichomes or secretory cavities, localized on the leaves and stems surface. Classical examples of such plants

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are members from the Lamiaceae family such as lavender, mint, sage, basil and patchouli.
[0005] Monoterpene and sesquiterpene accumulating plants have been of interest for thousands of years because of their flavor and fragrance properties and their cosmetic, medicinal and anti-microblal effects. The terpenes accumulated in the plants can be extracted by different means such as steam distillation that produces the so-called essential oil containing the concentrated terpenes. Such natural plant extracts are important components for the flavor and perfumery Industry.
[0006] Many sesquiterpene compounds are used in perfumery (e.g. patchoulol, nootkatone, santalol, vetivone, sinensal) and many are extracted from plants. The price and availability of the plant natural extracts is dependent on the abundance, the oil yield and the geographical origin of the plants. Because of the complexity of their structure, production of individual terpene molecules by chemical synthesis is often limited by the cost of the process and may not always be chemically or financially feasible. The recent progress in understanding terpene biosynthesis in plants and the use of modem biotechnology techniques opens new opportunities for the production of terpene molecules. The use of biocatalysts for the production of terpenes requires a clear understanding of the biosynthesis of terpenes and the isolation of the genes encoding enzymes involved in specific biosynthetic steps.
[0007] The biosynthesis of tenpenes in plants has been extensively studied. The common five-carbon precursor to all terpenes Is isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP). Most of the enzymes catalyzing the steps leading to IPP have been cloned and characterized. Two distinct pathways for IPP biosynthesis coexist in the plants. The mevalonate pathway is found in the cytosol and endoplasmlc reticulum and the non-mevalonate pathway (or deoxyxyiulose (DXP) pathway) Is found in the plastids. In the next step IPP is repetitively condensed by prenyl transferases to form the acyclic prenyi pyrophosphate terpene precursors for each class of terpenes, e.g. geranyl-

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pyrophosphate (GPP) for the monoterpenes, farnesyl-pyrophosphate (FPP) for the sesquiterpenes, geranylgeranyl-pyrophosphate (GGPP) for the

diterpenes. These precursors serve as substrate for the terpene synthases or cyclases, which are specific for each class of terpene, e.g. monoterpene, sesquiterpene or diterpene synthases. Terpene synthases catalyze complex multiple step cyclizations to form the large diversity of carbon skeleton of the terpene compounds. The reaction starts with the ionization of the diphosphate group to form an allylic cation. The substrate undergoes then Isomerizations and rearrangements that are controlled by the active site of the enzyme. The product can be acyclic, or cyclic with one or multiple rings. The reaction is terminated by deprotonation of the carbocation or by capture by a water molecule and the terpene hydrocarbon or alcohol is released. Some terpene synthases produce a single product, but most of them produce multiple products. These enzymes are responsible for the extremely large number of terpene skeletons. Finally, in the last stage of terpenoid blosynthesis, the terpene molecules may undergo several steps of secondary enzymatic transformations such as hydroxylations, isomerisations, oxido-reductions or acylations, leading to the tens of thousand of different terpene molecules. [0008] This invention relates to the isolation of nucleic acids encoding for sesquiterpene synthases. The sesquiterpene synthases convert farnesyl pyrophosphate to the different sesquiterpene skeletons. Over 300 sesquiterpene hydrocarbons and 3000 sesquiterpenoids have been identified (Joulain, D., and König, W A The Atlas of Spectral Data of Sesquiterpene Hydrocarbons, EB Verlag, Hamburg. 1998; Connolly, J.D., Hill R.A. Dictionary of Terpenoids, Vol 1, Chapman and Hall (publisher), 1991), and many new structures are identified each year. There is virtually an infinity of sesquiterpene synthases present in the plant kingdom, all using the same substrate but having different product profiles.
[0009] Several sesquiferpene synthase encoding cDNA or genes have been cloned and characterized from different plant sources, e.g., 5-epi-aristolochene synthases form Nicotiana tabacum (Facchini, P.J. and

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Chappell, J. (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A 89,11088-11092.) and from Capsicum annum (Back, K., et al. (1998) Plant Cell Physiol. 39 (9), 899-904), a vetispiradiene synthase from Hyoscyamus muticus (Back, K. and Chappell, J. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270 (13), 7375-7381), a (E)-b-famesene synthases from Mentha plpperita and Citrus Junos (Crock, J., et al. (1997) Proc. Natil Acad. Scl. U.SA 94 (24), 12833-12838; Maruyama et al (2001) Biol. Pharm. Bull. 24(10), 1171-1175), a d-selinene synthase and a g-humulene synthase from Abies grandls (Steele, C.L., et al. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273 (4), 2078-2089), d-cadlnene synthases from Gossypium arboreum (Chen, X.Y., et al. (1995) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 324 (2), 255-266; Chen. X.Y., et al. (1996) J. Nat Prod. 59, 944-951), a E-a-bisabolene synthase from Abies grandis (Bohlmann, J., et al. (1998) Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. U.SA 95 (12), 6756-6761.), a germacrene C synthase from Lycopersicon esculentum (Colby, S.M., et al. (1998) Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. U.SA 95 (5), 2216-2221.), an epl-cedrol synthase and an amorpha-4,11-diene synthase from Artemisia annua (Mercke, P., et al. (1999) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 369 (2), 213-222; Mercke, P., et al. (2000) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 381 (2), 173-180.), a germacrene D synthase from Lycopersicon esculentum (van der Hoeven, R.S., Monforte, A.J., Breeden D., Tanksley, S.D., and Steffens J.C. (2000) The Plan cell 12, 2283-2294) and germacrene A synthases from Lactuca sativa, from Cichorium intybus and from Solidago canadensis (Bennett, M.H., et al. (2002) Phytochem. 60, 255-261; Bouwmeester, H.J., et al. (2002) Plant Physiol. 129 (1), 134-144; Prosser I, et al. (2002) Phytochem. 60, 691-702). [0010] One embodiment of the present invention relates to the isolation from patchouli plants of nucleic acid encoding for sesquiterpenes synthases. Patchouli oil is an important perfumery raw material obtained by steam distillation of the leaves from the plant Pogostemon cablin (patchouli), a Lamlaceae growing in tropical regions. The oil, which has a long-lasting pleasant odor with woody, earth and camphoraceous notes, is largely used in perfumery. In patchouli plants the biosynthesis and storage of the oil is associated with anatomically specialized structures: glandular structures

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found on the leaf surface and internal structures found all over the plant. The biosynthesis of the oil occurs In the early stage of the leaf development (Henderson, W., Hart, J.W., How, P, and Judge J. (1969) Phytochem. 9, 1219-1228). The oil is rich In sesquiterpenes. The sesquiterpene patchoulot (Figure 1) is the major constituent (5 to 40 %) and contributes considerably to the typical note.
[0011] The Biosynthesis of patchoulol in Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) leaves has been studied and elucidated. Croteau and co-worker studied the mechanism of biosynthesis of patchoulol using patchouli leaf extracts and achieved the purification and characterization of the patchoulol synthase (Croteau et al (1987) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 256(1), 56-68; Munck and Croteau (1990) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 282(1), 55-64). A single sesquiterpene synthase is responsible for the biosynthesis of patchoulol from famesyl pyrophosphate. The patchoulol synthase from patchouli is a multiple product enzyme synthesizing patchoulol as a main product and several secondary products including a-bulnesene, a-guaiene, a-patchoulene, b-patchoulene (Figure 1) (Croteau et al (1987) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 256(1), 56-68; Munck and Croteau (1990) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 282(1), 55-64). The chemical synthesis of patchoulol and structurally related compounds involves a large number of steps and so far, there is no commercially interesting chemical process. Therefore, a biochemical route for the production of patchoulol would be of great interest. The engineering of a biochemical route for the production of Patchoulol requires the isolation of the genes encoding for patchoulol synthase.
[0012] One embodiment of the present invention provides nucleic acids isolated from patchouli leaves and encoding for sesquiterpene synthases. Another embodiment of the invention relates to the transformation of bacteria with the isolated nucleic acids of the invention, including the production of the resultant recombinant sesquiterpene synthases. For example, one embodiment of the invention relates to the use of a recombinant sesquiterpene synthase to produce a mixture of sesquiterpenes, with

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patchoulol being the major product Other embodiments of the invention relate to the use of another recombinant sesquiterpene synthases to produce g-curcumene as major product, and other recombinant sesquiterpene synthases to produce germacrane-type sesquiterpenes (figure 1). A further embodiment of the invention relates to the use of sesquiterpene synthases In vivo to produce at least one terpenoid, for example patchoulol.
Summary of the Invention
[0013] In one embodiment, the invention relates to isolated nucleic acids that encode sesquiterpene synthases. As used herein, a sesquiterpene synthase may also be referred to by at least one compound produced by the enzyme upon contact with an acyclic pyrophosphate terpene precursor such as famesyl-pyrophosphate. In one embodiment, it is the major product produced. For example, a sesquiterpene synthase capable of producing patchoulol as one of its products, for example, the major product, may be referred to as a patchoulol synthase. Using this convention, examples of nucleic acids of the invention include cDNAs encoding g-curcumene synthase (PatTpsA) (SEQ ID NO:1); (-)-germacrene D synthase (PatTpsBF2) (SEQ ID NO:2); (+)-germacrene A synthase (PatTpsCF2) (SEQ ID NO:3); another (-)germacrene D synthase (PatTpsB15) (SEQ ID NO:4); and a patchoulol synthase (PatTps177) (SEQ ID NO:5).
[0014] In one embodiment, the present invention provides an isolated nucleic acid encoding a patchoulol synthase.
[0015] In another embodiment, an isolated nucleic acid encoding a g-curcumene synthase is provided.
[0016] In one embodiment the invention provides an isolated nucleic acid selected from: (a) a nucleic add comprising the nucleotide sequence substantially as set out in SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5; (b) a nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide substantially set out in SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID

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NO:9, or SEQ ID NO:10; and (c) a nucleic acid that hybridizes to the nucleic acid of (a) or (b) under low stringency conditions, wherein the polypetide encoded by said nucleic acid has sesquiterpene synthase activity. In one embodiment, the defined conditions are moderate stringency conditions and in a further embodiment the defined conditions are high stringency conditions. Other embodiments Include: a polypeptide encoded by a nucleic add of the invention, or obtained from the method for preparing a nucleic acid encoding an improved sesquiterpene synthase; a host cell comprising a nucleic acid of the invention; a non-human organism modified to harbor a nucleic acid of the invention; and methods of producing a polypeptide comprising culturing host cells of the invention.
[0017] In an embodiment, the invention provides an isolated patchoulol synthase. In another embodiment, the present invention provides an isolated g-curcumene synthase.
[0018] In a further embodiment, the invention provides a vector comprising at least one nucleic acid according to the invention. In yet another embodiment, the present invention provides a method for preparing a nucleic acid encoding an improved sesquiterpene synthase. [0019] Other embodiments include, methods of making a recombinant host cell comprising introducing a vector of the invention Into a host cell. [0020] In one embodiment, the invention provides a method of making at least one sesquiterpene synthase comprising culturing a host modified to contain at least one nucleic acid sequence under conditions conducive to the production of said at least one sesquiterpene synthase wherein said at least one nucleic acid is the nucleic acid according to the invention. [0021] In another embodiment the invention provides a method of making at least one terpenoid comprising A) contacting at least one acyclic pyrophosphate terpene precursor with at least one polypeptide encoded by a nucleic acid according to the invention, and B) optionally, isolating at least one terpenoid produced In A). In one embodiment, the method is performed In vivo. For example, at least one synthase is produced in vivo In, for example,

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a microrganism or a plant comprising at least one acyclic pyrophosphate terpene precursor. Preferably, the at least one terpenoid is chosen from sesquiterpenes. Preferably, the at least one acyclic pyrophosphate terpene precursor is famesyl-pyrophosphate. The sesquiterpenes produced by the methods of the invention include, but are not limited to, patchoulol, g-curcumene and other germacrane-type sesquiterpenes (Figure 1). In an embodiment, the at least one terpenoid is a sesquiterpene chosen from g-curcumene and/or patchoulol.
[0022] It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention as claimed. Reference will now be made In detail to exemplary embodiments of the present invention.
Brief Description of the Figures
[0023] Figure 1: Structure of sesquiterpene molecules cited in the text
[0024] Figure 2: Central part of the alignments of the amino acid sequences of two groups of sesquitepene synthases (SEQ ID NOS 13-24, respectively in order of appearance) used to design the sesquiterpene synthase-specific degenerated primers (SEQ ID NOS 25-30, respectively in order of appearance). The arrows below each alignment show the regions of the alignment used to design each primer and their orientation.
[0025] Figure 3: Alignment of the amino acid sequences deduced from the 3'RACE products products (SEQ ID NOS 31-33, respectively in order of appearance). White letters on black background and black letters on gray background represent respectively Identical and similar residues in two out of the three sequences.

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[0026] Figure 4: Alignment of the amino acid sequences deduced from the 5'RACE products (SEQ ID NOS 34-36, respectively in order of appearance). White letters on black background and black letters on gray background represent respectively identical and similar residues in two out of the three sequences.
[0027] Figure 5: Alignment of the amino acid sequences deduced from the cDNAs isolated in this work (SEQ ID NOS 37-42, respectively in order of appearance). White letters on black background and black letters on gray background represent respectively identical and similar residues in four out of the six sequences.
[0028] Figure 6: Alignment of the nucleotide sequences of open reading frames of the cDNAs isolated in this work (SEQ ID NOS 43-48, respectively in order of appearance). White letters on black background represent conserved nucleotides In four out of the six sequences. The regions used to design the degenerated primers are marked with arrows bellow the alignment and the names of the primers are Indicated.
[0029] Figure 7: Coupled gas chromatographic-mass spectrophotometric (GC-MS) analysis of sesqurterpenes produced by PatTpsA (SEQ ID NO:6). A. Total ion chromatogram. The peak of famesol (retention time 16.15) is due to hydrolysis of FPP by the E. co// alkaline phosphatase present in the crude protein extract. Ail peaks except peak 1 are contaminants from the Incubation medium or from the solvent use for the extraction. B. Mass spectrum and calculated retention index for peak 1.
[0030] Figure 8: Coupled gas chromatographic-mass spectrophotometric (GC-MS) analysis of sesqurterpenes produced by PatTpsBF2 (SEQ ID NO:7). A. Total ion chromatogram. The peak of famesol (retention time 16.16) Is due to hydrolysis of FPP by the E. coll alkaline phosphatase present in the crude

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protein extract All peaks except peak 1 are contaminant from the Incubation medium or from the solvent use for the extraction. B. Mass spectrum and calculated retention index for peak 1.
[0031] Figure 9: Coupled gas chromatographlc-mass spectrophotometric (GC-MS) analysis of sesqulterpenes produced by PatTpsCF2 (SEQ ID NO:8). A. Total ton chromatogram. The peak of famesol (retention time 16.16) is due to hydrolysis of FPP by the E. coli alkaline phosphatase present in the crude protein extract Peaks marked with number are sesquiterpenes. B, C, D, E. Mass spectra and calculated retention indexes of the peaks were the sesquiterpene was identified. Peak 5 is a sesquiterpene hydrocarbon and peak 6 is a sesquiterpene alcohol. For structure of the molecules, see Figure 1.
[0032] Figure 10: Coupled gas chromatographic-mass spectrophotometric (GC-MS) analysis of sesquiterpenes produced by PatTpsB-15 (SEQ ID NO:9). A. Total ion chromatogram. Peaks marked with number are sesquiterpenes. B, C, D, E, F,G . Mass spectra and calculated retention indexes of the peaks were the sesquiterpene was identified. Peak 4, 5, 7,8, 9 and 12 are sesquiterpene hydrocarbons. Peaks 13 and 14 are sesquiterpene alcohols. For structure of the molecules, see Figure 1.
[0033] Figure 11: Coupled gas chromatographic-mass spectrophotometric (GC-MS) analysis of the sesquiterpenes produced by PatTps177 (SEQ ID NO: 10). The total ion chromatogram Is represented. Peaks marked with number are sesquiterpenes. All sesquiterpenes in the marked peaks, except peaks 3,4,11,13 and 17, could be identified.
[0034] Figure 12: Mass spectra of selected peaks from the coupled gas chromatographic-mass spectrophotometric (GC-MS) analysis of the sesquiterpenes produced by PatTps177 (SEQ ID NO:10). The mass

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spectrum, the name of the compound and the calculated retention index are shown for each peak where the sesquirterpene was identified. The mass-spectrum of the authentic standard of (-)-patchoulol (purified from patchouli oil) is also presented. For structure of the molecules, see Figure 1.
[0035] Figure 13: DNA (SEQ ID NO:1) and aminoacid (SEQ ID NO:6) sequences of PatTpsA, a y-curcumene synthase.
[0036] Figure 14: DNA (SEQ ID NO:2) and aminoacid (SEQ ID NO:7) sequences of PatTpsBF2, a (-)-germacrene D synthase.
[0037] Figure 15: DNA (SEQ ID NO:3) and aminoacid (SEQ ID NO:8) sequences of PatTpsCF2, a (+}-germacrene A synthase.
[0038] Figure 16: DNA (SEQ ID NO:4) and aminoacid (SEQ ID NO:9) sequences of PatTpsB15, another (-)-germacrene D synthase.
[0039] Figure 17: DNA (SEQ ID NO:5) and aminoacid (SEQ ID NO:10) sequences of PatTps177, a patchoulol synthase.
[0040] Figure 18: Partial DNA (SEQ ID NO:11) and aminoacid (SEQ ID NO: 12) sequences of PatTpsC16, a sesqufterpene synthase.
Abbreviations used
[0041] bp base pair.
[0042] DNA deoxyribonucleic add.
[0043] cDNA complementary DNA.
[0044] DTT dlthlothreltol.
[0045] EDTA ethylenedlaminotetraacetic acid.
[0046] FPP Famesyl-pyrophosphate.

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[0047] IPP isopentenyl pyrophosphate
[0048] IPTG isopropyl-D-thiogalacto-pyranoside.
[0049] PCR pofymerase chain reaction.
[0050] RT-PCR reverse transcription - porymerase chain
reaction.
[0051] 3'-/5'-RACE 3' and 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends.
[0052] RNA ribonucleic acid.
[0053] mRNA messenger ribonucleic acid.
[0054] SDS-PAGE SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
Description of the invention
[0055] A terpene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon based on an isoprene unit
(C5H8) which may be acyclic or cyclic. Terpene derivatives, include but are
not limited to camphor, menthol, terpineol, bomeol, geranlol, nootkatone,
cedrol, and patchoulol. Terpenes or Teroenoids. as used herein includes
terpenes and terpene derivatives, including compounds that have undergone
one or more steps of functionalization such as hydroxylations, isomerizations,
oxido-reductions or acylations. As used herein, a sesquiterpene is a terpene
based on a C15 structure and includes sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpene
derivatives, including compounds that have undergone one or more steps of
functionalization such as hydroxylations, isomerizations, oxido-reductions or
acylations.
[0056] As used herein, a derivative is any compound obtained from a
known or hypothetical compound and containing essential elements of the
parent substance.
[0057] - As used herein, sesautterpene synthase Is any enzyme that
catalyzes the synthesis of a sesquiterpene.
[0058] The phrase 'identical.' 'substantially identical." or "substantially as
set out." means that a relevant sequence is at least 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%,

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90%, 92%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, or 99% Identical to a given sequence. By way of example, such sequences may be allelic variants, sequences derived from various specles, or they may be derived from the given sequence by truncation, deletion, amino acid substitution or addition. For polypeptides, the length of comparison sequences will generally be at least 20,30, 50,100 or more amino acids. For nucleic acids, the length of comparison sequences will generally be at least 50,100,150,300, or more nucleotides. Percent identity between two sequences is determined by standard alignment algorithms such as, for example, Basic Local Alignment Tool (BLAST) described in Aitschul et al. (1990) J. Mol. Biol., 215:403-410, the algorithm of Needleman et al. (1970) J. Mol. Biol., 48:444-453, or the algorithm of Meyers et al. (1988) Comput Appl. Biosci., 4:11-17.
[0059] The invention thus provides, in one embodiment, an isolated nucleic acid selected from: (a) a nucleic acid comprising the nucieotide sequence sequence substantially as set out in SEQ ID NO.1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5; (b) a nudeic acid encoding the polypeptide substantially set out in SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, or SEQ ID NO: 10; and (c) a nudeic acid that hybridizes to the nudeic acid of (a) or (b) under low stringency conditions, wherein the polypetide encoded by said nudeic acid has sesquiterpene synthase activity. In one embodiment, the defined conditions are moderate stringency conditions and in a further embodiment the defined conditions are high stringency conditions.
[0060] As used herein, one determines whether a polypeptide encoded by a nudeic acid of the Invention has sesauiterpene svnthase activity by the enzyme characterization assay described in the examples herein. [0061] As used herein, the term hybridization or hybridizes under certain conditions' is intended to describe conditions for hybridization and washes under which nudeotide sequences that are significantly identical or homologous to each other remain bound to each other. The conditions may be such that sequences, which are at least about 70%, such as at least about

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80%, and such as at least about 85-90% Identical, remain bound to each other. Definitions of low stringency, moderate, and high stringency hybridization conditions are provided herein.
[0062] Appropriate hybridization conditions can be selected by those skilled in the art with minimal experimentation as exemplified In Ausubel et al. (1995), Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley & Sons, sections 2,4, and 6. aciditionally, stringency conditions are described in Sambrook et al. (1989) Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd ed., Cold Spring Harbor Press, chapters 7, 9, and 11. As used herein, defined conditions of low stringency are as follows. Filters containing DNA are pretreated for 6 h at 40°C. In a solution containing 35% fbrmamkJe, 5x SSC, 50 mM Tris-HCI (pH 7.5), 5 mM EDTA, 0.1%PVP, 0.1% Ficoll, 1% BSA, and 500 ug/ml denatured salmon sperm DNA. Hybridizations are earned out in the same solution with the following modifications: 0.02% PVP, 0.02% Ficoll, 0.2% BSA, 100 ug/ml salmon sperm DNA, 10% (wt/vol) dextran surfate, and 5-20x106 32P-labeled probe is used. Filters are incubated in hybridization mixture for 18-20 h at 40°C, and then washed for 1.5 h at 55°C In a solution containing 2x SSC, 25 mM Tris-HCI (pH 7.4), 5 mM EDTA, and 0.1% SDS. The wash solution is replaced with fresh solution and incubated an additional 1.5 h at 60°C. Fitters are blotted dry and exposed for autoradiography. [0063] As used herein, defined conditions of moderate stringency are as follows. Fitters containing DNA are pretreated for 7 h at 50°C. In a solution containing 35% formamide, 5x SSC, 50 mM Tris-HCI (pH 7.5), 5 mM EDTA, 0.1% PVP, 0.1% Ficoll, 1% BSA, and 500 ug/ml denatured salmon sperm DNA. Hybridizations are carried out in the same solution with the following modifications: 0.02% PVP, 0.02% Ficoll, 0.2% BSA, 100 ug/ml salmon sperm DNA, 10% (wt/vol) dextran surfate, and 5-20x106 32P-labeled probe is used. Fitters are incubated in hybridization mixture for 30 h at 50°C
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fresh solution and incubated an additional 1.5 h at 60°C. Filters are blotted dry and exposed for autoradlography.
[0064] As used herein, defined conditions of high stringency are as follows. Prehybridization of filters containing DNA is carried out for 8 h to overnight at 65°C in buffer composed of 6x SSC, 50 mM Tris-HCI (pH 7.5), 1 mM EDTA, 0.02% PVP, 0.02% Ficoll, 0.02% BSA, and 500 ug/ml denatured salmon sperm DNA. Filters are hybridized for 48 h at 65°C in the prehybridization mixture containing 100 ug /ml denatured salmon sperm DNA and 5-20x106 cpm of 32P-labeled probe. Washing of filters is done at 37°C for i h in a solution containing 2x SSC, 0.01% PVP, 0.01% Ficoll, and 0.01% BSA. This is followed by a wash in 0.1x SSC at 50°C for 45 minutes. Other conditions of low, moderate, and high stringency well known in the art (e.g., as employed for cross-species hybridizations) may be used if the above conditions are Inappropriate.
[0065] In an embodiment of the nucleic acid of the invention, the nucleic acid is chosen from (a) a nucleic acid comprising the nucleotide sequence substantially as set out in SEQ ID NO:5; (b) a nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide substantially set out in SEQ ID NO:10; and (c) a nucleic acid that hybridizes to the nucleic acid of (a) or (b) under low stringency conditions, wherein the polypetide encoded by said nucleic acid has sesquiterpene synthase activity.
[0066] In another embodiment of the nucleic acid of the invention, the nucleic acid is chosen from (a) a nucleic acid comprising the nucleotide sequence substantially as set out in SEQ ID NO:1; (b) a nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide substantially set out in SEQ ID NO:6; and (c) a nucleic acid that hybridizes to the nucleic acid of (a) or (b) under low stringency conditions, wherein the polypetide encoded by said nudeic acid has sesquiterpene synthase activity.
[0067] In an embodiment, the nudeic acids are at least 70%, at least 85%, at least 90% or at least 95% {(identical to nudeotides SEQ ID NO: 5 and/or 1. Preferbaly, the nudeic acid of step (c) hybridizes under moderate, more

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preferably under high stringency conditions to the nucleic acids of (a) or (b) above.
[0068] Preferably, a nucleic acid and/or polypeptide of the invention is isolated from Patchouli (Pogostemon cablln). In an embodiment, the nucleic acid is isolated from patchouli leaves.
[0069] Preferably, the nucleic acid according to the invention comprises SEQ ID NO:5. Preferably, the nucleic acid comprises SEQ ID NO:10. [0070] In a particular embodiment, the invention relates to certain isolated nudeotkJe sequences including those that are substantially free from contaminating endogenous material. The terms "nucleic acid" or "nucleic acid molecule" refer to a deoxyribonudeotide or ribonucleotide polymer in either single-or double-stranded form, and unless otherwise limited, would encompass known analogs of natural nudeotides that can function in a similar manner as naturally occurring nudeotides. A "nudeotide sequence" also refers to a polynudeotide molecule or oligonudeottde molecule in the form of a separate fragment or as a component of a larger nudeic acid. The nudeotide sequence or molecule may also be referred to as a "nudeotide probe." Some of the nudeic acid molecules of the Invention are derived from DNA or RNA isolated at least once in substantially pure form and in a quantity or concentration enabling identification, manipulation, and recovery of its component nudeotide sequence by standard biochemical methods. Examples of such methods, induding methods for PCR protocols that may be used herein, are disdosed in Sambrook et al., Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd ed., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY (1989), Current Protocols in Molecular Biology edited by F.A. Ausubel et al., John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (1987), and Innls, M. et al., eds., PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications, Academic Press (1990).
[0071] As described herein, the nudeic acid molecules of the Invention indude DNA in both single-stranded and double-stranded form, as well as the RNA complement thereof. DNA Indudes, for example, cDNA, genomic DNA,

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chemically synthesized DNA, DNA amplified by PCR, and combinations thereof. Genomic DNA, including translated, non-translated and control regions, may be isolated by conventional techniques, e.g., using any one of the cDNAs of the Invention, or suitable fragments thereof, as a probe, to Identify a piece of genomic DNA which can then be cloned using methods commonly known in the art In general, nucleic acid molecules within the scope of the invention Include sequences that hybridize to sequences of the invention under hybridization and wash conditions described above and of 5°, 10 °, 15 °, 20 °, 25 °, or 30 ° below the melting temperature of the DNA duplex of sequences of the invention, including any range of conditions subsumed within these ranges.
[0072] In another embodiment, the nucleic acids of the invention comprises a sequence substantially as set out in SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5. In one embodiment, the nucleic acids are at least 70%, at least, 85%, at least 90%, or at least 95% identical to nucleotides SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5. In one embodiment, the nucleic acid comprises the nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5. In a further embodiment, the nucleic acid encodes a protein that has sesquiterpene synthase activity, as demonstrated, for example, In the enzyme assay described in the examples. Nucleic acids comprising regions conserved among different species, are also provided. [0073] In yet another embodiment, the nucleic acid comprises a contiguous stretch of at least 50,100, 250, 500, or 750 contiguous nucleotides of SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5. Such contiguous fragments of these nucleotides may also contain at least one mutation so long as the mutant sequence retains the functionality of the original sequence and the capacity to hybridize to these nucleotides under low or high stringency conditions, such as for example, moderate or high stringency conditions. Such a fragment can be derived, for example, from nudeotkJe (nt) 200 to nt 1600, from nt 800 to nt 1600, from nt

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1000 to nt 1600, from nt 200 to nt 1000, from nt 200 to nt 800, from nt 400 to nt 1600, or from nt 400 to nt 1000 of SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID N02, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5.
[0074] As described above, porypeptides encoded by the nucleic acids of the invention are encompassed by the Invention. The isolated nucleic acids of the invention may be selected from a nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide substantially set out in SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, or SEQ ID NO:10. In one embodiment, the polypeptides are at least 70%, at least 85%, at least 90%, or at least 95% identical to SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, or SEQ ID NO:10. [0075] In one embodiment, a polypeptide of the invention comprises an amino acid sequence as set out in SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, or SEQ ID NO: 10. In another embodiment, the polypeptide comprises an amino acid sequence substantially as set out In SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, or SEQ ID NO:10. In yet another embodiment, the polypeptide comprises an amino acid sequence that is at least 80%, at least 85% identical, at least 90% or at least 95% identical to of SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, or SEQ ID NO:10. In one embodiment, the polypeptide has sesquiterpene synthase activity, as demonstrated, for example, in the enzyme assay described below. [0076] Preferably, the polypeptide is the polypeptide as substantially set out in SEQ ID NO: 6 and/or 10. More preferably, the polypeptide comprises an amino acid sequence that is at least 75%, at least 80%, at least 85%, at least 90%, at least 95%, at least 97%, or which corresponds totally to the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 6 and/or 10.
[0077] Due to the degeneracy of the genetic code wherein more than one codon can encode the same amino acid, multiple DNA sequences can code for the same polypeptide. Such variant DNA sequences can result from genetic drift or artificial manipulation (e.g., occurring during PCR amplification or as the product of deliberate mutagenesis of a native sequence). The present invention thus encompasses any nucleic acid capable of encoding a

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protein derived from the SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5 or variants thereof.
[0078] Deliberate mutagenesis of a native sequence can be carried out using numerous techniques well known in the art For example, oligonucleotide-dlrected site-specific mutagenesis procedures can be employed, particularly where it Is desired to mutate a gene such that predetermined restriction nucleotides or codons are altered by substitution, deletion or insertion. Exemplary methods of making such alterations are disclosed by Walder et al. (Gene 42:133,1986); Bauer et al. (Gene 37:73, 1985); Craik (BioTechniques, January 12-19,1985); Smith etal. (Genetic Engineering: Principles and Methods, Plenum Press, 1981); Kunkel (Proc. Nati. Acad. Sd. USA 82:488,1985); Kunkel et al. (Methods in Enzymol. 154:367,1987); and U.S. Patent Nos. 4,518,584 and 4,737,462. [0079] In one embodiment, the invention provides for isolated polypeptides. As used herein, the term "potvoeptides" refers to a genus of polypeptide or peptkJe fragments that encompass the amino acid sequences identified herein, as well as smaller fragments. Alternatively, a polypeptide may be defined in terms of its antigenic relatedness to any peptide encoded by the nucleic acid sequences of the invention. Thus, in one embodiment, a polypeptide within the scope of the invention is defined as an amino acid sequence comprising a linear or 3-dimensional eprtope shared with any peptide encoded by the nucleic acid sequences of the invention. Alternatively, a polypeptide within the scope of the invention is recognized by an antibody that specifically recognizes any peptide encoded by the nudeic acid sequences of the invention. Antibodies are defined to be specifically binding if they bind polypeptides of the invention with a K« of greater than or equal to about 107 M"\ such as greater than or equal to 108 M"1. [0080] A polvpeptide "variant" as referred to herein means a polypeptide substantially homologous to a native polypeptide, but which has an amino acid sequence different from that encoded by any of the nudeic acid

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sequences of the invention because of one or more deletions, insertions or substitutions.
[0081] Variants can comprise conservatively substituted sequences, meaning that a given amino acid residue is replaced by a residue having similar phystochemical characteristics. Examples of conservative substitutions include substitution of one aliphatic residue for another, such as lie, Val, Leu, or Ala for one another, or substitutions of one polar residue for another, such as between Lys and Arg; Glu and Asp; or Gin and Asn. See Zubay, Biochemistry, Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., (1983). The effects of such substitutions can be calculated using substitution score matrices such a PAM-120, PAM-200, and PAM-250 as discussed in Altschul, (J. Mol. Biol. 219:555-65,1991). Other such conservative substitutions, for example, substitutions of entire regions having similar hydrophobicity characteristics, are well known. [0082] Naturally-occurring peptide variants are also encompassed by the invention. Examples of such variants are proteins that result from alternate mRNA splicing events or from proteolytic cleavage of the polypeptides described herein. Variations attributable to proteolysis include, for example, differences in the N- or C-termini upon expression In different types of host cells, due to proteolytic removal of one or more terminal amino acids from the polypeptides encoded by the sequences of the invention. [0083] Variants of the sesquiterpenes synthases of the invention may be used to attain desired enhanced or reduced enzymatic activity, modified regiochemistry or stereochemistry, or altered substrate utilization or product distribution. Furthermore, variants may be prepared to have at least one modified property, for example an increased affinity for the substrate, an improved specificity for the production of one or more desired compounds, a different product distribution, a different enzymatic activity, an Increase of the velocity of the enzyme reaction, a higher activity or stability in a specific environment (pH, temperature, solvent, etc), or an improved expression level in a desired expression system. A variant or site direct mutant may be made by any method known In the art. As stated above, the invention provides

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recombinant and non-recombinant, isolated and purified polypeptides, such as from patchouli plants. Variants and derivatives of native pofypeptides can be obtained by isolating naturally-occurring variants, or the nucleotide sequence of variants, of other or same plant lines or species, or by artificially programming mutations of nucleotide sequences coding for native patchouli polypeptides. Alterations of the native amino acid sequence can be accomplished by any of a number of conventional methods. [0084] Accordingly, the present invention provides a method for preparing a variant functional sesquiterpene synthase, the method comprising the steps of (a) selecting any of nucleic acids from the group consisting of SEQ ID NO: 1, 2, 3,4 or 5, (b) altering the nucleic acid sequence to obtain a polulation of mutant nucleic acids, and, (c) transforming host cells with the mutant nucleic acid to express polypeptides, and, (d) screening the polypeptides for a functional polypeptide having at least one modified property. The modified property may be any desired property, for example the properties mentioned above. The alteration of the selected nucleic acid may be performed by random mutagenesis, site-specific mutagenesis or DNA shuffling, for example; The alteration may be at least one point mutation, deletion or insertion. For example, polypeptides having an amino acid sequence encoded by a nucleic acid obtained from shuffling techniques, involving at least any of SEQ ID NO 1 - 5, are also encompassed by the present invention. The steps of the method according to this embodiment of the invention, such as screening the polypeptides for a functional polypeptide, are known to the skilled person who will routinely adapt known protocols to the specific modified property that is desired.
[0085] For example mutations can be introduced at particular loci by synthesizing oligonudeotides containing a mutant sequence, flanked by restriction sites enabling ligationto fragments of the native sequence. Following Hgation, the resulting reconstructed sequence encodes an analog having the desired amino acid insertion, substitution, or deletion. Alternatively, olkjonudeotide-directed site-specific mutagenesis procedures

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can be employed to provide an altered gene wherein predetermined codons can be altered by substitution, deletion or insertion. The present invention also encompasses nucleic acids obtained from altering a nucleic acid jaf the present invention, for example in order to obtain a variant polypeptide. . [0086] In one embodiment, the invention contemplates: vectors comprising the nucleic acids of the invention. For example, a vector comprising at least one nucleic acid chosen from (a) a nucleic acid comprising the nudeotide sequence substantially as set out in SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5; (b) a nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide substantially set out In SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, or SEQ ID NO:10; and (c) a nucleic acid that hybridizes to the nucleic acid of (a) or (b) under low stringency conditions, wherein the polypetide encoded by said nucleic acid has sesquiterpene synthase activity. [0087] A vector as used herein includes any recombinant vector including but not limited to viral vectors, bacteriophages and plasmkJs. [0088] Recombinant expression vectors containing a nucleic acid sequence of the invention can be prepared using well known methods. In one embodiment, the expression vectors include a cDNA sequence encoding the polypeptide operably linked to suitable transcriptional or translational regulatory nudeotide sequences, such as those derived from a mammalian, microbial, viral, plant, or insect gene. Examples of regulatory sequences indude transcriptional promoters, operators, or enhancers, mRNA ribosomal binding sites, and appropriate sequences which control transcription and translation initiation and termination. Nudeotide sequences are "operablv linked" when the regulatory sequence functionally relates to the cDNA sequence of the invention. Thus, a promoter nudeotide sequence is operably linked to a cDNA sequence if the promoter nudeotide sequence controls the transcription of the cDNA sequence. The ability to replicate In the desired host cells, usually conferred by an origin of replication, and a selection gene by which transformants are identified can additionally be incorporated into the expression vector.

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[0089] In addition, sequences encoding appropriate signal peptides that are not naturally associated with the polypeptides of the invention can be incorporated into expression vectors. For example, a DNA sequence for a signal peptide (secretory leader) can be fused in-frame to a nucieotide sequence of the invention so that the potypeptides of the invention is initially translated as a fusion protein comprising the signal peptide. A signal peptide that is functional in the intended host cells enhances extracellular secretion of the expressed polypeptide. The signal peptide can be cleaved from the polypeptide upon secretion from the cell. Alternatively, the signal peptide may be suitable to direct the pofypeptide to an intracellular location, for example into specific a cell compartment or organell.
[0090] Fusions of additional peptide sequences at the amino and carboxyl terminal ends of the potypeptides of the invention can be used to enhance expression of the polypeptfdes, aid in the purification of the protein or improve the enzymatic activity of the polypeptide in a desired environment or expression system, for example.
[0091] In one embodiment, the invention includes a host cell comprising a nucleic acid of the invention. Another embodiment of the invention is a method of making a recombinant host cell comprising introducing the vectors of the invention, into a host cell. In a further embodiment, a method of producing a polypeptide comprising cufturing the host cells of the invention under conditions to produce the polypeptide is contemplated. In one embodiment the polypeptide is recovered. The methods of invention include methods of making at least one sesqufterpene synthase of the invention comprising culturing a host cell comprising a nucleic acid of the invention, and recovering the sesqufterpene synthase accumulated. f0092] Suitable host cells for expression of polypeptides of the invention include prokaryotes, yeast or higher eukaryotic cells. For example, the suitable host cell is a plant cell. Appropriate cloning and expression vectors for use with bacterial, fungal, yeast, and mammalian cellular hosts are described, for example, in Pouwels et al.. Cloning Vectors: A Laboratory

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Manual, Elsevier, New York, (1985). Cell-free translation systems could also be employed to produce the disclosed pofypeptides using RNAs derived from DNA constructs disclosed herein.
[0093] Prokaryotes include gram negative or gram positive organisms, for example, E. coli or Bacilli. Suitable prokaryotic host cells for transformation include, for example, E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella typhimurium, and various other species within the genera Pseudomonas, Streptomyces, and Staphylococcus. In a prokaryotic host cell, such as E. coli, the polypeptkJes can include a N-termlnal methionine residue to facilitate expression of the recombinant polypeptide in the prokaryotic host cell. The N-terminal methionine can be cleaved from the expressed recombinant polypeptide. [0094] Examples of useful expression vectors for prokaryotic host cells include those derived from commercially available plasmids such as the cloning vector pET plasmids (Novagen, Madison, Wl, USA) or yet pBR322 (ATCC 37017). pBR322 contains genes for ampirillin and tetracycline resistance and thus provides simple means for identifying transformed cells. To construct an expression vector using pBR322, an appropriate promoter and a DNA sequence encoding one or more of the polypeptides of the invention are inserted into the pBR322 vector. Other commercially available vectors include, for example, pKK223-3 (Pharmacia Fine Chemicals, Uppsala, Sweden) and pGEM-1 (Promega Biotec, Madison, Wl, USA). Other commercially available vectors include those that are specifically designed for the expression of proteins; these would include pMAL-p2 and pMAL-c2 vectors that are used for the expression of proteins fused to maltose binding protein (New England Biolabs, Beverly, MA, USA). [0095] Promoter sequences commonly used for recombinant prokaryotic host cell expression vectors Include bacteriophage T7 promoter (Studier F.W. and Moffatt BA, J. Mob Blol. 189:113,1986), /Mactamase (penldllinase), lactose promoter system (Chang et al., Nature 275:615,1978; and Goeddel et al., Nature 281:544,1979), tryptophan (tip) promoter system (Goeddel et aJ., Nucl. Acids Res. 8:4057,1980; and EP-A-36776), and tec promoter (Maniatis,

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MoLecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, p. 412,1982). A particularly useful prokaryotic host cell expression system employs a phage X PL promoter and a cl857ts thermolabile repressor sequence. Plasmid vectors available from the American Type Culture Collection ("ATCC"), which incorporate derivatives of the PL promoter, include plasmid pHUB2 (resident in E. coli strain JMB9 (ATCC 37092)) and pPLc28 (resident in E. coli RR1 (ATCC 53082)).
[00961 Potypeptides of the invention can also be expressed in yeast host ceils, preferably from the Saccharomyces genus (e.g., S. cerevisiae). Other genera of yeast, such as Pichla or Kluyveromyces (e.g. K. lactis), can also be employed. Yeast vectors will often contain an origin of replication sequence from a 2// yeast plasmid, an autonomously replicating sequence (ARS), a promoter region, sequences for potyadenylation, sequences for transcription termination, and a selectable marker gene. Suitable promoter sequences for yeast vectors include, among others, promoters for metallothionine, 3-phosphoglycerate kinase (Hitzeman et al., J. Biol. Chem. 255:2073,1980), or other glycolytic enzymes (Hess et al., J. Adv. Enzyme Reg. 7:149,1968; and Holland et al., Biochem. 17:4900,1978), such as enolase, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, hexokinase, pyruvate decarboxylase, phosphofructokinase, glucose-6-phosphate isomerase, 3-phosphoglycerate mutase, pyruvate kinase, triosephosphate isomerase, phosphoglucose isomerase, and glucokinase. Other suitable vectors and promoters for use in yeast expression are further described in Hitzeman, EPA-73,657 or in Fleer et al., Gene, 107:285-195 (1991); and van den Berg et al., Bio/Technology, 8:135-139 (1990). Another alternative is the glucose-repressible ADH2 promoter described by Russell et al. (J. Biol. Chem. 258:2674,1982) and Beier et al. (Nature 300:724,1982). Shuttle vectors replicable In both yeast and E. coli can be constructed by inserting DNA sequences from pBR322 for selection and replication in E. coli (Ampr gene and origin of replication) into the above-described yeast vectors.

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[0097] One embodiment of the invention is a non-human organism modified to harbor a nudelc acid of the invention. The non-human organism and/or host cell may be modified by any methods known in the art for gene transfer including, for example, the use of deliver devices such as lipids and viral vectors, naked DNA, electroporation, chemical methods and particle-mediated gene transfer. In one embodiment, the non-human organism is a plant, insect or microorganism.
[0098] For example. In one embodiment the invention provides a method of making at least one sesquiterpene synthase comprising culturing a host modified to contain at least one nudeic acid under conditions conducive to the production of said at least one sesquiterpene synthase wherein said at least one nudeic acid is chosen from (a) a nudeic acid comprising the nudeotide sequence substantially as set out in SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5; (b) a nudeic acid encoding the polypeptide substantially set out in SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, or SEQ ID NO:5; and (c) a nudeic acid that hybridizes to the nudeic acid of (a) or (b) under low stringency conditions, wherein the polypetide encoded by said nudeic acid has sesquiterpene synthase activity. f00991 In a further embodiment, the host is a plant such as tobacco or patchouli, animal or microorganism also induding but not limited to bacterial cells, yeast cells, plant cells, and animal cells. As used herein, plant cells and animals cells indude the use of plants and animals as a host For example, in some embodiments of the invention, expression is in a genetically modified non-human organism.
[00100] For example, mammalian or insect host cell culture systems are employed to express recombinant polypeptides of the invention. Such host cell culture systems, as well as methods for introdudng DNA into mammalian or incesct cells are known to the skilled person.

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[00101] Similarty, transcriptional and translational control sequences for mammalian host cell expression vectors have been reported extensively. They can be excised from viral genomes, for example. [00102] There are several methods known in the art for the creation of transgenic plants. These include, but are not limited to: electroporation of plant protoplasts, liposome-mediated transformation, agrobacterium-mediated transformation, polyethyiene-glycohnediated transformation, microinjection of plant cells, and transformation using viruses. In one embodiment, direct gene transfer by particle bombardment is utilized. In another embodiment, agrobacterium-mediated transformation is utilized.
[00103] Direct gene transfer by particle bombardment provides an example for transforming plant tissue. In this technique a particle, or mlcroprojectlle, coated with DNA Is shot through the physical barriers of the cell. Particle bombardment can be used to introduce DNA into any target tissue that is penetrable by DNA coated particles, but for stable transformation, it is imperative that regenerate cells be used. Typically, the particles are made of gold or tungsten. The particles are coated with DNA using either CaCI2 or ethanol precipitation methods which are commonly known in the art [00104] DNA coated particles are shot out of a particle gun. A suitable particle gun can be purchased from Bio-Rad Laboratories (Hercules, CA). Particle penetration is controlled by varying parameters such as the intensity of the explosive burst, the size of the particles, or the distance particles must travel to reach the target tissue.
[00105] The DNA used for coating the particles may comprise an expression cassette suitable for driving the expression of the gene of interest that will comprise a promoter operably linked to the gene of interest [001061 Methods for performing direct gene transfer by partide bombardment are disclosed in U-.S. Patent 5,990,387 to Tomes et al. _ .. [00107] In one embodiment, the cDNAs of the Invention may be expressed in such a way as to produce either sense or antisense RNA. Antisense RNA is RNA that has a sequence which is the reverse complement of the mRNA

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(sense RNA) encoded by a gene. A vector that will drive the expression of antisense RNA is one in which the cDNA is placed in "reverse orientation" with respect to the promoter such that the non-coding strand (rather than the coding strand) is transcribed. The expression of antisense RNA can be used to down-modulate the expression of the protein encoded by the mRNA to which the antisense RNA is complementary. Vectors producing antisense RNA's could be used to make transgenic plants, as described above. [00108] In one embodiment, transfected DNA is integrated into a chromosome of a non-human organism such that a stable recombinant systems results. Any chromosomal integration method known in the art may be used in the practice of the invention, including but not limited to, recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE), viral site specific chromosomal insertion, adenovirus, and pronudear injection. [00109] A further embodiment of the invention includes methods of making terpenoids and sesqutterpene compounds using the nucleotides and polypeptides of the invention. Examples include methods of making at least one terpenoid comprising contacting at least one acyclic pyrophosphate terpene precursor with at least one polypeptide encoded by the nucleic acid according to the invention. Preferably, the nucleic acid is chosen from (a) a nucleic acid comprising the nudeotide sequence substantially as set out in SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:4, orSEQ ID NO:5; (b) a nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide substantially set out in SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, or SEQ ID NO:10; and (c) a nucleic acid that hybridizes to the nucleic acid of (a) or (b) under low stringency conditions, wherein the polypetide encoded by said nucleic acid has sesquiterpene synthase activity, and isolating at least one terpenoid produced. Another example is a method of making at least one terpenoid comprising contacting-at least one acyclic pyrophosphate terpene precursor with at least one polypeptide substantially set out in SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, or SEQ ID NO:10 and isolating at least one terpenoid produced.

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[00110] As used herein an acyclic pyrophosphate terpene precursor Is any acyclic pryrophosphate compound that is a precursor to the.production of at least one terpene Including but not limited to geranyl-pyrophosphate (GPP), famesyl-pyrophosphate (FPP) and geranylgeranyl-pyrophosphate (GGPP). [00111] In one embodiment, the at least one terpenold is chosen from sesqufterpenes. In one embodiment, the at least one acyclic pyrophosphate terpene precursor is famesyl-pyrophosphate. In a further embodiment the at least one sesqulterpenes is chosen from patchoulol, y-curcumene and other germacrane-type sesqulterpenes shown in instant Figures 1-12. The terpenoids of the invention may be Isolated by any method used in the art including but not limited to chromatography, extraction and distillation. [00112] In one embodiment, the distribution of products or the actual products formed may be altered by varying the pH at which the synthase contacts the acyclic pyrophosphate terpene precursor, such as, for example, famesyl-pyrophosphate. In one embodiment, the pH is 7. In a further embodiment the pH is less than 7, such as, for example, 6, 5,4, and 3. [00113] Also within the practice of the invention is an organism (e.g.,. micro-organism or plant) that is used to construct a platform for high level production of a substrate of sesqurterpene synthases (e.g., FPP) and the introduction of a nucleic acid of the invention into the organism. For example, at least one nucleic acid of the invention that encodes a sesquiterpene synthase is incorporated into a non-human organism that produces FPP thereby effecting conversion of FPP to a sesqurterpene, and the subsequent metabolic production of the sesquiterpene. In one embodiment, this results in a platform for the high level production of sesqurterpenes. [00114] In one embodiment, the nucleic acids of the invention are used to create other nudeic acids coding for sesqurterpene synthases. For example, the invention provides for a method of identifying a sesquiterpene synthases comprising constructing a DNA library using the nudeic acids of the invention, screening the library for nudeic acids which encode for at least one sesquiterpene synthase. The DNA library using the nudeic acids of the

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invention may be constructed by any process known in the art where DNA sequences are created using the nucleic acids of the invention as a starting point, including but not limited to DNA suffling. In such a method, the library may be screened for sesquiterpene synthases using a functional assay to find a target nucleic acid that encodes a sesquiterpene synthase. The activity of a sesquiterpene synthase may be analyzed using, for example, the methods described herein. In one embodiment, high through put screening is utilized to analyze the activity of the encoded polypeptides. [00115] As used herein a "nucleotide probe" is defined as an oligonudeotide or polynucleotide capable of binding to a target nucleic acid of complementary sequence through one or more types of chemical bonds, through complementary base pairing, or through hydrogen bond formation. As described above, the oligonudeotide probe may indude natural (ie. A, G, C, orT) or modified bases (7-deazaguanosine, inosine, etc.). In addition, bases in a nudeotide probe may be joined by a linkage other than a phosphodiester bond, so long as it does not prevent hybridization. Thus, oligonudeotide probes may have constituent bases joined by peptide bonds rather than phosphodiester linkages.
[00116] A "target nudelc acid* herein refers to a nudeic acid to which the nudeotide probe or molecule can specifically hybridize. The probe is designed to determine the presence or absence of the target nudeic acid, and the amount of target nudeic acid. The target nudeic acid has a sequence that is complementary to the nucleic acid sequence of the corresponding probe directed to the target. As recognized by one of skill in the art, the probe may also contain additional nudejc acids or other moieties, such as labels, which may not specifically hybridize to the target. The term target nudeic acid may refer to the specific nudeotide sequence of a larger nudeic acid to which the probeis directed or to the overall sequence (e.g., gene or mRNA). One skilled in the art will recognize the full utility under various conditions. [00117] Other than in the operating example, or where otherwise indicated, all numbers expressing quantities of ingredients, reaction conditions, and so

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forth used in the specification and claims are to be understood as being modified in all instances by the term "about." Accordingly, unless indicated to the contrary, the numerical parameters set forth In the specification and claims are approximations that may vary depending upon the desired properties sought to be obtained by the present invention. At the very least, and not as an attempt to limit the application of the doctrine of equivalents to the scope of the claims, each numerical parameter should be construed in light of the number of significant digits and ordinary rounding approaches. [00118] Notwithstanding that the numerical ranges and parameters setting forth the broad scope of the invention are approximations, the numerical values set forth in the specific examples are reported as precisely as possible. Any numerical value, however, inherently contains certain errors necessarily resulting from the standard deviation found in their respective testing measurements. The following examples are intended to illustrate the invention without limiting the scope as a result. The percentages are given on a weight basis.
[00119] Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although any methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can also be used in the practice of the present invention, exemplary methods and materials are described for illustrative purposes. Ail publications mentioned in this application are incorporated by reference to disclose and describe the methods and/or materials In connection with which the publications are cited. [00120] Additionally, the publications discussed herein are provided solely for their disclosure prior to the filing date of the present application. Nothing herein is to be construed as an admission that the present invention is not entitled to antedate such publication by virtue of prior Invention; Further, the dates of publication provided may be different from the actual publication dates, which may need to be independently confirmed.

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[00121] It must be noted that as used herein and in the appended claims, the singular forms "a", "and", and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to "a terpene" includes a plurality of such terpenes and reference to "a vector" includes reference to one or more vectors and equivalents thereof known to those skilled in the art
[00122] Methods, techniques, and/or protocols (collectively "methods") that can be used in the practice of the invention are not limited to the particular examples of these procedures cited throughout the specification but embrace any procedure known in the art for the same purpose. For example, with respect to methods for the expression of DNA sequences in host cells, the present invention is not limited to the protocols cited herein, but includes any method available in the art to the skilled artisan to express DNA sequences in host cells.
[00123] The following examples are intended to illustrate the invention without limiting the scope as a result.
EXAMPLES
Material
[00124] Pogostemon Cablin (patchouli) plants used in the present examples were obtained from a local producer, Le Jardin des Senteurs (Neuchdtei, Switzerland), and were grown and propagated by cuttings in a green house in the Centre d'Horticulture de Lullier (Jussy, Switzerland). Other available sources of patchouli plants can be used in the following examples. GC-MS analysis of leaves from the plants showed a high patchoulol content In all size leaves. Total RNA and mRNA were extracted from a blend of different size leaves freshly collected from the patchouli plants.

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Example 1: Isolation of total RNA and mRNA
[00125] Leaves were collected from the patchouli plants, Immediately frozen in liquid nitrogen and grounded using a mortar and pestle. Total RNA was extracted using the Concert™ Plant RNA Reagent from Invitrogen following the manufacturer's instructions. Typically, an average of 200 \xg total RNA was obtained from 1 g of grounded tissue. The concentration of RNA was estimated from the OD at 260 nm. The integrity of the RNA was evaluated on an agarose gel by verifying the integrity of the ribosomic RNA bands. The mRNA was purified from the total RNA by oligodT-cellulose affinity chromatography using the FastTrack* 2.0 mRNA isolation Kit (Invftrogen) following the manufacturer's Instructions.
Example 2: Reverse Transcription (RT)-PCR
[00126] RT-PCR was performed using the Qiagen OneStep RT-PCR Kit and an Eppendorf Mastercycler Gradient thermal cycler. Typical reaction mixtures contain 10 pJ 5X Qiagen OneStep RT-PCR buffer, 400 pM each dNTP, 400 nM each primer, 2 pi Qiagen OneStep RT-PCR Enzyme Mix, 1 |jtf RNasin® Ribonuclease Inhibitor (Promega Co.) and 1 fig total RNA in a final volume of 50 pi. The thermal cycler conditions were: 30 min at 50°C (reverse transcription); 15 min at 95°C (DNA polymerase activation); 40 cycles of 45 sec at 94°C, 10 sec at 42°C and 45 sec at 72°C; and finally 10 min at 72°C. [00127] The sizes of the PCR products were evaluated on a 1 % agarose gel. The bands corresponding to the expected size were excised from the gel, purified using the QIAquick® Gel Extraction KK (Qiagen) and cloned in the pCR*2.1-TOPO vector using the TOPO TA cloning Kit (Invitrogen). Inserted DNA fragments were then subject to DNA sequencing and the sequence compared against the GenBank non-redundant protein database (NCBI) using the BLASTX algorithm (Attschul, S.F., Glsh, W.. Miller, W., Myers, E.W., and

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Lipman, DJ. (1990) Basic local alignment search tool. J. Mol. Blol. 215, 403-410).
Example 3: 3'- and 5'-RACE
[00128] For 3' and 5' Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends (RACE), adaptor ligated double stranded cDNA was prepared from the patchouli leaf mRNA using the Marathon™ cDNA Amplification Kit (Clontech) following the manufacturer's protocol. The 3'- or 5'-ends of the specific cDNAs were amplified wfth Advantage* 2 Polymerase Mix using a combination of gene-and adaptor-specific oligonucleotides. Typical RACE reaction mixtures contain, in a final volume of 50 pi, 5 pi 10X PCR Reaction Buffer (Clontech), 200 nM each dNTP, 1 pi Advantage* 2 Polymerase Mix, 200 pM adaptor-specific primer (Clontech), 200 pM gene-specific primer and 5 pi of 50 to 250 fold diluted cDNA. Amplification was performed on an Eppendorf Mastercycler Gradient thermal cycler. The thermal Cycling conditions were as follows: 1 min at 94°C, 5 cycles of 30 sec at 94°C and 2 to 4 min at 72°C, 5 cycles of 30 sec at 94°C and 2 to 4 min at 70°C, 20 cycles of 20 sec at 94°C and 2 to 4 min at 68°C. A second round of amplification using a nested adaptor-specific primer (Clontench) and a nested gene-specific primer was routinely performed. The amplification products were evaluated, sub-cloned, and the sequence analyzed as described above.
[00129] The sizes of the PCR products were evaluated on a 1 % agarose gel. The bands corresponding to the expected size were excised from the gel, purified using the QIAquick® Gel Extraction Kit (Qiagen) and cloned in the pCR*2.1-TOPO vector using the TOPO TA cloning Kit (Invitrogen). Inserted DNA fragments were then subject to DNA sequencing. The sequence were first compared against the GenBank non-redundant protein database (NCBI) using the BLASTX algorithm (Altschul, S.F., Gish, W., Miller, W., Myers, E.W., and Lipman, DJ. (1990) Basic local alignment search tool. J. Mol. Biol. 215,

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403-410) and then compared against the Initial DNA sequence to ensure that significant DNA sequence overlap was obtained.
Example 4: Construction of expression plasmids
[00130] For functional expression of the sesquiterpene synthases, the cDNA were sub-cloned in the pET11a (Novagen), the pET101 (Invitrogen) or the pET102 (Invitrogen) expression plasmids. In these plasmids the cDNA is placed downstream of the T7 promoter controlling the expression of the recombinant protein in E. coli cells. After transformation of E coli cells, the expression of the protein may be induced by isopropyi-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG).
[00131] The ligations of inserts in pET11 a required the use of the Nde\ and Bamhft restriction endonucleases. Inserts were amplified by PCR using as primers oligonucleotides designed to introduce the appropriate restriction enzyme recognition sites (A/del and BamH\) immediately before the start codon and after the stop codon. The amplified cDNAs were purified, digested with the appropriate restriction enzymes and Ikjated into pET11a plasmkj digested with the same enzymes. Constructs were verified by digestion and DNA sequencing.
[00132] For the ligation of PafTpsA into pET11 a, the cDNA was amplified by PCR using the primers PatTpsA Nde and PatTpsA Bam (Table 1) to introduce an A/del restriction site immediately before the start codon and a SamHI restriction site immediately after the stop codon.
[00133] The pET101 and pET102 plasmids used with the pET Directional TOPO* Expression Kit (Invitrogen) allow the directional cloning of PCR products without need of introducing restriction sites (useful when the cDNA contains, in the coding region, the restriction sites required for the sub-cloning). For the ligation of cDNAs in these two plasmids, inserts were amplified by PCR using as primers, ollgonudeotides designed to amplify the cDNAs including the start and stop codons. Ligations were performed

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according to the manufacturer protocol. Constructs were verified by DNA sequencing.
[00134] For Ifgation of PatTpsA in pET102, the cDNA was amplified using the primers PatTpsA topo and PatTpsA Stop (Table 1). For the ligation of PatTpsBF2 into pET101 and pET102, the cDNA was amplified by PCR using the primers PatTpsBF2.1 topo and PatTpsBF2.1 stop (Table 1). For amplification of PatTpsCF2 for ligation in pET101, the primers PatTpsCF2 topo and PatTpsCF2 stop were used (Table 1). For amplification of PaTpsB15 and PatTpsi 77 for ligation in pET101, the primer pairs PatTpsB15 topo-PatTpsB15 stop and PatTpsi 77 topo-PatTps177 stop were respectively used. [00135] All amplifications of cDNA for expression were performed using the Pfu DNA polymerase (Promega), in a final volume of 50 yl containing 5^1 of Pfu DNA polymerase 10X buffer, 200 \iM each dNTP, 0.4 \M each forward and reverse primer, 2.9 units Pfu DNA polymerase and 5 |J of 100-fold diluted cDNA (prepared as described herein using the Marathon™ cDNA Amplification Kit (Clontech)). The themnal cycling conditions were as follows: 2 min at 95°C; 25 cycles of 30 sec at 95°C, 30 sec at 52°C and 4 min at 72°C; and 10 min at 72°C. The PCR products were purified on an agarose gel and eluted using the QIAquick® Gel Extraction Kit (Qiagen).
Example 5: Sesqufterpene synthases expression
[00136] In a standard protein expression experiment, the expression plasmids containing the sesqulterpene synthase cDNAs as well as the empty pJasmid (for negative control) were transformed Into the BL21 (DE3) or the BL21 Star™ (DE3) E. coll cells (Novagen). Single colonies of transformed £. co//were used to inoculate 5 ml LB medium. After 5 to 6 hours of incubation at 37CC, the cultures were transferred to a 20°C incubator and left 1 hour for equilibration. Expression of the protein was then induced by addition of 0.5 mM IPTG and the culture Incubated over-night at 20°C. The next day, the cells were collected by centrifugation, resuspended in 0.5 ml Extraction Buffer

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(50 mM MOPSO pH 7,5 mM DTT, 10% glycerol) and sonicated 3 times 30 s. The cell debris were sedimented by centrifugation 30 min at 18,000g and the supernatant containing the soluble proteins was recovered. The expression of the sesquiterpene synthases was evaluated by separation of the protein extract on a SDS-PAGE, staining with coomassie blue and comparison to protein extract obtained from cells transformed with the empty plasmkJ.
Example 6: Enzyme assay
[00137] The enzymatic assays were performed in Teflon sealed glass tubes using 50 to 100 \il of protein extract in a final volume of 1 ml_ Extraction Buffer supplemented with 15 mM MgCI2 and 100 to 250 \iM FPP (Sigma). The medium was overlaid with 1 ml pentane and the tubes incubated over-night at 30°C. The pentane phase, containing the sesquiterpenes, was recovered and the medium extract with a second volume of pentane. The combined pentane fractions were concentrated under nitrogen and analyzed by Gas Chromatography on a on a Hewlett-Packard 6890 Series GC system using a 0.25 mm inner diameter by 30 m SPB-1 (Supelco) capillary column. The carrier gas was He at constant flow of 1.6 ml/min. Injection was done in splitless mode with the injector set at 200°C and the oven programmed from 100°C (0 min hold) at 7.5°C/min to 200°C (0 min hold) followed by 20°C/min to 280°C (2 min hold). Detection was made with a flame Jonization detector. Compound identification was based on retention time identity with authentic standards when available. For confirmation of the products identities, samples were analyzed by combined capillary GC-MS using a Hewlett-Packard 6890 GC-quadrupole mass selective detector system, equipped with a 0.25 mm inner diameter by 30 m SPB-1 (Supelco) capillary column. The oven was programmed from 806C (0 min hold) to 280°C at 7°C at a constant flow of 1.5 ml/min He. The spectra were recorded at 70eV with an electron multiplier voltage of 2200V. Retention time of the enzyme products were compared to the retention time of authentic standard, or the Kovats retention index was

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calculated and compared to published data (Joulain, D., and KOnlg, WA The Adas of Spectral Data of Sesquiterpene Hydrocarbons, EB Verlag, Hamburg, 1998).
Example 7: Isolating Sesqufterpene Synthase cDNA using RT-PCR
[00138] The deduced amino-acid sequences of plant sesquiterpene synthases were aligned to identify conserved regions and design plant sesquiterpene synthase-spedfic oligonudeotides. In order to obtain better sequence homology, the sequences were separated into two groups (Figure 2). The first group contained the sequences of the Germacrene C synthase from Lycopersfcon esculentum cv. VFNT cherry (Colby, S.M., et al. (1998) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.SA 95 (5), 2216-2221.), the ^-^famesene synthase from Mentha xpiperita (Crock, J., et al. (1997) Proc. Nati. Acad. Sd. U.SA 94 (24), 12833-12838), the £selinene synthase from Abies grandis (Steele, C.L., et al. (1998) J. Blol. Chem. 273 (4), 2078-2089), a sesquiterpene synthase from Citrus junos (GenBank accession no. AF288465) the 5-epAaristolochene synthases from Nlcotlana tabacum (Facchini, P.J. and Chappell, J. (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.SA 89, 11088-11092) and from Capsicum annuum (Back, K., et al. (1998) Plant Cell Physiol. 39 (9), 899-904), the vetisplradiene synthases from Solanum tuberosum and from Hyoscyamus muticus (Back, K. and Chappell, J. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270 (13), 7375-7381). The second group contained sequences of the (+>£cadinene synthases from Gossypium arboreum (Chen, X.Y., et al. (1995) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 324 (2), 255-266), the amorpha-4,11-diene synthase (Mercke, P., et al. (2000) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 381 (2), 173-180) and the epAcedrol synthase (Mercke, P., et al. (1999) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 369 (2), 213-222) from Artemisia annua and the y-humulene ~ ¦ synthase from Abies grandis (Steele, C.L., et al. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273 (4), 2078-2089). The highest sequence homology was found in the central part of the sequences. Three regions containing sufficiently conserved amino-aclds

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were selected and degenerated oligonucieotides specific for these regions were designed (i.e. four forward (TpsVFI, TpsVF2, TpsCFI, TpCF2) and two reverse primers (TpsVR3, TpsCR3) were deduced) (Figure 2). [00139] The total RNA from patchouli leaves was used to perform RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) using several combinations of these oligonucieotides. Amplification using the primer combination TpsCFI and TpsCR3 gave an amplicon (named Pat5) with the expected size (180 bp). This fragment was purified and reampllfied with the same primers. The 180 bp amplicon (Pat5-10) was purified, sub-cloned in the pCR*2.1-TOPO plasmid (Invltrogen), and five clones were sequenced. Among them, one clone, Pat5-10-4, had sesquiterpene synthases sequence similarities and was named PafTpsA.
[00140] In a similar way, the Pat5 fragment was reamplified with the primers TpsCF2 and TpsCR3. This provided three clones (120 bp insert), Pat8-1-1, Pat8-1-6 and Pat8-1-7 having sequence similarities with sesquiterpene synthases. Pat8-1-6 and Pat8-1-7 had the same DNA sequenced as the previously obtained clone Pat5-10-4 (PatTpsA). Pat8-1-1 had a different DNA sequence and was named PatTpsC.
[00141] In an other experiment, using the primers TpsVF2 and TpsCR3, a DNA fragment of 120 bp (Pat8-10-2) was obtained, which showed sequence similarities with sesquiterpene synthases and significant differences with the two previously obtained clones. This clone was named PatTpsB.
Example 8: Isolating Sesquiterpene Synthases cDNA using 573'-RACE
[00142] To isolate the full- length sequences of the sesquiterpene synthases, a 5'/3'-RACE (Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends) approach was first used. Forward primer specific for the three identified sesquiterpene synthases sequences were designed (Table 1) and 3'RACE was performed. Fragments with the expected size were obtained for all three clones.

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Sequence analysis Identified the 3' half cDNA from three different clones that were named PatA-14, PatB-15 and PatC-16 (Figure 3). [00143] In order to obtain the other half (5'end) of this clones, reverse primers were designed based on these three sequences (two primers for each clone; Table 1). 5'RACE was performed and the 5'end half-length of three different sesquiterpene synthases were obtained: PatAF2, PatBF2 and PatCF2 (Figure 4). Sequence comparison of the 3'RACE products and the 5'RACE products, showed that there was a sequence overlap (54 bp) with 100% Identity between PatA-14 and PatAF2, thus confirming that the full-length sequence of PatTpsA had been obtained (Figure 5). However, for the four other RACE products there was no overlap, meaning that the two 3'RACE products and the two 5'RACE products were from different clones. [00144] At this stage, we had one fulWength cDNA (PatTpsA), two 3'end half cDNAs and two 5'end half cDNA. In order to obtain the full-length cDNA of these last clones we designed specific primers. First, forward primers specific for PatBF2 and PatCF2 were designed (Table 1) and 3'RACE was performed. The sequences of the 3'RACE products obtained were analyzed and showed sesquiterpene synthase similarities. Comparison with PatBF2 and PatCF2 revealed sufficient sequence overlap to conclude that the full-length sequence of the cDNA for the two sesquiterpene synthases named PafTpsBF2 and PatTpsCF2 had been obtained (Figure 5). In the same way, new reverse primers specific for PatB-15 and PatC-16 were designed (Table 1). The regions In the sequences with the most differences with the previously obtained clones were chosen in order to favor the amplification of PatB-15 and PatC-16 cDNAs. The 5'RACE worked for PatB-15 and thus the full-length cDNA sequence of PatTpsB-15 was obtained (Figure 5). For PatC-16, the 5'RACE did not produce the expected DMA fragment and this done remains uncompleted:
[00145] In order to Isolate new cDNAs encoding for sesquiterpene synthases, oligonudeotides were designed based on the DNA sequence of the four sesquiterpene synthase encoding cDNAs already isolated from

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patchouli leaves. The DNA sequence from PatTpsA, PatTpsBF2, PatTpsCF2 and PatTpsB15 were aligned and conserved regions were searched. Four regions were selected (Figure 6) and two forward and two reverse degenerated ollgonudeotide were designed (Table 1). This four "patchouli sesquiterpene synthases-specific" primers were used in PCR using as template cDNA prepared from patchouli leaf mRNA (Marathon Kit, Clontech). Analysis of the DNA sequence from different clones obtained by this approach showed that, as could be expected, most of them were fragments of the cDNA already isolated. But two clones, FID177 and FID178 (which were identical), were from a new sesquiterpene synthase. 3'RACE using the specific primers Pat177-5R1 and Pat177-5R2 (Table 1) and 5'RACE using the specific primers Pat177-3R1 and Pat177-3R2 (Table 1) gave the full-length sequence of this cDNA, which was named PatTps177.
[00146] An alignment of the amino acid sequence deduced from the five full-length and the one partial sesquiterpene synthase cDNA is shown in Figure 5. The alignment of the nucleotidic sequences of these cDNAs is shown in Figure 6, and the DNA and aminoacid sequences from the sesquiterpene synthases obtained in these experiments in shown in Figures 13to18.
Table 1: Name, sequence and description of oligonudeotides used in this work. SEQ ID NOS 49-88 are shown respectively in order of appearance in Table 1.
(V=A+C+G, D=A+T+G, B=T+C+G, H=A+T+C,W=A+T,S=C+G, K=T-K3, M=A+C, Y=C+T, R=A+G).


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Example 9: Heterologous expression and characterization of enzymatic activity
[00147] For the biochemical characterization of the sesquiterpene synthases for which the full-length cDNA was isolated, the cDNA was Ijgated into appropriate expression plasmids. This plasmid were used to transform E cott cells and after expression of the recombinant proteins, the E coli proteins

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were extracted and used to evaluate the biochemical conversion of FPP to sesquiterpene compounds (see Examples 5 and 6).
[00148] PatTpsA: The PatTpsA cDNA was ligated in the pET11 a expression plasmkJ (Examples 5 and 6). Heterologous expression in the commercially available E. co//strain BL21 (DE3) yielded only small amounts of functional soluble recombinant proteins and large amounts of insoluble proteins (sesquiterpene synthases are soluble proteins and the insoluble proteins reflect inactive proteins that precipitate as inclusion bodies). Several attempts were made to improve the fraction of soluble sesquiterpene synthase protein by slowing down the protein synthesis to facilitate the correct folding (low temperature of culture, low concentration of inducer). No significant improvement was observed.
[00149] PatTpsA was also ligated in the pET102 plasmid that allowed the expression of the sesquiterpene synthase as a fusion protein with a thioredoxin protein. Thioredoxin promotes the formation of disulfides bounds during protein folding. This type of fusion as been shown to improve the correct folding and solubilization of expressed proteins. The expression of PatTpsA using this system did not improve the expression of functional proteins.
[00150] Consequently, for PatTpsA the enzymatic activity found in the recombinant E. coll protein extract was low, but the biosynthesis of small amounts of sesquiterpenes was detected. GC-MS analysis and calculation of the retention index (Kl) allowed the identification of g-curcumene as the major sesquiterpene produced (Figure 7). Production of several minor sesquiterpenes can not be excluded, but because of the low activity they could not be Identified.
[00151] This constitutes the first report of cloning of a cDNA encoding for a g-curcumene synthase. g-curcumene was not detected in patchouli oil. It could be possible that this compound is present in very low concentration or that it is converted to other compounds.

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[00152] PatTpsBF2: The PatTpsBF2 cONA was ligated in pET101 plasmid (Example 4). After transformation of BL21 Star™ (DE3) E. coll cells (Invitrogen) and induction of the expression, only small amounts of soluble recombinant protein were detected. As for PatTpsA, expression using the pET102 plasmid (expression as fusion to the thforedoxjn protein) did not Improve the expression of functional proteins. Sesquiterpene synthase activity could be detected with crude protein extract from E. coll expressing the PatTpsBF2 protein (Figure 8). Only one sesquiterpene product, (-)-germacrene D, could be identified (confirmed by the mass spectrum and the retention Index). Germacrene D was never detected in patchouli oil and could be present as trace constituent or could be converted to another compound in the plants. A germacrene D synthase cDNA has previously been isolated from tomato (van der Hoeven, R.S., Monforte, A.J., Breeden D., Tanksley, S.D., and Steffens J.C. (2000) The Plan cell 12,2283-2294) but, when including all minor products, the overall product profile appears to be different
[00153] PatTpsCF2: the PafTpsCF2 cDNA was ligated in the pET101 plasmid and the BL21 Star™ (DE3) E coll cells were transformed with this construct. Relatively large amounts of recombinant protein were obtained and the sesquiterpene synthase activity was easily detected. After incubation with famesyl pyrophosphate, several sesquiterpenes could be separated by GC-MS (Figure 9). The major peak could be identified as f->/?-element. This compound is formed by thermal rearrangement (Cope rearrangement) of (+}-germacrene A In the hot injector of the GC. Thus PatTpsCF2 is a sesquiterpene synthase producing as main compound (+J-germacrene A. Other minor sesqufterpenes were also detected and some of them, i.e. 4,5-di-epJ-aristolochene, (->eremophi1ene and a-seiinene, were tentatively identified (Figure 9). C-J-^-element was detected as minor constituent in some patchouli oil analysis meaning that (+>germacrene A is present in the oil. Germacrene A is a sesqurterpene relatively ubiquitous in plant species. cDNAs encoding for germacrene synthases have been isolated from several plant species

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including Lettuce, Chicory and Goldenrod (Bennett, M.H., et al. (2002) Phytochem. 60,255-261; Bouwmeester, H.J., et al. (2002) Plant Physiol. 129 (1), 134-144; Prosser I, et al. (2002) Phytochem. 60, 691-702). [00154] PatTpsB15: The PatTpsBI 5 cDNA was ligated in the pET101 plasmid and the BL21 Star™ (DE3) E coli cells were transformed. Enzyme assays with crude E. coll proteins extracted after Induction of the expression of the recombinant sesquiterpene synthase, showed relatively good metabolization of FFP. Several sesquiterpenes were detected by GC-MS (Figure 10). The main product was identified (by mass spectrum and retention index) as (-)-germacrene D. d-element, (-)-b-element (the thermal rearrangement products of germacrene C and (+)-germacrene A respectively), b-ylangene, (E,E)-b-famesene and (E,E)-a-famesene could also be identified among the minor products formed by the recombinant PatTpsBI 5. At least eight other sesquiterpenes were produced but their structure could not be unambiguously determined. The PatTpsBI 5 sesquiterpene synthases has an activity similar to the activity of PatTpsBF2 with the main product formed being (-)-germacrene D. But when including all products formed, the catalytic activity of these two enzymes appears to be significantly different.
[00155] PatTps177: The PatTps177 cDNA was ligated in the pET101 plasmid, BL21 Star™ (DE3) E coli cells were transformed and expression of the recombinant sesquiterpene synthase was induced. Enzymatic assay using the crude protein extract and FPP as substrate showed that PafJps177 was the patchouloi synthase. The enzyme produced as main product (-)-patchoulol and at least 18 other sesquiterpenes (Figures 11 and 12). Most of the sesquiterpenes produced by the enzymes could be Identified by GC-MS and the amounts estimated by GC (flame ionizafon detection): (-)-patchoulol (39.1 %), b-patchoulene (2.1 %), (+)-germacrene A (detected as the thermal rearrangement product b-element) (1.6 %), trans-b-caryophyllene (4.5 %), a/p/)a-guaiene (14 %), seychellene (4 %), frans-b-famesene (3 %), alpha-humulene (1.1 %), a-patchoulene (8.9 %), (Z,E)-a-famesene (1.35 %), r

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patchoulene (2.5 %), (trans)-alpha-famesene (3 %) and a-bulnesene (8.6 %). All the sesqulterpene produced by the recombinant patchoulol synthase are found In patchouli oil analysis, in approximately the same proportions, except for the famesane sesqutterpenes. The product profile of the recombinant patchoulol synthase shows that one single sesqulterpene synthase is responsible for the production of the major and most characteristic sesqulterpenes found in patchouli plants.
Example 10: In vivo biosynthesis of Patchoulol
[00148] Bacteria use the DXP pathway to produce isoprenoids essential for functions such as tRNA prenylation, and biosynthesis of quinones and dolichols. Thus, in the E. co/i cells, FPP is present as and intermediate and at least part of the pool should be usable by sesquiterpene synthases expressed in these cells.
[00149] Experiments were performed using E co/i, to test the ability of the patchoulol synthase to synthesise, in vivo, sesqufterpenes from the endogenous FPP pool. Typical experiments for evaluation of in vivo sesquiterpene production are performed as follows. The expression plasmid containing the sesqufterpene synthase cDNA are transformed in BL21(DE3) E. co/i cells. Single colonies of transformed cells are used to inoculate 5 mL LB medium supplemented with the appropriate antibiotics. After 5 to 6 hours of incubation at 37°C, the culture were use to inoculate 100 ml TB medium supplemented with the appropriate antibiotics and the culture was incubated for 2 hours at 208C In a 250 mL shake flask. After 2 hours Incubation, expression of the protein was induced by the addition of 1 mM IPTG. The cultures were left 24 hours and were then directly extracted twice with one volume of pentane. The two solvent fractions were recovered, combined and concentrated to 0.5 mL prior to GC-MS analysis. In the in Wvo-sesqulterpene production assay, E. co// cells expressing the patchoulol synthase (as described in exemple 9) produced patchoulol. Patchoulol could be dearly

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detected by GC analysis of the culture extract, and no patchoulol was detected with cells transformed with the empty plasmld. The identity of the product could be confirmed by GC-MS, but the amount of sesquiterpene produced was relatively low and estimation of the quantities was not possible. [00150] This experiment have demonstrated that the patchoulol synthase is able to utilise endogenous FPP and produce patchoulol in vivo. The cDNA coding for the patchoulol synthase can thus be used to engineer organism for in vivo production of patchoulol.

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We claim:
1. An isolated nucleic acid, wherein the nucleotide sequence is at least
70% identical to SEQ ID NO:5 and wherein the polypeptide encoded by
said nucleic acid has patchoulol synthase activity.
2. The isolated nucleic acid as claimed in claim 1, wherein the nucleotide
sequence is identical to SEQ ID NO:5 and wherein the polypeptide
encoded by said nucleic acid has patchoulol synthase activity.
3. A method for preparing a variant, functional patchoulol synthase, the
method comprising the steps of

(a) selecting a nucleic acid of SEQ ID NO: 5,
(b) altering the selected nucleic acid sequence to obtain a population
of mutant nucleic acids, and,
(c) transforming host cells with the mutant nucleic acids to express
polypeptides, and,
(d) screening the polypeptides for a functional polypeptide having at
least one modified patchoulol synthase activity.
4. A polypeptide encoded by the nucleic acid as claimed in any of claims
1 or 2, or encoded by the nucleic acid obtained from the method of
claim 3.
5. The polypeptide as claimed in claim 4, wherein the amino acid
sequence is at least 80% identical to SEQ ID NO:10.
6. The polypeptide as claimed in claim 4, wherein the amino acid
sequence is identical to SEQ ID NO: 10.
7. A vector comprising the nucleic acid as claimed in any of claims 1 or 2.

8. A microbial host cell comprising the nucleic acid as claimed in any of
claims 1 or 2.
9. A microorganism modified to harbor the nucleic acid as claimed in any
of claims 1 or 2.
10. A method of making a recombinant microbial host cell comprising
introducing the vector as claimed in claim 7 into the host cell.
11. A method of making at least one patchoulol synthase comprising,
culturing a host modified to contain at least one nucleic acid sequence
under conditions conducive to the production of said at least one
patchoulol synthase, wherein said at least one nucleic acid is the
nucleic acid as claimed in any of claims 1 or 2.
12. A method of making patchoulol comprising
A) contacting farnesyl pyrophosphate with at least one polypeptide
encoded by the nucleic acid according to any of claims 1 or 2,
and
B) optionally, isolating the patchoulol produced in A).
13. The method as claimed in claim 12, wherein patchoulol is produced in
vivo in microbial host cell as claimed in claim 8 or in modified micro-
organism as claimed in claim 9.

Documents:

01350-kolnp-2006 abstract.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 assignment.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 claims.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 correspondence others-1.1.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 correspondence others.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 description (complete).pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 drawings.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 form-1.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 form-3.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 form-5.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 international publication.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 international search report.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 pct form.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006 priority document.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006-correspondence.pdf

01350-kolnp-2006-form-18.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-ABSTRACT 1.1.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-abstract 1.5.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-amande claims.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-ANNEXURE FORM 3.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-CANCELLED PAGES.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-CLAIMS 1.1.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-CORRESPONDENCE 1.1.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-CORRESPONDENCE 1.2.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-correspondence 1.5.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-correspondence-1.3.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-form 1 1.5.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-FORM 1.1.1.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-form 1.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-FORM 13.1.1.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-FORM 13.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-form 2 1.5.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-FORM 2.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-form 27.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-FORM 3 1.1.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-FORM 3.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-FORM-27.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-others-1.1.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-OTHERS.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-pa.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-PETITION UNDER RULE 137.pdf

1350-kolnp-2006-reply to examination report-1.1.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-REPLY TO EXAMINATION REPORT.pdf

1350-KOLNP-2006-SEQUENCE LISTING.pdf


Patent Number 245072
Indian Patent Application Number 1350/KOLNP/2006
PG Journal Number 01/2011
Publication Date 07-Jan-2011
Grant Date 30-Dec-2010
Date of Filing 19-May-2006
Name of Patentee FIRMENICH SA
Applicant Address 1 ROUTE DES JEUNES, P.O.BOX 239, 1211 GENEVA 8.
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 SCHALK MICHEL 195, ALLEE DES RESIDENCES DU SALEVE, 74160, COLLONGES-SOUS-SALEVE
PCT International Classification Number C12N 9/88
PCT International Application Number PCT/IB2004/003836
PCT International Filing date 2004-11-19
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 60/525,512 2003-11-26 U.S.A.