Patent Application filed by University of Leiden

Mobilisable vectors – Patent Application filed by University of Leiden

Specific Patent Information

Patent Number Title, Independent Claims and Summary of Claims Assignee
US 2003/87439 A1

  • Earliest priority – 1 March 2000
  • Filed – 3 September 2002
  • Application pending
Title – Transformation of eukaryotic cells by mobilizable plasmids

Claim 1
A method for transferring genetic material, which is not a typical T-DNA surrounded by Agrobacterium T-borders from an Agrobacteriumvirulence system, to a eukaryotic host cell, said method comprising:

  • providing said genetic material on a mobilizable plasmid capable of forming a relaxosome;
  • bringing said mobilizable plasmid into an Agrobacterium having at least the activity of the transfer genes of Agrobacterium not present on said mobilizable plasmid so that the necessary gene products providing the same or similar activity as a functional virB operon are also present; and
  • co-cultivating said Agrobacterium with the eukaryotic host cell.
Claim 11
A mobilizable plasmid comprising:

  • genetic material to be transferred into a eukaryotic cell by Agrobacterium transfer;
  • a functional oriT;
  • sequences encoding functional virD-like mobilization products;
  • virD4-like coupling factor; and
  • sequences encoding functional virB-like activity.

The independent claims of the present patent application recite:

  • a method for transferring material to a eukaryotic cell by:
    • using a mobilisable plasmid capable of forming a relaxosome;
    • placing the plasmid into Agrobacterium , which provides the same or similar functions of the virB operon; and
    • co-cultivating the Agrobacterium with the eukaryotic host.
  • a mobilisable plasmid for Agrobacterium -mediated transfer to an eukaryotic host comprising:
    • a functional oriT;
    • virD-like mobilization products;
    • virD4-like coupling factor; and
    • virB-like activities.

If the claims are granted as submitted, the resulting patent would provide protection for a broad spectrum of plasmids used for transformation via Agrobacterium. Binary and co-integrated vectors are based on the Ti-plasmid of Agrobacterium and the DNA transferred is always surrounded by T-DNA borders, while the plasmids of the present invention are derived from other bacterial sources, mainly bacteria from the family Enterobacteriaceae and do not use T-DNA borders for DNA transfer. Notice that the invention as filed is not limited to plants; all eukaryotic organisms may be encompassed by the claims in case of being granted as filed.

The structural and functional constraints on vir-like proteins are not disclosed- e.g., how much sequence difference/functional difference is tolerated for a protein to still be considered vir-like? The application merely repeats the claim language in the disclosure. The disclosure is also vague about the nature of gene products that would have activities “similar” to that of a functional virB operon though it indicates that homologues from other species are contemplated.

University of Leiden
  1. Priority application of WO 2001/64925 from Europe (EP 1130105 A1) is deemed to be withdrawn on 15 January 2003.
  2. National phase entry of WO 2001/64925 A1 in Europe (EP 1407031 A1) is pending.
  3. National phase entry of WO 2001/64925 A1 in Australia (AU 41271/01) and Canada (CA 2401909) are pending.

Note: Patent information on this page was last updated on 2 March 2006.