Patents granted to Monsanto

Monsanto Company has been granted three patents related to co-integrated vectors in Europe (EP) and in Australia (AU). These patents are:

  • directed to elements of a co-integrated plasmid and methods for transforming plants using co-integrated plasmids (EP 131 620 B1 and AU-B-559 562) and
  • directed to the elements of a co-integrated plasmid and the plasmids used to generate the co-integrated (EP 131 624 B1).

Specific Patent Information

Patent Number Title, Independent Claims and Summary of Claims Assignee
EP 131620 B1

  • Earliest priority – 17 January 1983
  • Filed – 16 January 1984
  • Granted – 21 August 1991
  • Expected expiry – 16 January 2004
Title – Genetically transformed plants

Claim 1
A method for transforming plant cell which comprises

  • contacting plant cells, which are susceptible to genetic transformation by Agrobacterium cells, with Agrobacterium tumefaciens cells containing a co-integrated Ti plasmid comprising a disarmed T-DNA region which comprises in sequence:

(i) a left Agrobacterium T-DNA border sequence,
(ii) a chimeric selectable marker gene which functions in plant cells comprising: (a) a promoter which functions in plant cells;
(b) a structural coding sequence encoding a neomycin phosphotransferase; and
(c) a 3í non-translated region encoding a polyadenylation signal, and (iii) a right Agrobacterium T-DNA border sequence.

Designated contracting States at the time of grant are: Austria (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), Belgium, Switzerland (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), Germany, France (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), United Kingdom (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), Sweden (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC)

The patents EP 131 620 B1 and AU-B-559 562 are both directed to methods for transforming plant cells. The patent EP 131 620 B1 claims transformation methods by contacting plant cells with Agrobacterium harboring a co-integrated plasmid. The AU-B-559 562 patent further specifies a series of steps to carry out such transformation.
In addition, both of the patents claim elements of the co-integrated plasmid used in the transformation process. One of the differences between them is that the EP 131 620 B1 limits the gene to be expressed in plants to a chimeric selectable marker gene that includes:

  • a promoter,
  • a sequence coding for neomycin phosphotransferase; and
  • a polyadenylation signal coding sequence.
Monsanto
AU-B 559562

  • Earliest priority – 17 January 1983
  • Filed – 16 January 1984
  • Granted – 12 March 1987
  • Patent expired – 14 August 2003
Title – Genetically transformed plants

Claim 1
A method of creating transformed plant cells, comprising the following steps:

(i) culturing a microorganism containing

  • a first plasmid containing:

(a) at least one first gene that is expressed in plant cells and
(b) at least one second gene which serves as a marker in a selected microorganism, and

  • a Ti second plasmid, under conditions which allow the first plasmid to recombine with the Ti second plasmid in the microorganism, thereby creating a third plasmid having at least one T-DNA border on each side of the first gene, said gene being located in said first plasmid between a region of homology from the T-region of the Ti plasmid and a T-DNA border;

(ii) selecting those microorganisms containing the third plasmid;
(iii) inserting the third plasmid, or a portion thereof, into plant cells; and
(iv) culturing the plant cells under conditions which allow a segment of DNA from the third plasmid to be inserted into the genome of the plant cells.

Claim 13
A method of transforming plant cells, comprising

  • inserting into the plant cells a co-integrated plasmid, or a portion thereof, which was formed by a single crossover event between a first plasmid and a Ti second plasmid, wherein the co-integrated plasmid contains a region comprising:

(i) a first T-DNA border;
(ii) a gene which expressed in plant cells; and
(iii) a second T-DNA border which is complementary to the first T-DNA border,
wherein the region does not contain any sequences which would render the plant cells incapable of being regenerated into morphologically normal plants.

Remarks on related patents of WO 1984/02920:

  • WO 1984/02920 entered national phase in Japan (JP (S)60/500795) and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (SU 1582990).
EP 131624 B1

  • Earliest priority – 17 January 1983
  • Filed – 16 January 1984
  • Granted – 16 September 1992
  • Expected expiry – 15 January 2004
Title – Plasmids for transforming plant cells

Claim1
A co-integrated plasmid for use in transforming plant cells, and produced by recombination by a single crossover event of:

A) a chimeric plasmid comprising a gene which functions in plants to express an encoded polypeptide, said plasmid comprising in sequence:

(i) a region of DNA which is homologous to T-DNA located near the left T-DNA border of a tumor-inducing plasmid of Agrobacterium and which is capable of causing in vivo recombination of the chimeric plasmid with said tumor-inducing plasmid of Agrobacterium by a single crossover event;
(ii) a gene comprising a promoter which functions in plant cells, a structural coding sequence and a 3í non-translated region encoding a polyadenylation signal, said promoter and polyadenylation signal being operably linked to said structural coding sequence; and
(iii) an Agrobacterium plasmid T-DNA right border sequence which enables the transfer and incorporation of T-DNA into the genome of a plant cell;
said chimeric plasmid containing no plant tumorigenic genes between and including the region (i), the gene (ii) and the border sequence (iii), and

B) a Ti plasmid capable of transferring the T-DNA region into the genome of a plant cell,

such that the co-integrated plasmid comprises a T-DNA region having the following elements in sequence:
1) a left T-DNA border sequence;
2) the gene (ii) of the chimeric plasmid;
3) at least one right T-DNA border sequence;
wherein said T-DNA border sequences enable the transfer of the T-DNA region into the genome of a plant cell, and wherein, between and including the left T-DNA border sequence, the gene (ii) and the right T-DNA border sequence or (if there is more than one right T-DNA border sequence) between the gene (ii) and the right T-DNA border sequence which is nearest to the left T-DNA border sequence, there are no genes which would render a transformed plant cell tumorous or incapable of regeneration into a morphologically normal plant, and there is no duplication of DNA sequences, which duplication could, through homologous recombination, result in loss of the gene (ii).

Designated contracting States at the time of grant are: Austria (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), Belgium, Switzerland (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), Germany, France (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), United Kingdom (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC), Sweden (patent lapsed as reported by INPADOC)

The patent EP 131 624 B1 claims elements of a chimeric plasmid that produce a co-integrated plasmid by recombination with a Ti plasmid. The chimeric plasmid comprises in order:

  1. a left-inside homology (LIH) region, which is naturally located near the left T-DNA border of a Ti plasmid
  2. a gene of interest with a promoter and a polyadenylation signal; and
  3. a right T-DNA border

The elements present in the T-region of the co-integrated plasmid are also part of the claims.

Remarks on related patents of WO1984/02919:

  • WO 1984/02919 entered national phase in Japan (JP (S)60/500438)

Note: Patent information on this page was last updated on 1 March 2006.