Patent application filed by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation

Technology overview

The US patent application described in this section is the most recent of a series of patent documents filed by a research team lead by Dr John Sanseverino and Dr Gary S. Sayler at the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  They have been studying the application of transgenic microorganisms that can detect and report the presence of particular environmental contaminants.  This particular application concerns a transgenic yeast cell (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) contaning Photorhabdus luminescens luxCDABE and a human chromosomal estrogen response element that detect estrogenic agents.  The related scientific publication of this technology is Sanseverino J et al. (2005).  Use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae BLYES expressing bacterial bioluminescence for rapid, sensitive detection of estrogenic compounds.  Appl Environ Microbiol. 71(8):4455-4460.

Details of the patent document

Patent or Publication no. Title, Independent Claims and Summary Assignee and licensing information
US 2006/8837

  • Earliest priority – 4 Apr 2002
  • Filed – 1 Aug 2005
  • Application pending
  • Expected expiry – not applicable
Title – Compositions and methods for detecting estrogenic agents in a sample

Claim 22
A yeast cell comprising:(a) a nucleic acid encoding LuxA and a nucleic acid encoding LuxB, the nucleic acid encoding LuxA and the nucleic acid encoding LuxB both being operatively linked to at least a first promoter and at least one estrogen response element; and
(b) at least one receptor capable of binding an estrogenic agent and the at least one estrogen response element.
Claim 32
A method for detecting the presence of an estrogenic agent in a sample, the method comprising:(a) providing a sample;
(b) providing at least one yeast cell comprising a nucleic acid encoding
LuxA and a nucleic acid encoding LuxB, the nucleic acid encoding LuxA and the nucleic acid encoding LuxB both being operatively linked to at least a first promoter and at least one estrogen response element, and at least one receptor capable of binding an estrogenic agent and the at least one estrogen response element;
(c) contacting the at least one cell with the sample, wherein the cell emits bioluminescence when the estrogenic agent is present; and
(d) analyzing the cell for bioluminescence.

The claims are generally drawn towards:

  • a yeast cell comprising LuxA and LuxB operably linked to a promoter and an estrogen response element (claim 22)
  • a method for detecting the presence of an estrogenic agent in a sample (claim 32)

Definitions extracted from the specification are:

  • Operably linked – with a second nucleic-acid sequence when the first nucleic-acid sequence is placed in a functional relationship with the second nucleic-acid sequence.
  • Promoter – any of a number of promoters suitable for use in the selected host cell may be employed.

Comments:

Claims 1-22 have been cancelled.

Since this is a published application and not a granted patent, currently there are no enforceable rights.

University of Tennessee Research Foundation

1534 WHITE AVENUE
SUITE 403
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE 37996
Ph: +1-865-974-1882

Email: vhunley@tennessee.edu

Remarks This US application has a continuation-in-part (US 2004/2148), which is still pending. Independent claim 1 of US 2004/2148 recites a eukaryotic cell comprising luxAluxBluxCluxD and luxE, which is broad in scope if it is granted as applied.

Search strategy

Search details
Date of search 02/05/2006
Database searched Patent Lens
Type of search Simple, stemming on
Collections searched AU-B, US-A, US-B, EP-B, WO
Search terms biosensor AND (Sayler in inventor)
Results 27
Comments Of the 27 results identified using these search terms, 4 results were identified as being of particular interest based on their abstracts and a review of their claims.