Approximate scope of protection

The claimed isolated nucleotide sequence of the Act-1 promoter construct extends 2.1 kb in the 5′ direction from the translation initiation codon. The construct contains:

    • 1.3 kb of 5′ untranscribed sequence
    • the 5′ transcribed but untranslated exon
    • the 5′ intron, and
    • a part of the first coding exon of the gene.

From the description of the invention it can be concluded that the presence of the 5′ intron is vital for the efficient performance of the promoter construct.

Specific patent information

Patent number Title, Independent Claims and Summary of Claims Assignee
US 5641876

  • Earliest priority – 5 January 1990
  • Filed – 27 October 1993
  • Granted – 24 June 1997
  • Expected expiry – 24 June 2014
Title – Rice actin gene and promoter

Claim 1
An isolated nucleic acid molecule encoding a promoter region from rice actin 1 gene.
Claim 2
An isolated nucleic acid molecule encoding a promoter region from rice actin 1 gene wherein said nucleic acid molecule has a nucleotide sequence as shown in nucleotides 1-2180 of SEQ ID NO:5.

The claims are directed to:

  • An isolated DNA sequence encoding a promoter from rice Act-1 gene. The nucleotide sequence of 2.18 kb is provided.

Cornell Research Foundation, Inc.

Remarks

The PCT application WO 91/09948 was not converted into national applications.
The patent application in Australia ( AU 71827/91) lapsed.

Note: Patent information was last updated on 22 May 2006. Search terms: “actin” in abstract and “cornell” in applicant. Patent database: PatentLens in combination with INPADOC.

2. Elements of the 5′ region of the rice Act-1 gene.

As mentioned before, apart from the promoter region itself (5′ upstream of the transcription start site) of the rice Act-1 gene, there are elements of the 5′ region of the gene that play an important regulatory role in driving expression of a downstream linked gene.

The regulatory elements are used in a modular way, in conjunction with other promoters or regulatory transcriptional regions. Patents and patent applications directed to the use of rice Act-1 derived elements have claims that include:

  • the intron 1 of the rice Act-1 gene, and
  • the exon 1 of the same gene.

A. Intron 1

  • as part of a wound-inducible promoter construct for monocots. A U.S. patent granted to Cornell Research Foundation protects:
    • the use of a 5′ intron sequence of the rice Act-1 gene linked to a wound-inducible potato proteinase inhibitor II gene promoter to form a promoter region and
    • a construct, a monocot plant and a rice plant containing a foreign gene of interest under the control of the mentioned promoter region.
  • as part of a chimeric promoter for driving the expression of a gene of interest in transformed monocots. There is a European patent application and an Australian patent application filed by Rhone Poulenc disclosing a chimeric regulatory region comprising the first intron of the rice Act-1 gene and a promoter derived from the maize histone H3C4 gene. In some of the filed independent claims, the gene of interest encodes an optimized transit peptide-calcium-dependent protein kinase (OTP/CP4).

B. Exon 1

Granted AustralianEuropean and U.S. patents assigned to the Max-Planck Institute (Gottingen, DE) are directed to a modular promoter construct for plant transformation having a DNA sequence from exon 1 of the rice Act-1 gene regulatory region and a promoter.  The promoter of the modular construct is any but the rice Act-1 gene promoter. Derivatives of the modular promoter construct are also covered.

The U.S. patent also claims a vector for plant cell transformation containing the modular promoter construct, a transformed plant and its descendants, and a method for preparing plants with an elevated gene expression level by transforming the plant with a vector comprising the claimed modular promoter construct.

Specific patent information

Patent number

Title, Independent Claims and Summary of Claims

Assignee
US 5684239

  • Earliest priority – 5 January 1990
  • Filed – 9 September 1994
  • Granted –  4 November 1997
  • Expected expiry – 4 November 2014
Title – Monocot having dicot wound-inducible promoter

Claim 1
A wound inducible promoter construct for use in monocotyledonous plants consisting essentially of, in 5′ to 3′ order, a potato proteinase inhibitor II gene promoter and a 5′ intron of rice actin 1 gene promoter.
Claim 2
A nucleic acid construct comprising: a wound inducible promoter construct consisting essentially of, in 5′ to 3′ order, a potato proteinase inhibitor II gene promoter and a 5′ intron of rice actin 1 gene promoter; and a foreign gene of interest under regulatory control of said wound inducible promoter construct.
Claim 3
A monocotyledonous plant comprising: a wound inducible promoter construct consisting essentially of, in 5′ to 3′ order, a potato proteinase inhibitor II gene promoter and a 5′ intron of rice actin 1 gene promoter; and a foreign gene of interest under regulatory control of said wound inducible promoter construct.
Claim 4
A rice plant comprising: a wound inducible promoter construct consisting essentially of, in 5′ to 3′ order, a potato proteinase inhibitor II gene promoter and a 5′ intron of rice actin 1 gene promoter; and a foreign gene of interest under regulatory control of said wound inducible promoter construct.

Cornell Research Foundation, Inc.

Remarks

The related European application EP 666921 was withdrawn. Application also filed in Japan (JP 7503126 T2).
US 6750378

  • Earliest priority – 24 December 1997
  • Filed – 10 March 1998
  • Granted –  15 June 2004
  • Expected expiry – 24 December 2014
Title – Maize H3C4 promoter combined with the first intron of rice actin, chimeric gene comprising it and transformed plant

Claim 1
An isolated DNA sequence comprising, in the direction of transcription, a fragment of the sequence of the maize H3C4 promoter wherein said fragment of the sequence of the maize H3C4 promoter has the sequence shown in SEQ ID NO: 1 and a fragment of the sequence of the first intron of rice actin wherein said fragment of the sequence of the first intron of rice actin has the sequence shown in SEQ ID NO: 2.
Claim 2
An isolated DNA sequence comprising the DNA sequence shown in SEQ ID NO: 3.

Rhone-Poulenc Agrochimie

(then named Aventis CropScience SA and now Bayer cropScience )

US 2002/104117 A1

  • Earliest priority – 24 December 1997
  • Filed – 10 March 1998
  • Granted –  Pending
  • Expected expiry – N/A
Title – Maize H3C4 promoter combined with the first intron of rice actin, chimeric gene comprising it and transformed plant

This patent application is a Continuation of US 6750378.

Claim 1
DNA sequence, a 5′ regulatory element allowing the expression of a heterologous gene in a plant cell from a monocotyledonous plant, characterized in that it comprises, in the direction of transcription, a first DNA sequence, which is a functional fragment of the sequence of the maize H3C4 promoter, and a second DNA sequence, which is a functional fragment of the sequence of the first intron of rice actin.
Claim 8
DNA sequence, a 5′ regulatory element allowing the expression of a heterologous gene in a plant cell from a monocotyledonous plant, characterized in that it comprises the DNA sequence represented by the sequence identifier No. 3 (SEQ ID NO: 3) or a sequence homologous to the said sequence.
Claim 21
DNA sequence encoding a fusion protein OTP/CP4.
Claim 22
Fusion protein OPT/CP4.
Claim 23
Chimeric gene characterized in that it comprises, in the direction of transcription, an appropriate 5′ regulatory sequence for ensuring the expression of a coding sequence in plants, functionally linked to a sequence encoding a fusion protein OTP/CP4, optionally linked to a 3′ regulatory sequence.
US 2004/199944 A1

  • Earliest priority – 24 December 1997
  • Filed – 16 January 2004
  • Granted –  Pending
  • Expected expiry – N/A
Title – Maize H3C4 promoter combined with the first intron of rice actin, chimeric gene comprising it and transformed plant

This patent application is a Continuation of US 6750378.

Claim 2
Fusion protein OTP/CP4.
Claim 4
An isolated DNA sequence comprising, in the direction of transcription, a functional fragment of the sequence of the maize H3C4 promoter and a functional fragment of the first intron of rice actin.
Claim 9An isolated DNA sequence comprising a sequence homologous to SEQ ID NO: 3.
Claim 22
An isolated DNA sequence encoding a fusion protein OTP/CP4.
Claim 23
An expression cassette comprising in the direction of transcription, a 5′ regulatory sequence functionally linked to a sequence encoding a fusion protein OTP/CP4, optionally linked to a 3′ regulatory sequence, wherein said expression cassette functions in plants or plant cells.
AU 759003 B2

  • Earliest priority – 24 December 1997
  • Filed – 22 December 1998
  • Granted – 3 April 2003
  • Expected expiry – 22 December 2018
Title – Maize H3C4 promoter associated with first rice actin intron, chimeric gene containing it and transformed plant

Claim 1
A DNA sequence which is a 5′ regulatory element allowing the expression of a heterologous gene in a plant cell from a monocotyledonous plant, characterized in that it comprises, in the direction of transcription,
a first DNA sequence, which is a functional fragment of the sequence of the maize H3C4 promoter, and
a second DNA sequence, which is a functional fragment of the sequence of the first intron of rice actin.
Claim 8
A DNA sequence which is a 5′ regulatory element allowing the expression of a heterologous gene in a plant cell from a monocotyledonous plant, characterized in that it comprises the DNA sequence represented by te sequence idenntifier No.3 (SEQ ID NO: 3) or a sequence homologous to the said sequence.

Aventis CropScience SA (FR)

(now Bayer CropScience)

Remarks

Related patents were granted in Europe (EP 1042491 B1) and China (CN 98813783). A patent application in Canada (CA 2315677) is still pending.  Both the European patent and the Canadian patent application are in French with an abstract in English.
US 5859331

  • Earliest priority – 8 July 1992
  • Filed – 7 February 1995
  • Granted – 12 January 1999
  • Expected expiry – 12 January 2016
Title – Modular promoter construct

Claim 1
A modular promoter construct, comprising a promoter which is active in plant cells and a DNA sequence of at least 30 bases from exon 1 of the rice actin 1 gene, or derivatives of this modular promoter construct which have promoter activity, wherein said promoter is not a rice actin 1 gene promoter.
Claim 5
A vector comprising a promoter construct which comprises a promoter which is active in plant cells and a DNA sequence of at least 30 bases from exon 1 of the rice actin 1 gene, or derivatives of this modular promoter construct which have promoter activity, wherein said promoter construct is coupled to a gene which is expressed in a plant cell, and wherein said promoter is not a rice actin 1 gene promoter.
Claim 6
A plant cell which is transformed with a vector comprising a promoter construct which comprises a promoter which is active in plant cells and a DNA sequence of at least 30 bases from exon 1 of the rice actin 1 gene, or derivatives of this modular promoter construct which have promoter activity, wherein said promoter construct is coupled to a gene which is to be expressed in a plant cell, and wherein said promoter is not a rice actin 1 gene promoter.
Claim 7
A plant or its descendants, regenerated from a plant cell comprising a promoter construct which comprises a promoter which is active in plant cells and a DNA sequence of at least 30 bases from exon 1 of the rice actin 1 gene, or derivatives of this modular promoter construct which have promoter activity, wherein said promoter construct is coupled to a gene which is to be expressed in a plant cell, and wherein said promoter is not a rice actin 1 gene promoter.
Claim 8
A method for preparing plants having elevated gene expression, said method comprising transforming a plant cell with a vector comprising a promoter construct which comprises a promoter which is active in plant cells and a DNA sequence of at least 30 bases from exon 1 of the rice actin 1 gene, or derivatives of this modular promoter construct which have promoter activity, wherein said promoter construct is coupled to a gene which is to be expressed in a plant cell, and wherein said promoter is not a rice actin 1 gene promoter.

Max-Planck Institute

EP 651812 B1

  • Earliest priority – 8 July 1992
  • Filed – 7 July 1993
  • Granted – 15 March 2000
  • Expected expiry – 7 July 2013
Title – Modular promoter construct

Claim 1
Modular promoter construct, which has a promoter which is active in plant cells and a DNA sequence from exon 1 of the rice actin 1 gene, and the alleles and gene expression-stimulating derivatives of this modular promoter construct, with the proviso that the promoter is not a promoter of the rice actin 1 gene.

Remarks

The European patent was converted in Austria (AT), France (FR), Germany (DE), Italy (IT), Spain (ES), and the Netherlands (NL). The European patent has abstract and claims in English and the description of the invention is in German. The granted Australian patent (AU 687004 B2)and the Canadian patent (CA 2139846) were both lapsed. Application also filed in Japan (JP 7508653 T2).

Note: Patent information was last updated on 22 May 2006. Search terms: “Rice actin” in abstract. Patent database: PatentLens in combination with INPADOC.

3. Promoter region derived from the rice Act-2 gene

Cornell Research Foundation and Dekalb Genetics have jointly filed patent applications on the regulatory elements from the rice Act-2 gene. The promoter region is referred to as the region that directs the transcriptional activity of the coding region. As in the rice Act-1 patent, the intron is deemed essential for promoter efficacy and, in combination with the promoter, is required for the efficient expression of a gene.

A PCT application (WO 2000/070067) was filed containing 120 claims, 15 of them independent. The application discloses an isolated sequence of the 5′ region of the rice Act-2 gene. The region comprises:

  • the promoter sequence of about 743 bp,
  • exon 1 of the gene,
  • intron 1,
  • exon 2, and
  • the translation initiation codon.

The claims of the PCT application recite:

  • isolated rice Act-2 promoter and intron from the 5′ region described above,
  • an expression vector comprising the rice Act-2 promoter,
  • an expression vector comprising the rice Act-2 intron,
  • a fertile transgenic plant stably transformed with the rice Act-2 promoter,
  • methods to prepare crossed fertile transgenic plants comprising  selected DNA comprising Act-2 promoter and the intron, and
  • methods for expressing an exogenous gene in a plant by transforming the plant with a construct having the gene of interest linked to a rice Act-2 promoter and a rice Act-2 intron.

Note that claims of PCT applications do not provide enforceable rights and the claim scope may vary in countries that ultimately grant a patent.

The granted United States patent have similar claim elements but methods for preparing crossed fertile transgenic plants were excluded.

Specific patent information

Patent number

Title, Independent Claims and Summary of Claims

Assignee

US 6429357

  • Earliest priority – 14 May 1999
  • Filed – 14 May 1999
  • Granted – 6 August 2002
  • Expected expiry – 14 May 2019
Title – Rice actin 2 promoter and intron and methods for use thereof

Claim 1
An isolated nucleic acid comprising from 40 to about 743 contiguous nucleotides of the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2.
Claim 8
An expression vector comprising an isolated rice actin promoter comprising the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:1 or SEQ ID NO:2 or a fragment thereof having promoter activity.
Claim 15
A fertile transgenic plant stably transformed with a selected nucleic acid comprising a rice actin promoter, wherein said rice actin promoter comprises the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:1 or SEQ ID NO:2 or a fragment thereof having promoter activity.
Claim 26
A method of expressing an exogenous nucleic acid in a plant comprising the steps of: (i) preparing a construct comprising said exogenous nucleic acid operably linked to a rice actin promoter, wherein said rice actin promoter comprises the nucleic acid sequence ofSEQ ID NO:1 or SEQ ID NO:2 or a fragment of SEQ ID NO:2 having promoter activity; (ii) transforming a recipient plant cell with said construct; and (iii) regenerating a transgenic plant expressing said exogenous nucleic acid from said recipient cell.

Dekalb Genetics Corp. and Cornell Research Foundation Inc.

EP 1179081

  • Earliest priority – 14 May 1999
  • Filed – 12 May 2000
  • Granted – pending
  • Expected expiry – N/A
Title – Rice actin 2 promoter and intron and methods for use thereof

The claims are from the corrsponding PCT application WO 2000/070067.

Claim 1
An isolated rice actin 2 promoter isolatable from the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:1.
Claim 2
An isolated rice actin 2 promoter isolatable from the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2.
Claim 3
An isolated nucleic acid comprising from 40 to about 743 contiguous nucleotides of the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:2.
Claim 10
An isolated rice actin 2 intron isolatable from the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:1.
Claim 11
An isolated rice actin 2 intron isolatable from the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ lD NO:3.
Claim 12
An isolated nucleic acid comprising from 40 to about 1763 contiguous nucleotides of the nucleic acid sequence of SEQ lD NO:3.
Claim 19
An expression vector comprising an isolated rice actin 2 promoter.
Claim 32
An expression vector comprising an isolated rice actin 2 intron.
Claim 41
A fertile transgenic plant stably transformed with a selected DNA comprising an actin 2 promoter.
Claim 58
A crossed fertile transgenic plant prepared according to the method comprising the steps of:
(i) obtaining a fertile transgenic plant comprising a selected DNA comprising an actin 2 promoter;
(ii) crossing said fertile transgenic plant with itself or with a second plant lacking said selected DNA to prepare the seed of a crossed fertile transgenic plant comprising said selected DNA; and
(iii) planting said seed to obtain a crossed fertile transgenic plant.
Claim 74
A crossed fertile transgenic plant prepared according to the method comprising:
(i) obtaining a fertile transgenic plant comprising a selected DNA comprising an actin 2 intron;
(ii) crossing said fertile transgenic plant with itself or with a second plant lacking said selected DNA to prepare seed of a crossed fertile transgenic plant comprising said selected DNA; and
(iii) planting said seed to obtain a crossed fertile transgenic plant comprising said selected DNA.
Claim 91
A method of expressing an exogenous gene in a plant comprising the steps of:
(i) preparing a construct comprising said exogenous gene operably linked to an actin 2 promoter;
(ii) transforming a recipient plant cell with said construct; and
(iii)  regenerating a transgenic plant expressing said exogenous gene from said recipient cell.
Claim 98
A method of expressing an exogenous gene in a plant comprising the steps of:
(i) preparing a construct comprising an actin 2 intron and an exogenous gene;
(ii)  transforming a recipient plant cell with said construct; and
(iii) regenerating a transgenic plant expressing said exogenous gene from said recipient cell.
Claim 107
A method of plant breeding comprising the steps of:
(i) obtaining a transgenic plant comprising a selected DNA comprising an actin 2 promoter; and
(ii) crossing said transgenic plant with itself or a second plant.
Claim 114
A method of plant breeding comprising the steps of
(i) obtaining a transgenic plant comprising a selected DNA comprising an actin 2 intron; and
(ii) crossing said transgenic plant with itself or a second plant.
CA 2372859

  • Earliest priority – 14 May 1999
  • Filed – 12 May 2000
  • Granted – pending
  • Expected expiry – N/A
Title – Rice actin 2 promoter and intron and methods for use thereof

The claims are the same as EP 1179081.

Remarks

The patent application in Australia ( AU 57231/00) lapsed.

Note: Patent information was last updated on 23 May 2006. Search terms: “Rice actin” in abstract. Patent database: PatentLens and esp@cenet in combination with INPADOC.