(19)
(11)EP 2 826 861 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
29.04.2020 Bulletin 2020/18

(21)Application number: 13761977.1

(22)Date of filing:  14.03.2013
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
C12P 19/56(2006.01)
C07H 21/00(2006.01)
A23L 27/30(2016.01)
A61K 8/60(2006.01)
C12N 9/10(2006.01)
C07H 1/00(2006.01)
A61Q 19/00(2006.01)
A23L 33/13(2016.01)
C07H 15/256(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2013/058189
(87)International publication number:
WO 2013/137487 (19.09.2013 Gazette  2013/38)

(54)

STEVIOL GLYCOSYLTRANSFERASE AND GENE ENCODING SAME

STEVIOLGLYCOSYLTRANSFERASE UND GEN ZUR KODIERUNG DERSELBEN

GLYCOSYLTRANSFÉRASE DE STÉVIOL ET GÈNE CODANT CORRESPONDANT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 16.03.2012 JP 2012060473

(43)Date of publication of application:
21.01.2015 Bulletin 2015/04

(73)Proprietor: Suntory Holdings Limited
Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-8203 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • ONO, Eiichiro
    Mishima-gun Osaka 618-8503 (JP)
  • OCHIAI, Misa
    Mishima-gun Osaka 618-8503 (JP)

(74)Representative: Vossius & Partner Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte mbB 
Siebertstrasse 3
81675 München
81675 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 832 858
WO-A1-2011/153378
WO-A2-2013/022989
EP-B1- 1 897 951
WO-A1-2011/153378
JP-A- H05 255 372
  
  • HUMPHREY TV ET AL.: 'Spatial organisation of four enzymes from Stevia rebaudiana that are involved in steviol glycoside synthesis' PLANT MOL. BIOL. vol. 61, no. 1-2, 2006, pages 47 - 62, XP019405427
  • RICHMAN A ET AL.: 'Functional genomics uncovers three glucosyltransferases involved in the synthesis of the major sweet glucosides of Stevia rebaudiana' PLANT. J. vol. 41, no. 1, 2005, pages 56 - 67, XP002686584
  • BRANDLE JE ET AL.: 'Steviol glycoside biosynthesis' PHYTOCHEMISTRY vol. 68, no. 14, 2007, pages 1855 - 1863, XP022145443
  • RYOJI KASAI ET AL.: 'Stevia-ha no Kanmi Diterpene Haitotai - Rebaudioside -A, -D, -E Oyobi Kanren Haitotai no Gosei Narabini Kanmi to Kagaku Kozo tono Sokan' JOURNAL OF THE CHEMICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN 1981, pages 726 - 735, XP009039502
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description


[0001] The present disclosure relates to a protein having an activity of synthesizing steviol glycosides and a polynucleotide encoding the protein, a method for producing steviol glycosides using the protein, a transformant highly expressing steviol glucosyltransferases, steviol glycosides produced by the method and use thereof.

[0002] The leaves of Stevia rebaudiana contain a secondary metabolite called steviol, which is a member of diterpenoids. Steviol glycosides elicit a sweet taste that are up to about 300 times the sweetness of sugar, and have been used as non-caloric sweeteners in the food industry. Obesity is globally increasing as a serious social problem, and demand for non-caloric sweeteners is growing every day from viewpoints of promoting health and reducing medical expenses. Currently, Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium, which are artificially synthesized amino acid derivatives, are used as artificial sweeteners. However, it is expected that naturally occurring non-caloric sweeteners like steviol glycosides are more likely to enjoy public acceptance.

[0003] Steviol contained in the leaves of stevia is modified with sugars finally to a glycoside called rebaudioside A with four glucose moieties attached (FIG. 1). Its precursor steviol triglycoside, stevioside, is most abundant quantitatively, and rebaudioside A and stevioside are the main components of sweetness in stevia. In addition to them, the presence of glycosides considered to be reaction intermediates and analogs with different sugars are known.

[0004] Enzyme genes encoding biosynthesis of rebaudioside A have been isolated through an expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis of stevia (Non-Patent Documents 1 and 2, Patent Document 1). Steviol is produced through hydroxylation at position 13 of ent-kaurenoic acid, i.e., a precursor of plant hormone diterpenoid, gibberellins, by cytochrome P450 enzyme ent-kaurenoic acid, 13-hydroxylase (EK13H) (FIG. 2) (Non-Patent Document 3, Patent Document 1). The 13-hydroxy group of steviol is first glycosylated (monoglucosylation) by UGT85C2 to produce steviolmonoside. The position 2 of the glucose at position 13 of steviolmonoside is further glucosylated to form steviolbioside, or the carboxyl group at position 19 of steviolmonoside is glucosylated to form a steviol diglycoside called rubusoside. Steviolbioside or rubusoside thus produced is considered to undergo further glycosylation to form steviol glycosides such as stevioside and rebaudioside A. UGT74G1 and UGT76G1 are known as enzyme genes involved in formation of steviol glycosides.

[0005] UGT74G1 is known to catalyze glucosylation of the position 19 of steviolmonoside (Non-Patent Document 1). UGT74G1 also catalyzes glucosylation of steviolbioside to produce stevioside which is a steviol triglycoside. The content of stevioside is most abundant in the leaves of stevia; stevioside is known to be approximately 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. This stevioside is further glucosylated by UGT76G1 to produce steviol tetraglycoside, rebaudioside A, which is the sweetest (350 to 450 times sweeter than sugar) and reportedly has a favorable quality of taste.

[0006] It is reported on steviol glycosides that addition of branched sugars especially to the glucose at position 13 results in improved quality of taste and sweetness (Non-Patent Document 4, Patent Document 2). It is thus considered that glycosidases that catalyze these reactions are important enzymes to determine sweetness qualities of stevia.

[0007] In the previous study (Non-Patent Document 2), several types of glucosyltransferases (UGT) are reported by the EST analysis of stevia leaves. However, detailed enzyme activities of all these enzymes have not been fully investigated. Also, a homologous protein of UGT91D1 is reported only for the isolation of an truncated sequence (Patent Document 3).

[Prior Art Documents]


[Patent Documents]



[0008] 

[Patent Document 1] EP 1 897 951 B1

[Patent Document 2] Japanese Patent Laid-Open Application No. H05-255372

[Patent Document 3] WO2011/153378A1


[Non-Patent Documents]



[0009] 

[Non-Patent Document 1] Brandle and Telmer (2007) Phytochemistry 68, 1855-1863

[Non-Patent Document 2] Richman et al (2005) Plant J. 41, 56-67

[Non-Patent Document 3] Mizutani and Ohta (2010) Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 61, 291-315

[Non-Patent Document 4] Kasai et al., (1981) Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Japan 5, 726-735



[0010] As a result of extensive studies, the present inventors have succeeded in identifying enzymes that catalyze glycosylation of the glucose at position 13 of steviol glycosides in stevia and genes encoding the enzymes.

[0011] That is, the present invention is described as follows.
  1. [1] A method for producing a steviol glycoside, which comprises the step of reacting a protein with a UDP-sugar and a compound shown by general formula (I) below:

    wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue; wherein the protein is a protein according to any one selected from the group consisting of (a) to (c) below:
    1. (a) a protein consisting of the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID NO: 2;
    2. (b) a protein consisting of an amino acid sequence wherein 1 to 5 amino acids are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below; and,
    3. (c) a protein having an amino acid sequence having at least 99% sequence identity with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below:

      wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue.
  2. [2] The method according to [1], wherein the sugar in the UDP-sugar is glucose.
  3. [3] The method according to [1] or [2], wherein the steviol glycoside is steviolbioside, stevioside, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside B, rebaudioside C, rebaudioside D, rebaudioside E, rebaudioside F, or a combination thereof.
  4. [4] A protein according to any one selected from the group consisting of (a) to (c) below:
    1. (a) a protein consisting of the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID NO: 2;
    2. (b) a protein consisting of an amino acid sequence wherein 1 to 5 amino acids are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below; and,
    3. (c) a protein having an amino acid sequence having at least 99% sequence identity with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below:

      wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue.
  5. [5] The protein according to [4] above, wherein the sugar molecule is a hexose.
  6. [6] The protein according to [4] or [5] above, wherein the sugar molecule is one selected from the group consisting of glucose, mannose and galactose.
  7. [7] The protein according to any one of [4] to [6] above, wherein said R1 is H or the sugar residue which is a glucose monomer or a glucose dimer.
  8. [8] The protein according to any one of [4] to [7] above, wherein the compound is steviolmonoside or rubusoside.
  9. [9] A polynucleotide according to any one selected from the group consisting of (a) to (d) below:
    1. (a) a polynucleotide comprising the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1;
    2. (b) a polynucleotide encoding a protein consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2;
    3. (c) a polynucleotide encoding a protein consisting of an amino acid sequence wherein 1 to 5 amino acids are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below;
    4. (d) a polynucleotide encoding a protein having an amino acid sequence having at least 99% sequence identity with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I)

      wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-G20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue.
  10. [10] The polynucleotide according to [9] above, wherein the sugar molecule is a hexose.
  11. [11] The polynucleotide according to [9] above, wherein the sugar molecule is one selected from the group consisting of glucose, mannose and galactose.
  12. [12] The polynucleotide according to [9] above, wherein said R1 is H or the sugar residue which is a glucose monomer or a glucose dimer.
  13. [13] The polynucleotide according to [9] above, wherein the compound is steviolmonoside or rubusoside.
  14. [14] A non-human transformant, into which the polynucleotide according to [9] above is introduced.
  15. [15] The transformant according to [14] above, wherein the polynucleotide is inserted into an expression vector.
  16. [16] The transformant according to [14] above, which is a plant.
  17. [17] An extract from the transformant according to [14] above.
  18. [18] A food, pharmaceutical composition or industrial material comprising the extract according to [17] above.
  19. [19] A method for producing a protein, which comprises culturing the non-human transformant according to [14] above, wherein the protein has an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below:

    wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue.
  20. [20] A method for producing a steviol glycoside, which comprises using the non-human transformant according to [14] above.
  21. [21] The method according to [20] above, wherein the steviol glycoside is steviolbioside, stevioside, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside B, rebaudioside C, rebaudioside D, rebaudioside E, rebaudioside F, or a combination thereof.
  22. [22] The method according to [20] above, wherein the non-human transformant expresses at least one gene selected from the group consisting of UGT85C2 gene, UGT74G1 gene and UGT76G1 gene, and the steviol glycosides produced are steviolbioside, rebaudioside A, stevioside and rebaudioside B.


[0012] By using the protein of the present invention and the polynucleotide encoding the same, steviol glycosides (e.g., steviolbioside and stevioside, etc.) can be produced with a high efficiency. The transformants of the present invention have a high content of steviol glycosides (e.g., steviolbioside and stevioside, etc.) and steviol glycosides (e.g., steviolbioside and stevioside, etc.) can be efficiently extracted and purified from these transformants.

[0013] By co-expression the protein of the present invention and the polynucleotide encoding the protein together with other steviol glucosyltransferases or polynucleotides encoding the enzymes simultaneously in the same host cell, more highly glycosylated steviol glycosides (e.g., rebaudioside A and rebaudioside B, etc.) can be prepared.

FIG. 1 shows the names and structures of steviol glycosides. In FIG. 1, "Glc-Glc (β2→1)" denotes that "Glc-Glc" binds through β2,1 glycoside bond, and "Glc-Glc (β3→1)" denotes that "Glc-Glc" binds through β3,1 glycoside bond.

FIG. 2 shows presumed biosynthetic pathway of steviol glycosides.

FIG. 3 shows the SDS-PAGE results of stevia UGT protein expressed in Escherichia coli. The CBB stain patterns with imidazole solution in the pellet fraction are shown in the left side and those in the eluted fraction are shown in the right side. Asterisks denote the expressed recombinant proteins.

FIG. 4 shows the enzyme activity of UGT91D-like3 protein.

FIG. 5 shows the results of LC-MS analysis of the culture broth of recombinant yeast into which UGT85C2, UGT91D-like3, UGT74G1 and UGT76G1 genes were introduced.

FIG. 6 shows the expression of recombinant proteins. The expressions of UGT91D-like3 and UGT91D2e in forms of HisTag fusion proteins were detected, respectively, by Western blotting for the recombinant proteins. UGT91D2e is short by the 12 amino acids and the band is detected at a slightly smaller size than UGT91D-like3.

FIG. 7 shows the alignment of the partial N-terminal sequences of UGT91D homologous enzymes, in which the amino acid sequences of UGT91D1, UGT91D-like3 and UGT91D2e are shown in the order from the top. Asterisk (*) denotes the position corresponding to histidine residue (VvGT1_His20) of glycosyltransferase VvGT1 from grape, which residue is considered to be essential for the catalytic activity thereof.



[0014] The present inventors have elucidated for the first time that the enzyme protein responsible for glycosylation to the glucose at position 13 in steviol glycosides is UGT91D-like3.

[0015] The CDS sequence and putative amino acid sequence of UGT91D-like3 are SEQ ID NOS: 1 and 2, respectively. The polynucleotides and enzymes described above may be obtained by the methods described in EXAMPLES later described, known genetic engineering techniques, known methods for synthesis, and so on.

1. Steviol Glucosyltransferase



[0016] Provided herein is the protein according to any one selected from the group consisting of (a) to (c) below (hereinafter referred to as the "protein of the present disclosure"):
  1. (a) a protein consisting of the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID NO: 2;
  2. (b) a protein consisting of an amino acid sequence wherein 1 to 48 amino acids are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below; and,
  3. (c) a protein having an amino acid sequence having at least 90% sequence identity with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below:

    wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue.


[0017] The proteins described in (b) or (c) above are typically mutants of the naturally occurring polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 and also include those proteins which may be artificially obtained using site-directed mutagenesis described in, e.g., "Sambrook & Russell, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual Vol. 3, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press 2001," "Ausubel, Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley & Sons 1987-1997," "Nuc. Acids. Res., 10, 6487 (1982)," "Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 79, 6409 (1982)," "Gene, 34, 315 (1985)," "Nuc. Acids. Res., 13, 4431 (1985)," "Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 82, 488 (1985)," etc.

[0018] As used herein, "the protein consisting of an amino acid sequence wherein 1 to 48 amino acids are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I)" includes proteins containing an amino acid sequence wherein, e.g., 1 to 48, 1 to 47, 1 to 46, 1 to 45, 1 to 44, 1 to 43, 1 to 42, 1 to 41, 1 to 40, 1 to 39, 1 to 38, 1 to 37, 1 to 36, 1 to 35, 1 to 34, 1 to 33, 1 to 32, 1 to 31, 1 to 30, 1 to 29, 1 to 28, 1 to 27, 1 to 26, 1 to 25, 1 to 24, 1 to 23, 1 to 22, 1 to 21, 1 to 20, 1 to 19, 1 to 18, 1 to 17, 1 to 16, 1 to 15, 1 to 14, 1 to 13, 1 to 12, 1 to 11, 1 to 10, 1 to 9 (1 to several), 1 to 8, 1 to 7, 1 to 6, 1 to 5, 1 to 4, 1 to 3, 1 to 2, or one amino acid is/are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having the activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I). In general, the number of deletions, substitutions, insertions, and/or additions is preferably smaller.

[0019] Such proteins include proteins having an amino acid sequence having the identity of approximately 90% or higher, 91 % or higher, 92% or higher, 93% or higher, 94% or higher, 95% or higher, 96% or higher, 97% or higher, 98% or higher, 99% or higher, 99.1% or higher, 99.2% or higher, 99.3% or higher, 99.4% or higher, 99.5% or higher, 99.6% or higher, 99.7% or higher, 99.8% or higher, or 99.9% or higher, with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having the activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I). As the identity percentage described above is higher, the protein is preferred in general.

[0020] As used herein, "the activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I)" is intended to mean the activity of adding sugars to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I) below.



[0021] In general formula (I), Glc represents a glucose residue. R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl or a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue, in general formula (I).

[0022] As used herein, the "C1-C20 alkyl" is preferably a C1-C10 alkyl, and more preferably a C1-C6 alkyl. The alkyl group includes, but not limited to, methyl, ethyl, propyl, isopropyl, n-butyl, sec-butyl, tert-butyl, pentyl, hexyl, dodecanyl, etc.

[0023] As used herein, the "C2-C20 alkenyl" is preferably a C2-C10 alkenyl, and more preferably a C2-C6 alkenyl. The alkenyl group includes, but not limited to, vinyl, allyl, propenyl, isopropenyl, 2-methyl-1-propenyl, 2-methylallyl, 2-butenyl, etc.

[0024] As used herein, the "C2-C20 alkynyl" is preferably a C2-C10 alkynyl, and more preferably a C2-C6 alkynyl. The alkynyl group includes, but not limited to, ethynyl, 2-propynyl, 2-butynyl, etc.

[0025] As used herein, the "C4-C20 alkyldienyl" is preferably a C4-C10 alkyldienyl, and more preferably a C4-C6 alkyldienyl. The alkyldienyl group includes, but not limited to, 1,3-butadienyl, etc.

[0026] As used herein, the"C6-C18 aryl" is preferably a C6-C10 aryl. The aryl group includes, but not limited to, phenyl, 1-naphthyl, 2-naphthyl, indenyl, biphenylyl, anthryl, phenanthryl, etc.

[0027] As used herein, the "C6-C20 alkylaryl" is preferably a C6-C12 alkylaryl. The alkylaryl group includes, but not limited to, o-tolyl, m-tolyl, p-tolyl, 2,3-xylyl, 2,4-xylyl, 2,5-xylyl, o-cumenyl, m-cumenyl, p-cumenyl, mesityl, etc.

[0028] As used herein, the "C6-C20 arylalkyl" is preferably a C6-C12 arylalkyl. The arylalkyl group includes, but not limited to, benzyl, phenethyl, diphenylmethyl, triphenylmethyl, 1-naphthylmethyl, 2-naphthylmethyl, 2,2-diphenylethyl, 3-phenylpropyl, 4-phenylbutyl, 5-phenylpentyl, etc.

[0029] As used herein, the "C4-C20 cycloalkyl" is preferably a C4-C10 cycloalkyl. The cycloalkyl group includes, but not limited to, cyclopropyl, cyclobutyl, cyclopentyl, cyclohexyl, etc.

[0030] As used herein, the "C4-C20 cycloalkenyl" is preferably a C4-C10 cycloalkenyl. The cycloalkenyl group includes, but not limited to, cyclopropenyl, cyclobutenyl, 2-cyclopenten-1-yl, 2-cyclohexen-1-yl, 3-cyclohexen-1-yl, etc.

[0031] As used herein, examples of the "(C3 - C10 cycloalkyl) C1 - C10 alkyl" include methylcyclopropyl, ethylcyclopropyl, methylcyclobutyl, ethylcyclopentyl, methylcyclohexyl, etc.

[0032] As used herein, the "sugar residue" may include, but not limited to, a residue of one or more sugars including a pentose, a hexose or a combination thereof (excluding xylose, rhamnose or a combination thereof).

[0033] Examples of pentose (excluding xylose, rhamnose or a combination thereof) are ribose, arabinose and lyxose, and examples of the hexose are allose, altrose, glucose, mannose, gulose, idose, galactose and talose.

[0034] Preferably, the "sugar residue" refers to a residue of sugar consisting of at least one hexose unit, and more preferably, a glucose monomer (-Glc) or a glucose dimer (-Glc-Glc). In a sugar residue of the glucose dimer, glucose is linked to each other preferably through a β2, 1 glycoside bond.

[0035] The compound of general formula (I) is preferably stebiolmonoside or rubusoside.

[0036] The sugar molecule added by the protein of the present disclosure to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I) may include, but not limited to, sugar molecules consisting of at least one pentose, hexose or a combination thereof (excluding xylose, rhamnose or a combination thereof). Examples of the pentose and hexose are the same as described above. The sugar molecule described above is preferably a hexose, and more preferably, a hexose selected from the group consisting of glucose, mannose and galactose. The sugar molecule above is most preferably glucose.

[0037] The activity of adding the sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I) can be verified as follows. 1 - 500 ng (preferably, 50 - 200 ng, most preferably, 100 ng) of a test protein, 1 - 1000 µM (preferably, 100 - 700 µM, most preferably, 500 µM) of UDP sugar (e.g., UDP-glucose) and 1 - 500 µM (preferably, 100 - 500 µM, most preferably, 250 µM) of substrate compound (compound of general formula (I)) are incubated in a buffer (e.g., sodium phosphate buffer or potassium phosphate buffer) in the neutral pH range of pH 6.0 - 8.0 at a temperature of 20 - 40°C for 10 minutes to 2 hours. Then the substrate compound above is purified and the monoterpene purified is analyzed by known means such as the LC-MS analysis (Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry), etc.

[0038] In the case that the sugar molecule attached to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I) is detected as a result of the LC-MS analysis, the test protein described above is considered to have the activity of adding the sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I).

[0039] In general, the glycosylation reaction is completed approximately in a minute to 12 hours.

[0040] The deletion, substitution, insertion and/or addition of one or more amino acid residues in an amino acid sequence of the protein of the disclosure is intended mean that one or a plurality of amino acid residues are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added at one or a plurality of positions in the same amino acid sequence. Two or more types of deletions, substitutions, insertions and additions may occur at the same time.

[0041] Examples of the amino acid residues which are mutually substitutable are given below. Amino acid residues in the same group are mutually substitutable. Group A: leucine, isoleucine, norleucine, valine, norvaline, alanine, 2-aminobutanoic acid, methionine, o-methylserine, t-butylglycine, t-butylalanine and cyclohexylalanine; Group B: aspartic acid, glutamic acid, isoaspartic acid, isoglutamic acid, 2-aminoadipic acid and 2-aminosuberic acid; Group C: asparagine and glutamine; Group D: lysine, arginine, ornithine, 2,4-diaminobutanoic acid and 2,3-diaminopropionic acid; Group E: proline, 3-hydroxyproline and 4-hydroxyproline; Group F: serine, threonine and homoserine; and Group G: phenylalanine and tyrosine.

[0042] The protein of the present disclosure may be obtained by expressing a polynucleotide (cf., "the polynucleotide of the present disclosure" later described) encoding the protein in an appropriate host cell. The protein may also be produced by chemical synthesis methods such as the Fmoc method (fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl method), the tBoc method (t-butyloxycarbonyl method), etc. In addition, peptide synthesizers available from Advanced Automation Peptide Protein Technologies, Perkin Elmer, Protein Technology Instrument, PerSeptive, Applied Biosystems, SHIMADZU Corp., etc. may also be used for the chemical synthesis.

2. Method for Producing Steviol Glycosides



[0043] Steviol glycosides can be produced easily and abundantly by using the activity of the protein of the present invention to add the sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I).

[0044] In another embodiment, the present invention provides Method 1 for producing steviol glycosides, which comprises reacting the protein of the present invention and the compound represented by general formula (I) below to add a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I).



[0045] In general formula (I), Glc and R1 have the same significance as defined above. Preferably, the compound of general formula (I) is steviolmonoside or rubusoside.

[0046] As used herein, the term "UDP-sugar" refers to uridine diphosphate (Uridine DiPhosphate: UDP)-bound sugar. In the UDP-sugar, preferred examples of the sugar moiety include sugars consisting of at least one pentose (excluding xylose), hexose or a combination thereof. Examples of the pentose (excluding xylose) and hexose are the same as those discussed above. The UDP-sugar is preferably UDP-hexose, and more preferably, a hexose selected from the group consisting of glucose, mannose and galactose. The UDP-sugar described above is most preferably UDP-glucose.

[0047] Method 1 for producing the steviol glycoside in accordance with the present invention comprises the step of reacting the protein of the present invention, the UDP-sugar and the compound represented by general formula (I) to add a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I). Method 1 of the present invention may further include the step of purifying the steviol glycoside produced in the step above.

[0048] Examples of the steviol glycoside produced by Method 1 include, but not limited to, steviolbioside, stevioside, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside B, rebaudioside C, rebaudioside D, rebaudioside E, rebaudioside F, or a combination thereof.

[0049] The steviol glycoside produced may be purified by known procedures including extraction with an appropriate solvent (an aqueous solvent such as water, etc., or an organic solvent such as alcohol, ether, acetone, etc.), a gradient with ethyl acetate or other organic solvent: water, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography, time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS), ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UPLC), etc.

3. Non-Human Transformant with High Steviol Glycoside Level



[0050] The steviol glycoside may also be produced in cells from bacteria (Escherichia coli, yeast, etc.), plants, insects, mammals except human, etc., using the protein of the present invention. This is because the protein of the present invention is an enzyme derived from stevia or a variant thereof and thus expected to retain its high activity even under intracellular environment. In this case, the steviol glycoside can be produced by introducing a polynucleotide encoding the protein of the present invention (cf, "the polynucleotide of the present invention" as described later) into host cells derived from bacteria, plants, insects, mammals except human, etc. to express the protein of the present invention and reacting the protein of the present invention, the UDP-sugar present in the cells above and the compound represented by general formula (I).



[0051] Therefore, the present invention provides non-human transformants, into which a polynucleotide according to any one selected from the group consisting of (a) to (d) below (hereinafter referred to as the "polynucleotide of the present invention") is introduced:
  1. (a) a polynucleotide comprising the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1;
  2. (b) a polynucleotide encoding a protein consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2;
  3. (c) a polynucleotide encoding a protein consisting of an amino acid sequence wherein 1 to 5 amino acids are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below;
  4. (d) a polynucleotide encoding a protein having an amino acid sequence having at least 99% sequence identity with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) above.


[0052] The definition and specific examples of general formula (I) are the same as already stated above, and the definition and specific examples of the sugar molecule added to the position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I) are also the same as described above.

[0053] As used herein, the term "polynucleotide" is intended to mean a DNA or RNA.

[0054] As used herein, the term "polynucleotide which hybridizes under highly stringent" refers to, e.g., a polynucleotide consisting of a nucleotide sequence complementary to the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1, or a polynucleotide obtained by the colony hybridization method, plaque hybridization method, Southern hybridization method or the like, using as a probe the whole or part of a polynucleotide consisting of the nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2. For the methods of hybridization, there are used the methods described in, e.g., "Sambrook & Russell, Molecular Cloning; A Laboratory Manual Vol. 3, Cold Spring Harbor, Laboratory Press 2001" and "Ausubel, Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley & Sons 1987-1997," etc.

[0055] As used herein, the term "highly stringent conditions" are conditions, for example, (1) 5x SSC, 5x Denhardt's solution, 0.5% SDS and 50% formamide at 50°C, (2) 0.2x SSC and 0.1% SDS at 60°C, (3) 0.2x SSC and 0.1% SDS at 62°C, (4) 0.2x SSC and 0.1% SDS at 65°C, or (5) 0.1x SSC and 0.1% SDS at 65°C, but not limited thereto. Under these conditions, a DNA with higher sequence identity may be expected to be obtained efficiently at higher temperatures, although multiple factors are involved in hybridization stringency including temperature, probe concentration, probe length, ionic strength, time, salt concentration and others, and those skilled in the art may appropriately select these factors to achieve similar stringency.

[0056] When commercially available kits are used for hybridization, for example, an Alkphos Direct Labeling and Detection System (GE Healthcare) may be used. In this case, according to the attached protocol, after incubation with a labeled probe overnight, the membrane is washed with a primary wash buffer containing 0.1% (w/v) SDS at 55 to 60°C, thereby detecting hybridized DNA. Alternatively, in producing a probe based on the nucleotide sequence complementary to the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 or on the entire or part of the nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, hybridization can be detected with a DIG Nucleic Acid Detection Kit (Roche Diagnostics) when the probe is labeled with digoxigenin (DIG) using a commercially available reagent (e.g., a PCR Labeling Mix (Roche Diagnostics), etc.).

[0057] In addition to those described above, other polynucleotides that can be hybridized include DNAs having 80% or higher, 81% or higher, 82% or higher, 83% or higher, 84% or higher, 85% or higher, 86% or higher, 87% or higher, 88% or higher, 89% or higher, 90% or higher, 91% or higher, 92% or higher, 93% or higher, 94% or higher, 95% or higher, 96% or higher, 97% or higher, 98% or higher, 99% or higher, 99.1% or higher, 99.2% or higher, 99.3% or higher, 99.4% or higher, 99.5% or higher, 99.6% or higher, 99.7% or higher, 99.8% or higher or 99.9% or higher identity with the DNA of SEQ ID NO: 1, or the DNA encoding the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, as calculated by homology search software, such as FASTA and BLAST using default parameters.

[0058] Identity between amino acid sequences or nucleotide sequences may be determined using FASTA (Science 227 (4693): 1435-1441, (1985)), algorithm BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) by Karlin and Altschul (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 87: 2264-2268, 1990; Proc. Nail Acad. Sci. USA, 90: 5873, 1993). Programs called blastn, blastx, blastp, tblastn and tblastx based on the BLAST algorithm have been developed (Altschul S. F. et al., J. Mol. Biol. 215: 403, 1990). When a nucleotide sequence is sequenced using blastn, the parameters are, for example, score = 100 and wordlength = 12. When an amino acid sequence is sequenced using blastp, the parameters are, for example, score = 50 and wordlength = 3. When BLAST and Gapped BLAST programs are used, default parameters for each of the programs are employed.

[0059] The polynucleotides of the present invention described above can be acquired by known genetic engineering techniques, known methods for synthesis, and so on.

[0060] The polynucleotides of the present invention is introduced into a host, preferably, in such a state that it is inserted into an appropriate expression vector.

[0061] The appropriate vector is generally constructed to contain an expression cassette comprising:
  1. (i) a promoter that can be transcribed in a host cell;
  2. (ii) any of the polynucleotides of the present invention that is linked to the promoter; and,
  3. (iii) an expression cassette comprising as a component a signal that functions in the host cell with respect to the transcription termination and polyadenylation of RNA molecule.


[0062] To construct the expression vector, procedures using a plasmid, phage or cosmid are used but are not particularly limited thereto.

[0063] Vectors are not particularly limited to any specific type, and those capable of expressing in a host cell can be suitably chosen. That is, a suitable promoter sequence may be chosen depending upon the type of a host cell to reliably express the polynucleotide of the invention, and a vector obtained by incorporating this sequence and the polynucleotide of the present invention into various plasmids or the like may be used as an expression vector.

[0064] The expression vector of the present invention contains an expression control region (e.g., a promoter, a terminator, and/or a replication origin, etc.) depending on the type of a host to be introduced. A conventional promoter (e.g., trc promoter, tac promoter, lac promoter, etc.) is used as the promoter for a bacterial expression vector. As the promoter for yeast, there are used, for example, GAL1 promoter, GAL10 promoter, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase promoter, PH05 promoter, etc. As the promoter for fungi there are used, for example, amylase, trpC, etc. Furthermore, examples of the promoter for expressing the gene of interest in plant cells include cauliflower mosaic virus 35S RNA promoter, rd29A gene promoter, rbcS promoter, mac-1 promoter wherein an enhancer sequence of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S RNA promoter above is added to the 5' end of mannopine synthetase promoter sequence from Agrobacterium, etc. Viral promoter (e.g., SV40 early promoter, SV40 late promoter, etc.) are used as the promoter for animal-derived host cells.

[0065] Preferably, the expression vector contains at least one selection marker. As such a selection marker, there may be used auxotrophic markers (ura5, niaD, TRP1, URA3, HIS3, LEU2), chemical-resistant markers (hygromycin, zeocin), genecitin-resistant gene (G418r), copper-resistant gene (CUP1) (Marin et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 81, p. 337 1984), cerulenin-resistant gene (fas2m, PDR4) (Junji Inokoshi, et al., Biochemistry, 64, p. 660, 1992; and Hussain et al., Gene, 101: p. 149, 1991, respectively), etc.

[0066] A method of preparing (method of producing) the transformant of the present invention is not particularly limited and includes, e.g., a method which comprises introducing the expression vector bearing the polynucleotide of the present invention into a host for transformation.

[0067] The transformant of the present invention is expected to produce the steviol glycoside with a high efficiency. Host cells used for transformation are not particularly limited and various cells can be advantageously used. Examples of the host cells are bacteria such as Escherichia coli, etc., yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, plant cells, animal cells except human, etc.

[0068] Host cells are preferably host cells capable of producing the compound represented by general formula (I). Herein, host cells are not limited to those capable of producing the compound represented by general formula (I) in a natural state, and may be those genetically engineered by known genes so as to be able to produce the compound represented by general formula (I).

[0069] The genes encoding the enzymes that contribute to synthesis of the compound represented by general formula (I) include known genes such as EK13H, UGT74G1 and UGT76G1 (Non-Patent Document 2), but are not limited thereto.

[0070] In the case that the host cell is incapable of producing the compound represented by general formula (I), the compound of general formula (I) or a plant extract containing the compound may be added as a substrate to the culture system of the transformants obtained by introducing the gene of the invention in the host cell, and thus, the steviol glycoside can be produced without introducing the gene encoding the enzyme that contributes to synthesis of the compound represented by general formula (I).

[0071] Furthermore, the polynucleotide of the present invention is expressed in the host cell into which genes encoding the glucosyltransferases responsible for a series of glycoside synthesis from steviol to rebaudioside A have been introduced, thereby highly glycosylated steviol glycosides (e.g., steviolbioside, rebaudioside A, stevioside, rebaudioside B, etc.) can be produced. Examples of the glucosyltransferase involved in a series of glycoside synthesis from steviol to rebaudioside A include UGT85C2 (CDS sequence: SEQ ID NO: 5, amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 6), UGT74G1 (CDS sequence: SEQ ID NO: 7, amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 8), UGT76G1 (CDS sequence: SEQ ID NO: 9, amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 10), etc.

[0072] Culture media and conditions suitable for the host cells above are well known in the art. The organism to be transformed is not particularly limited, and includes various microorganisms, plants and animals other than human, which given as examples of the host cells above.

[0073] For transformation of host cells, there may be used generally known methods. The transformation can be performed by the electroporation method (Mackenzie D. A. et al., Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 66, 4655-4661, 2000), the particle delivery method (JPA 2005-287403), the spheroplast method (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 75 p. 1929 (1978)), the lithium acetate method (the methods described in J. Bacteriology, 153 p. 163 (1983)), Methods in yeast genetics, 2000 Edition: A Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Course Manual, etc.), but is not limited thereto.

[0074] In addition, reference may be made to "Sambrook & Russell, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual Vol. 3, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press 2001," "Methods in Yeast Genetics, A laboratory manual (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY)," etc., for general molecular biological techniques.

[0075] The steviol glycoside can be produced by the transformant through incubation of the transformant thus obtained. As described above, the compound of general formula (I) or a plant extract containing the compound may also be added the culture system of the transformant as a substrate to promote production of the steviol glycoside. The steviol glycoside accumulated may be extracted and purified to give the steviol glycoside of interest.

[0076] Thus, the present invention provides Method 2 for producing the steviol glycoside, which comprises using the transformant of the present invention. Suitable culture media and conditions are well known in the art. The procedures for extraction and purification of the steviol glycoside are already described.

[0077] The steviol glycoside is not particularly limited, and preferably may be one selected from the group consisting of steviolbioside, stevioside, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside B, rebaudioside C, rebaudioside D, rebaudioside E, rebaudioside F, or a combination thereof.

[0078] In a further embodiment of the present invention, the transformant may be a transformant plant. The transformant plant according to this embodiment may be obtained by introducing a recombinant vector comprising the polynucleotide of the present invention into a plant to express a polypeptide encoded by the polynucleotide.

[0079] Where a recombinant expression vector is used, the recombinant expression vector used to transform the plant is not particularly limited as far as the vector is capable of expressing the polynucleotide of the present invention in said plant. Examples of such vectors include a vector bearing a promoter capable of constitutively expressing the polynucleotide in plant cells, and a vector bearing a promoter inducibly activated by external stimulation.

[0080] Examples of the promoter constitutively expressing the polynucleotide in plant cells include 35S RNA promoter of cauliflower mosaic virus, rd29A gene promoter, rbcS promoter, mac-1 promoter, etc.

[0081] Examples of the promoter inducibly activated by external stimulation include mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) promoter, tetracycline-responsive promoter, metallothioinene promoter, heat shock protein promoter, etc.

[0082] Plants that are subject to transformation in the present invention are intended to mean entire plant bodies, plant organs (e.g., leaves, petals, stems, roots, seeds, etc.), plant tissues (e.g., epidermis, phloem, parenchyma, xylem, vascular bundles, palisade tissues, spongy tissues, etc.) or plant culture cells, or may be any of various types of plant cells (e.g., suspension culture cells), protoplasts, leaf slices, calli, and the like. Plant species which are used for transformation are not particularly limited and may be any plant from those belonging to the Monocotyledoneae or the Dicotyledoneae.

[0083] Conventional transformation methods (e.g., the Agrobacterium method, gene gun method, PEG method, electroporation method, etc.) known to those ordinarily skilled in the art are used for gene transfer to plants. For example, the Agrobacterium-mediated method and the method of directly introducing into plant cells are well known. When the Agrobacterium method is used, the plant expression vector constructed is introduced into an appropriate Agrobacterium strain (e.g., Agrobacterium tumefaciens) and this strain is infected to aseptically cultured leaf discs according to the leaf disc method (Hirobumi Uchimiya, Manuals for Plant Gene Manipulation (1990), pp. 27-31, Kodansha Scientific Co., Ltd., Tokyo), etc. to give transgenic plants. The method by Nagel, et al. (Micribiol. Lett., 67: 325 (1990)) may also be used. This method involves introducing first, e.g., an expression vector into Agrobacterium and then introducing the transformed Agrobacterium into plant cells or plant tissues by the method described in Plant Molecular Biology Manual (Gelvin, S.B. et al., Academic Press Publishers). Herein, the "plant tissue" includes calli obtained by culturing plant cells. When the transformation is carried out using the Agrobacterium method, binary vectors (pBI121 or pPZP202, etc.) may be used.

[0084] For direct transfer of genes to plant cells or plant tissues, the electroporation method and the particle gun method are known. When a particle gun is used, plant bodies, plant organs or plant tissues per se may be used, or slices may be prepared and then provided for use, or protoplasts may also be prepared and then provided for use. The samples thus prepared can be bombarded using a gene transfer apparatus (e.g., PDS-1000 (BIO-RAD, Inc.), etc.). Bombardment conditions may vary depending upon plants or samples. Normally, the bombardment is performed under a pressure of about 450 to 2000 psi at a distance of about 4 to 12 cm.

[0085] The cells or plant tissues into which the gene is introduced are first selected for their chemical resistance such as hygromycin resistance, etc. and then regenerated into plant bodies in a conventional manner. Regeneration of plant bodies from the transformants can be performed by methods known to those skilled in the art, depending upon species of plant cells.

[0086] Where a plant culture cell is used as a host, transformation is preformed by introducing the recombinant vector into culture cells by the gene gun method, the electroporation method, etc. Calluses, shoots, hairy roots, etc. resulted from the transformation can be used directly in cell culture, tissue culture or organ culture. Furthermore, they can be regenerated into plant bodies by conventional plant tissue culture methods through administration of plant hormones (e.g., auxin, cytokinin, gibberellin, abscisic acid, ethylene, brassinolide, etc.) at appropriate concentrations.

[0087] Whether or not the polynucleotide of the present invention has been introduced into the plant can be confirmed by PCR, Southern hybridization, northern hybridization or the like. For example, DNA is prepared from the transgenic plant and then DNA-specific primers are designed to perform PCR. PCR can be performed under the same conditions as used for the preparation of plasmids described above. Subsequently, the amplified product is subjected to agarose gel electrophoresis, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, capillary electrophoresis, etc. and stained with ethidium bromide, SYBR Green solution, etc. By detecting the amplified product as a single band, it can be confirmed that the host has been transformed. Alternatively, PCR may be performed using primers previously labeled with a fluorescent dye or the like, and the amplified product can be detected. Furthermore, there may be employed a method which involves binding the amplified product to a solid phase such as a microplate, etc. and then confirming the product by fluorescence or enzyme reactions.

[0088] Once the transgenic plant wherein the polynucleotide of the present invention has been incorporated into the genome is acquired, its progeny can be obtained by sexual or asexual reproduction of the plant body. Furthermore, the plant body can be mass-produced by acquiring from the plant body or its progeny or clones thereof, e.g., seeds, fruits, cut panicles, tubers, tuberous roots, strains, calli, protoplasts, etc., and then using them as the origin. Accordingly, the present invention also encompasses the plant body in which the polynucleotide in accordance with the present invention is expressibly introduced, or progenies of the plant body having the same property as in the plant body, and tissues derived therefrom.

[0089] The transformation methods for various plants are already reported. Examples of the transgenic plants in accordance with the present invention include, but not be limited to, solanaceous plants (e.g., eggplant, tomato, green pepper, potato, tobacco, datura or downy thorn apple, alkakengi, petunia, Calibrachoa sp., nierembergia, etc.), leguminous plants (e.g., soybean, azuki bean, peanut, common bean or Phaseolus vulgaris, broad bean, Lotus japonicus, etc.), rosaceous plants (e.g., strawberry, plum, cherry, rose, blueberry, blackberry, bilberry, cassis, raspberry, Rubus suauissimus, etc.), caryophyllaceous plants (carnation, soap root, etc.), chrysanthemum plants (chrysanthemum, gerbera, sunflower, daisy, stevia, etc.), orchidaceous plants (orchid, etc.), primulaceous plants (cyclamen, etc.), gentianaceous plants (lisianthus, gentian, etc.), iridaceous plants (freesia, iris, gladiolus, etc.), scrophulariaceous plants (antirrhinum, torenia, etc.), Kalanchoe pinnata (Kalanchoe), liliaceous plants (lily, tulip, etc.), convolvulaceous plants (morning glory, cairo morning glory, moonflower, sweet potator, Ipomoea quamoclit, Evolvulus or American blue, etc.), hydrangea plants (hydrangea, deutzia, etc.), cucurbitaceous plants (bottle gourd, etc.), geraniaceous plants (pelargonium, geranium, etc.), oleaceous plants (forsythia, etc.), vitaceous plants (e.g., grapevine, etc.), theaceous plants (camellia, tea, etc.), poaceous plants (e.g., rice plant, barley, wheat, oat, rye, sweet corn, foxtail millet, Japanese millet, kaoliang, sugar cane, bamboo, oat, finger millet, sorghum, Indian rice, Job's tears, pasture grass, etc.), moraceous plants (mulberry, hopvine, kouzo or paper mulberry, rubber tree, Cannabis, etc.), rubiaceous plants (Arabian coffee, gardenia, etc.), fagaceous plants (oak, Buna or Japanese beech, Kashiwa oak, etc.), Pedaliaceae plants (sesame, etc.), rutaceous plants (e.g., daidai orange, yuzu lemon, unshu citrus, Japanese prickly ash), brassicaceous plants (red cabbage, flowering cabbage, Japanese radish, Arabidopsis, rapeseed, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), and Lamiaceae plants (salvia, Japanese basil, lavender, skull cap, etc.). Particularly preferred examples of the plant for transformation include plants that are known to biosynthesize various glycosides using steviol as the aglycon. Such plants include stevia, Rubus suauissimus, and the like.

[0090] The plant transformed by the polynucleotide of the present invention (hereinafter "the plant of the present invention" or "the plant body of the present invention") can produce steviol glycosides in a higher quantity, as compared with its wild type, so long as it has an appropriate substrate or when an appropriate substrate is externally added.

[0091] The plant of the present invention can easily provide a complete plant by cultivating the seeds, cuttings, bulbs, etc. from the plant of the present invention.

[0092] Consequently, the plant of the present invention includes entire plant bodies, plant organs (e.g., leaves, petals, stems, roots, seeds, bulbs, etc.), plant tissues (e.g., epidermis, phloem, parenchyma, xylem, vascular bundles, palisade tissues, spongy tissues, etc.) or plant culture cells, or various types of plant cells (e.g., suspension culture cells), protoplasts, leaf slices, calli, and the like.

4. Extract of the Transformant and Use Thereof



[0093] In a still further embodiment, the present invention provides an extract of the transformant described above. When it has an appropriate substrate or when an appropriate substrate is externally added, the transformant of the present invention is expected to have a high content of steviol glycosides in its extract, as compared with its wild type.

[0094] The transformant of the present invention can be obtained by disrupting the transformant using glass beads, a homogenizer, a sonicator, etc., centrifuging the disrupted product and then recovering the supernatant. An additional step of extraction may also be performed by the procedures for extracting steviol glycosides described above.

[0095] The extract of the transformant of the present invention can be used to produce, e.g., food products, pharmaceuticals, industrial materials, and the like.

[0096] In a yet further embodiment, the present invention provides foods, pharmaceuticals and industrial materials (raw materials for food, etc.) containing the extract of the transformant of the present invention. The foods, pharmaceuticals and industrial materials containing the extract of the transformant of the present invention may be prepared in a conventional manner. As such, the food products, pharmaceuticals, industrial materials, etc., containing the extract of the transformant of the present invention contains the steviol glycoside produced using the transformant of the present invention.

[0097] The food of the present invention includes, for example, a dietary supplement, health food, functional food, food product for young children, geriatric food, etc. As used herein, the food or food product is intended to mean a solid, fluid and liquid food as well as a mixture thereof, and collectively means an edible stuff.

[0098] The term dietary supplement refers to food products enriched with specific nutritional ingredients. The term health food refers to food products that are healthful or good for health, and encompasses dietary supplements, natural foods, diet foods, etc. The term functional food refers to a food product for replenishing nutritional ingredients which assist body control functions. Functional foods are synonymous with foods for specified health use. The term food for young children refers to a food product given to children up to about 6 years old. The term geriatric food refers to a food product treated to facilitate digestion and absorption when compared to untreated foods.

[0099] In the food product of the present invention, the non-caloric steviol glycoside is used as a sweetener. Accordingly, the food product of the present invention is low calorie and have the advantage that contributes to health promotion or health maintenance.

[0100] The shape of these food products may include, for example, bread, noodles, pasta, rice, confectionery (cake, ice cream, ice candy, doughnut, baked cookie, candy, chewing gum, gummy candy and tablet, as well as Japanese confectionery such as rice dumpling, bean paste cake, etc.), agricultural foods such as tofu (soybean curd) and its processed products, etc., fermented foods such as Japanese sake (rice wine), medicinal liquor, mirin (sweet cooking sherry), vinegar, soy sauce, miso (bean paste), etc., livestock food products such as yoghurt, ham, bacon, sausage, etc.; seafood products such as kamaboko (minced and steamed fish), ageten (deep-fried fish cake), hanpen (puffy fish cake), etc., as well as fruit drinks, soft drinks, sports drinks, alcoholic beverages, tea, condiments. The shape of the food products may also include, for example, low-calorie beverage, non-sugar beverage, fruit can, milk beverage, powder beverage, yoghurt, jelly, dressing, men-tsuyu (soy sauce-based seasoning liquid for noodle), Japanese pickle, tsukudani (sea foods boiled in soy sauce), soy sauce, miso (bean paste), shiokara (salted fish guts), Vermont vinegar, pickled shallots in sugared vinegar, sweet pickled ginger, lotus roots pickled in vinegar, Japanese pickles, soy-based sweet sauce for tempura and broiled kabayaki eel, grilled meat sauce, sauce, etc., gum, candy and lollipop, toothpaste, satsuma-age (fried fish cake), dashi-maki (rolled omelet), sauce for pan-fried noodle, sauce for cold noodles, shimesaba (vinegared mackerel fillet), ices, sherbet, soft cream, fish jelly products, refreshments, rice cake, cone cup, seasoned laver, tenkasu (crunchy bits of tempura), furikake (rice seasoning), etc.

[0101] Dosage form of the pharmaceutical (composition) of the present invention is not particularly limited and may be any dosage form including the state of a solution, paste, gel, solid or powder. Also, the pharmaceutical composition of the present invention may be used as topical agents for the skin, including an oil, lotion, cream, emulsion, gel, shampoo, hair rinse, hair conditioner, enamel, foundation, lipstick, face powder, facial pack, ointment, powder, tooth paste, aerosol, cleansing foam, etc., bath agent, medicated tonic, skin beauty essence, sun protectant, etc.

[0102] The pharmaceutical composition of the present invention may further contain other pharmaceutically active components (e.g., antiiflammatory components) or aid components (e.g., lubricant or carrier components).

5. Method for Screening a Plant with a High Content of Steviol Glycosides



[0103] Provided herein is a method for screening a plant with a high content of steviol glycosides. Specifically, the method above comprises steps (1) to (3) below:
  1. (1) a step of extracting mRNA from a test plant;
  2. (2) a step of hybridizing said mRNA or cDNA prepared from said mRNA to a polynucleotide that hybridizes under highly stringent conditions with a polynucleotide consisting of a nucleotide sequence complementary to the polynucleotide of the present disclosure; and,
  3. (3) a step of detecting said hybridization.


[0104] The step (1) described above may be performed by extracting mRNA from a test plant. The site of the test plant, from which mRNA is to be extracted, is not particularly limited and preferably, petals. When mRNA is extracted, cDNA may be prepared from mRNA by reverse transcription.

[0105] The step (2) can be performed by hybridizing the extracted mRNA above under highly stringent conditions using as a probe or primer a polynucleotide or oligonucleotide consisting of a nucleotide sequence complementary to the polynucleotide of the present disclosure. The highly stringent conditions are as described above. The polynucleotide or oligonucleotide has a length of preferably 5 to 500 bp, more preferably, 10 to 200 bp, and most preferably, 10 to 100 bp. The polynucleotide or oligonucleotide may be easily synthesized using various automated synthesizer (e.g., AKTA oligopilot plus 10/100 (GE Healthcare)). Alternatively, the synthesis may also be entrusted to a third-party organization (e.g., Promega Inc., or Takara Co.), etc.

[0106] Where the polynucleotide consisting of the nucleotide sequence complementary to the polynucleotide of the present disclosure is used as a probe in the step (2), the step (3) can be performed by ordinary methods for detecting hybridization, including Southern blotting, northern blotting (Sambrook, Fritsch and Maniatis, "Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual" 2nd Edition (1989), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press), Microarray (Affymetrix Inc.; cf., U. S. Patent Nos. 6,045,996, 5,925,525 and 5,858,659), TaqMan PCR (Sambrook, Fritsch and Maniatis, "Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual" 2nd Edition (1989), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press), Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH) (Sieben V.J. et al., (2007-06). IET Nanobiotechnology 1 (3): 27-35), etc. On the other hand, where the polynucleotide consisting of the nucleotide sequence complementary to the polynucleotide of the present disclosure is used as a primer in the step (2), the hybridization can be detected in the step 3 by performing PCR amplification and analyzing the resulting amplification product through electrophoresis or sequencing (Sambrook, Fritsch and Maniatis, "Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual" 2nd Edition (1989), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press), etc.

[0107] The plant body where hybridization is detected at a higher level is considered to express the protein having the activity of adding the sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of the compound represented by general formula (I) more abundantly compared to other plant bodies, and thus expected to have a higher content of the steviol glycoside.


EXAMPLES


[EXAMPLE 1] Isolation of Candidate Gene for Steviolbioside Glucosyltransferase



[0108] Molecular biological techniques used in this EXAMPLE were performed in accordance with the methods described in Molecular Cloning (Sambrook et al., Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory Press, 2001), unless otherwise specified in detail.

[0109] Based on the sequence of the gene for glucosyltransferase found in stevia leaves, gene search was performed by PCR. To obtain genes highly homologous to UGT91D1 (GENBANK Accession No. AY345980), which was reported to have no activity for steviolmonoside in the prior art (Non-Patent Document 2), PCR was performed with cDNA from stevia leaves using the following primer set (SEQ ID NOS: 3 and 4).

[0110] The cDNA from stevia leaves was obtained by extracting total RNA from stevia leaves using an RNeasy Plant Mini Kit (QIAGEN) and subjecting 0.5 µg of the total RNA to reverse transcription (RT) with Random Oligo-dT primer.

CACC-NdeI-SrUGT91D1-Fw (the underlined portion is the NdeI recognition site):
5'-CACCCATATGTACAACGTTACTTATCATCA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 3)

BamHI-SrUGT91D1-Rv2 (the underlined portion is the BamHI recognition site):
5'-GGATCCTTAACTCTCATGATCGATGGCA -3' (SEQ ID NO: 4)



[0111] A PCR solution (50 µl) had the composition of 1 µl of cDNA from stevia leaves, 1x ExTaq buffer (TaKaRaBio), 0.2 mM dNTPs, 0.4 pmol each/µl of the primers and 2.5U ExTaq polymerase. PCR was performed by reacting at 94°C for 3 minutes, and then amplifying for a total of 30 cycles of the reaction at 94°C for 1 minute, 50°C for 1 minute and 72°C for 2 minutes. The PCR product was electrophoresed on a 0.8% agarose gel, followed by staining with ethidium bromide. As a result, the amplified band was detected at a size of about 1.4 kb, predicted from each template DNA.

[0112] This PCR product was subcloned into a pENTR-TOPO Directional Vector (Invitrogen) by the procedure recommended by the manufacturer. Using a DNA Sequencer model 3100 (Applied Biosystems), primer walking was performed with a synthetic oligonucleotide primer to determine the sequence. The results revealed that four genes highly homologous to UGT91D1 were present. These genes had high homology to known UGT91D1 and were found to be novel UGT genes from stevia with difference sequences. UGT91D-like3, which is one of them, was a novel UGT gene of stevia, showing sequence identity with UGT91D1 at 98% of the DNA level (different in 27 nucleotides) and 95% of the amino acid level (different in 18 residues) (CDS sequence: SEQ ID NO: 1, amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 2).

[EXAMPLE 2] Construction of Expression Vector



[0113] The ORF fragment of about 1.4 kb from UGT91D-like3 was excised using the restriction enzyme sites (the underlined portions of SEQ ID NOS: 3 and 4) of NdeI and BamHI added to the primer, and ligated into the NdeI and BamHI sites of Escherichia coli expression vector pET15b (Novagen, Inc.) to give Escherichia coli expression vector of this enzyme gene. His tag located upstream the NdeI site of the vector matched with the open reading frame of UGT91D-like3 gene; it was designed to express the chimeric protein of UGT91D-like3 fused to His tag.

[EXAMPLE 3] Expression and Purification of Recombinant Protein



[0114] To clarify the biochemical functions of the enzyme, the enzyme was expressed in Escherichia coli. Using the UGT91D-like3 Escherichia coli expression plasmid obtained above, Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) was transformed. The resulting transformants were shake-cultured in 4 ml of LB medium (10 g/l tryptone peptone, 5 g/l yeast extract, 1 g/l NaCl) containing 50 µg/ml of ampicillin at 37°C overnight. When reached the stationary phase, 4 ml of the culture medium was inoculated onto 80 ml of a medium with the same composition, followed by shake culture at 37°C. IPTG was added in a final concentration of 0.5 mM at the point when the cell turbidity (OD600) reached approximately 0.5. Shake culture was continued at 18°C for 20 hours.

[0115] The following procedures were all performed at 4°C. The transformants cultured were collected by centrifugation (5,000 x g, 10 mins.), and suspended by adding 1 ml/g cell of Buffer S [20 mM HEPES buffer (pH 7.5), 20 mM imidazole, 14 mM β-mercaptoethanol]. Subsequently, the suspension was ultrasonicated (15 secs. x 8) and then centrifuged (15,000 x g, 15 mins.). The supernatant obtained was recovered as a crude enzyme solution. The crude enzyme solution was loaded onto His SpinTrap (GE Healthcare), which had been equilibrated with Buffer S, and centrifuged (70x g, 30 secs.). After washing with the buffer, the proteins bound to the column were eluted stepwise with 5 ml each of Buffer S containing100 mM and 500 mM imidazole. In each of the eluted fractions, the buffer was replaced through a Microcon YM-30 (Amicon) by 20 mM HEPES buffer (pH 7.5) and 14 mM β-mercaptoethanol (magnification of dialysis, x1000).

[0116] As a result of CBB staining after the SDS-PAGE separation, the protein was confirmed in the fraction eluted with 500 mM imidazole at approximately 50 KDa of the estimated molecular weight for the chimeric protein of UGT91D-like3 fused to His tag. Accordingly, this fraction was used for the enzyme analysis (FIG. 3).

[EXAMPLE 4] Assay for Enzyme Activity of UGT91D-Like3



[0117] Standard conditions for the enzyme reaction were as follows: A reaction solution (2 mM UDP-glucose, 0.1 mM glycosyl acceptor substrate, 100 mM potassium phosphate buffer (pH 7.0) and 25 µl of purified UGT91D-like3 enzyme solution) was prepared in distilled water to become 50 µl, and reacted at 30°C for an hour. LC-MS analysis was performed for 5 µl of the enzyme reaction solution under the following conditions.

LC conditions

Column: Waters Sunfire C18 3.5um 2.0 mM I.D.x 20 mM

Moving phase: A: MilliQ Water (+0.05% formic acid), B: MeCN

Gradient: linear density gradient from 15% to 55% in B density (20 mins.)

Flow rate: 0.2 ml/min.

Column oven: 40°C

MS conditions

ESI (negative mode)

Selected ion monitoring: m/z 317, 479, 641, 687, 803 and 849



[0118] Steviolmonoside (peak B) was prepared by reacting UGT85C2 and steviol (peak A), and the steviolmonoside was reacted with UGT91D-like3. As a result, a new product (peak C) was detected (FIG. 4: panel 1). This peak was identified as steviolbioside based on the retention time and mass fragmentation pattern. Further reaction with rubusoside (peak D) commercially available gave a new peak E, which was identified as stevioside based on the retention time and mass fragmentation pattern (FIG. 4: panel 2). This peak E was confirmed to be the enzyme product since the peak did not appear when UGT91D-like3 inactivated by thermal denaturation (99°C, 3 mins.) was used (FIG. 4: panel 3). Also, steviolmonoside prepared from steviol by the enzyme reaction contained a small quantity of steviol (peak A) (FIG. 4: panel 1), but when steviol (peak A) was reacted with UGT91D-like3, no product was detected (FIG. 4: panel 4). It was confirmed that UGT91D-like3 had the activity of forming steviolbioside (peak C) by glucosylation of steviolmonoside (peak B). When steviolbioside was used as a substrate, any new product was not detected (FIG. 4: panel 5). In addition, known stevia includes steviol glycosides conjugated with xylose or rhamnose at the 2-position of 13-glucose in steviol (FIG. 1); UGT91D-like3 did not use UDP-xylose as the sugar donor. The foregoing results revealed that UGT91D-like3 is a novel glucosyltransferase having the activity of specifically catalyzing the glucosylation of position 2 of glucose added at the position 13 of steviol.

[EXAMPLE 5] Synthesis of Rebaudioside A from Steviol



[0119] It became clear that UGT91D-like3 found in stevia have the activity of 2-O-glucosylating toward the glucose at the C13-position of steviolmonoside to form steviolbioside and the activity of 2-O-glucosylating toward the glucose at the C13-position of rubusoside to form stevioside. This finding revealed a glucosyltransferase in the biosynthetic pathway to natural sweetener rebaudioside A through glucosylation from steviol four times (FIG. 2).

[0120] In order to verify if expression of four of UGT85C2 (CDS sequence: SEQ ID NO: 5, amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 6), UGT91D-like3 (CDS sequence: SEQ ID NO: 1, amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 2), UGT74G1 (CDS sequence: SEQ ID NO: 7, amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 8) and UGT76G1 (CDS sequence: SEQ ID NO: 9, amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 10) is actually necessary and sufficient for biosynthesis of rebaudioside A, it was attempted to express these four glucosyltransferase (UGT) genes in yeast.

[0121] Each of the UGT genes was amplified from cDNA of stevia leaves by PCR using the following primer set.

Primer set for UGT85C2 gene amplification

CACC-NdeI-SrUGT85C2-Fw (the underlined portion is the NdeI recognition site):
5'-CACCCATATGGATGCAATGGCTACAACTGAGAA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 11)

BglII-SrUGT85C2-Rv (the underlined portion is the BglII recognition site):
5'-AGATCTCTAGTTTCTTGCTAGCACGGTGATTT-3' (SEQ ID NO: 12)

Primer set for UGT91D-like3 gene amplification
CACC-NdeI-SrUGT91D1-Fw (the underlined portion is the NdeI recognition site):

5'-CACCCATATGTACAACGTTACTTATCATCA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 3)

5'-GGATCCTTAACTCTCATGATCGATGGCA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 4)

Primer set for UGT74G1 gene amplification
CACC-NdeI-SrUGT74G1-Fw (the underlined portion is the NdeI recognition site):
5-CACCCATATGGCGGAACAACAAAAGATCAAGAAAT-3' (SEQ ID NO: 13)

BamHI-SrUGT74G1-Rv (the underlined portion is the BamHI recognition site):
5'-GGATCCTTAAGCCTTAATTAGCTCACTTACAAATT-3' (SEQ ID NO: 14)

Primer set for UGT76G1 gene amplification

CACC-NdeI-SrUGT76G1-Fw (the underlined portion is the NdeI recognition site):
5'-CACCCATATGGAAAATAAAACGGAGACCA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 15)

BamHI-SrUGT76G1-Rv (the underlined portion is the BamHI recognition site):
5'-GGATCCTTACAACGATGAAATGTAAGAAACTA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 16)



[0122] A PCR solution (50 µl) had the composition of 1 µl of cDNA from stevia leaves, 1x KOD plus buffer (TOYOBO), 0.2 mM dNTPs, 0.4 pmol each/µl of the primers, 1 mM MgSO4 and 1U thermostable KOD plus polymerase. PCR was performed by reacting at 95°C for 5 minutes, and then amplifying for a total of 30 cycles of the reaction at 94°C for 0.5 minutes, 50°C for 0.5 minutes and 68°C for 2 minutes. Each PCR product was subjected to electrophoresis on a 0.8% agarose gel, followed by staining with ethidium bromide. As a result, the amplified band was detected at a size of about 1.4 kb, predicted from each template DNA.

[0123] This PCR product was subcloned into a pENTR-TOPO Directional Vector (Invitrogen) by the procedure recommended by the manufacturer. Using a DNA Sequencer model 3100 (Applied Biosystems), primer walking was performed with a synthetic oligonucleotide primer to determine the sequence. It was thus confirmed that the UGT genes, namely, all UGT genes of UGT85C2, UGT91D-like3, UGT74G1 and UGT76G1, were successfully cloned.

[0124] The following primer set was designed to incorporate these four UGT genes into yeast expression vector.

SrUGT85C2 Set

Bgl2-UGT85C2-F (the underlined portion is the BglII recognition site):
5'-ACAGATCTATGGATGCAATGGCTACAACTGAGA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 17)

Sal-UGT85C2-R(the underlined portion is the SalI recognition site):
5'-TAGTCGACTAGTTTCTTGCTAGCACGGTGATTTC-3' (SEQ ID NO: 18)

SrUGT91D-like3 Set

NotI-UGT91DIL3-F (the underlined portion is the NotI recognition site):
5'-AAGCGGCCGCATGTACAACGTTACTTATCATCAAAATTCAAA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 19)

Pac-UGT91D1L3-R (the underlined portion is the PacI recognition site):
5'-CGTTAATTAACTCTCATGATCGATGGCAACC-3' (SEQ ID NO: 20) SrUGT74G1 Set

Not-UGT74G1-F (the underlined portion is the NotI recognition site):
5'-AAGCGGCCGCATGGCGGAACAACAAAAGATCAAG-3' (SEQ ID NO: 21)

Pac-UGT74G1-R (the underlined portion is the PacI recognition site):
5'-CGTTAATTAAGCCTTAATTAGCTCACTTACAAATTCG-3' (SEQ ID NO: 22)

SrUGT76G1 Set

Bam-UGT76G1-F (the underlined portion is the BamHI recognition site):
5AAGGATCCATGGAAAATAAAACGGAGACCACCG-3' (SEQ ID NO: 23)

Sal-UGT76G1-R(the underlined portion is the SalI recognition site):
5'-GCGTCGACTTACAACGATGAAATGTAAGAAACTAGAGACTCTAA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 24)



[0125] In the combination of the following primers:

SrUGT85C2 set using UGT85C2 as a template,

SrUGT91D-like3 set using UGT91D-like 3 as a template,

SrUGT74G1 set using UGT74G1 as a template, or,

SrUGT76G1 set using UGT76G1 as a template,

PCR was performed for amplification using a thermostable KOD DNA polymerase (Toyobo) to insert the restriction enzyme site into both ends of each ORF. The DNA fragment obtained was subcloned using a Zero Blunt-TOPO PCR Cloning kit (Invitrogen). The sequence was determined by primer walking with a synthetic oligonucleotide primer using a DNA Sequencer Model 3100 (Applied Biosystems); it was confirmed that the UGT genes of interest were cloned, respectively.



[0126] Using a pESC yeast expression system (Stratagene), the following expression vector was constructed to express the four UGT genes described above simultaneously.

(1) Construction of plasmid pESC-URA-UGT-1



[0127] UGT85C2 was excised with restriction enzyme BglII and restriction enzyme SalI, and ligated to the product resulting from cleavage of vector pESC-URA (Stratagene) with restriction enzyme BamHI and restriction enzyme SalI to give plasmid pESC-URA-UGT-1. The product resulting from cleavage of this plasmid pESC-URA-UGT-1 with restriction enzyme NotI and restriction enzyme PacI was ligated to the product from cleavage of UGT91D-like3 with restriction enzyme NotI and restriction enzyme PacI to give pESC-URA-UGT-12.

(2) Construction of plasmid pESC-HIS-UGT-34



[0128] UGT76G1 was excised with restriction enzyme BamHI and restriction enzyme SalI, and ligated to the product resulting from cleavage of vector pESC-HIS (Stratagene) with the same restriction enzymes to give plasmid pESC-HIS-UGT-4. The product resulting from cleavage of this plasmid pESC-HIS-UGT-4 with restriction enzyme NotI and restriction enzyme PacI was ligated to the product from cleavage of UGT74G1 with NotI and PacI to give pESC-HIS-UGT34.

Transformation of Yeast



[0129] Saccharomyces cerevisiae YPH500 (ura3-52 lys2-801amber ade2-101ochre trp1-Δ63 his3-Δ200 leu2-Δ1 α) as a host was transformed with plasmids pESC-URA-UGT-12 and pESC-HIS-UGT-34 by the lithium acetate method. The transformants that grew in SC-Ura&His agar medium (6.7 g of yeast nitrogen base without amino acids, 20 g of glucose, 1.3 g of Amino Acid Mix Powder -Ura&His and 20 g of Bacto agar per 1L) were selected to name UGT-1234 strain #1, UGT-1234 strain #2. Amino Acid Mix Powder -Ura&His was prepared by blending 2.5 g of adenine sulfate, 1.2 g of L-arginine hydrochloride, 6.0 g of L-aspartic acid, 6.0 g of L-glutamic acid, 3.6 g of L-leucine, 1.8 g of L-lysine, 1.2 g of L-methionine, 3.0 g of L-phenylalanine, 22.5 g of L-serine, 12 g of L-threonine, 2.4 g of L-tryptophane, 1.8 g of L-tyrosine, and 9.0 g of L-valine. On the other hand, transformation was carried out in the same manner as described above using vector pESC-URA and vector pESC-HIS. The resulting transformant was used as the control strain.

Induction and analysis of transferase gene expression



[0130] The transformants UGT-1234 strain #1, UGT-1234 strain #2 and control strain obtained were cultured as follows. First as a pre-culture, each transformant was inoculated into 10 ml of SC-Ura&His liquid medium (SC-Ura&His agar medium without Bacto agar), and shake cultured at 30°C for a day. Next, 1 ml of the pre-culture broth was taken for main culture and inoculated into 10 ml of SG-Ura&His liquid medium (6.7 g of Yeast nitrogen base without amino acids, 20 g of galactose and 1.3 g of Amino Acid Mix Powder -Ura&His per 1 L), followed by shake culture at 30°C for a day.

[0131] In order to confirm if expression of the four UGT genes was induced, the cells were collected from the culture broth and total RNA was purified using a RNeasy Mini Kit.

[0132] The total RNA (1 µg) was taken and used to synthesize cDNA by Super Script II reverse transcriptase (Invitrogen), using a random hexamer as a primer.

[0133] In order to confirm expression of the four UGT genes, the following primers were prepared.

[0134] For confirmation of UGT85C2 expression
UGT85C2-r1:
5'-CAAGTCCCCAACCAAATTCCGT-3' (SEQ ID NO: 25)

[0135] For confirmation of UGT91D-like3 expression
UGT91D1L3-r1 :
5'-CACGAACCCGTCTGGCAACTC-3' (SEQ ID NO: 26)

[0136] For confirmation of UGT74G1 expression
UGT74G1-r1:
5'-CCCGTGTGATTTCTTCCACTTGTTC-3' (SEQ ID NO: 27)

[0137] For confirmation of UGT76G1 expression
UGT76G1-r1:
5'-CAAGAACCCATCTGGCAACGG-3' (SEQ ID NO: 28)

[0138] GAL10p region (promoter region)
PGAL10-f3:
5'-GATTATTAAACTTCTTTGCGTCCATCCA-3' (SEQ ID NO: 29)

[0139] GAL1p region (promoter region)
PGAL1-f3:
5'-CCTCTATACTTTAACGTCAAGGAGAAAAAACC-3' (SEQ ID NO: 30)

[0140] It was confirmed by PCR with the combination of primers of the following SEQ ID NOS, using the previously synthesized cDNA as a template using an ExTaq (Takara Bio) that each UGT gene was expressed:

UGT85C2: UGT85C2-r1 (SEQ ID NO: 25) and PGAL1-f3 (SEQ ID NO: 30);

UGT91D-like3: UGT91D1L3-r1 (SEQ ID NO: 26) and PGAL10-f3 (SEQ ID NO: 29) ;

UGT74G1: UGT74G1-r1 (SEQ ID NO: 27) and PGAL1-f3 (SEQ ID NO: 30);

UGT76G1: UGT76G1-r1 (SEQ ID NO: 28) and PGAL10-f3 (SEQ ID NO: 29).



[0141] The PCR products of expected sizes were obtained, respectively, in UGT-1234 strain #1 and UGT-1234 strain #2, whereas in the control strain, no PCR product was obtained. It was confirmed by this that the four UGT genes introduced were all expressed in UGT-1234 strain #1, UGT-1234 strain #2.

Production of steviol glycoside



[0142] Culture was performed under the same conditions as in "Induction and analysis of transferase gene expression" described above, except that 0.5 µg of steviol (ChromaDex Inc.) was added per 1 ml of the medium for main culture. After completion of the culture, the culture broth was centrifuged to separate the supernatant and the cells. The cells were suspended in water, disrupted with glass beads and then centrifuged to recover the supernatant. The cell-disrupted supernatant and the culture supernatant were washed with acetonitrile, respectively, and then passed through a Sep-Pak C18 column, which had been equilibrated with water. After washing with 20% acetonitrile, elution was performed with 50% acetonitrile. After drying to harden, the product was dissolved in a small quantity of acetonitrile to prepare a glycoside sample. This glycoside sample was provided for subsequent analysis.

Confirmation of the products by thin layer chromatography (TLC)



[0143] The glycoside samples described above were applied to a silica gel plate for TLC (Merck) and developed using chloroform : methanol: water=65: 35: 10 (lower layer) as a developing solvent. After development, 5% sulfuric acid was sprayed, followed by heating on a plate at 120°C for 5 to 10 minutes. As a result, spots considered to be steviolmonoside, steviolbioside, rubusoside, stevioside and rebaudioside A were confirmed in the supernatant samples of UGT-1234 strain #1 and UGT-1234 strain #2. On the other hand, any spot considered to be the glycoside of any steviol was not confirmed in the cell-disrupted supernatant samples of UGT-1234 strain #1 and UGT-1234 strain #2, the cell-disrupted supernatant sample of the control strain and the culture supernatant sample.

Confirmation of the products by LC-MS



[0144] Next, the glycoside samples described above were subjected to LC-MS analysis under the following conditions for analysis.

LC conditions



[0145] Column: CAPCELL PAK C18 (5 µm, 2.0 mM I.D.x 150 mM)
Moving phase: A : MilliQ Water (+0.05% formic acid), B: acetonitrile 15% - 67% B/(A+B) for 26 mins.
Flow rate: 0.2 ml/min.
Column temperature: 40°C
Volume injected: 5 µl

MS conditions



[0146] Analysis mode: selected ion monitoring (negative)
Selected ion monitoring: m/z 849, 803, 687, 641, 479, 317, 965

[0147] As a result of the analysis, steviol glycosides were detected specifically in independent two strains of the transformed yeast (FIG. 5II: UGT-1234 strain #1: peak A shows steviol added as a substrate). It was revealed that these glycosides were steviolmonoside (FIG. 5 II: peak B), steviolbioside (FIG. 5 II: peak C), rubusoside (FIG. 5: peak D), rebaudioside B (FIG. 5 II: peak E), stevioside (FIG. 5 II: peak F) and A rebaudioside A (FIG. 5 II: peak G) from their retention times and MS values. A strain into which the vector alone was introduced (negative control) was subjected to the same analysis but these glycosides were not substantially detected (FIG. 5I).

[0148] It is thus considered that the glycosides would be secreted into the medium after synthesis in the cells.

[0149] The results of EXAMPLES 4 and 5 indicate that rebaudioside A can be produced in yeast from steviol by the four UGT enzymes.

[EXAMPLE 6] Comparison in Activity between Recombinant Proteins


Expression of UGT91D2e protein



[0150] The enzyme activities were compared and evaluated between UGT91D-like3 of the invention and UGT91D2e (CDS sequence: SEQ ID NO: 31, amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 32) described in the prior art publication (Patent Document 3).

[0151] As given below, the Escherichia coli expression construct of UGT91D2e was prepared, and the enzyme activities of UGT91D2e and UGT91D-like3 were evaluated by the same manner as in EXAMPLES 3 and 4.

[0152] Upon cloning of UGT91D2e, amplification by PCR was performed with specific primers of SEQ ID NO: 33 and SEQ ID NO: 34, using the above UGT91D-like3 as a template. The UGT91D2e fragment amplified was inserted into a pET15b expression vector using a GeneArt Seamless System (Life Technologies Corp.) by the method recommended by the manufacturer. After confirming the correct nucleotide sequence of the inserted fragment by sequencing, the Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) strain (Life Technologies Corp.) was transformed with this expression plasmid to express UGT91D2e as a HisTag fusion protein.

SrUGT91D1-3-Art-NdeI-FW (the underlined is the NdeI recognition site):
5'-GTGCCGCGCGGCAGCCATATGGCTACCAGTGACTCCATAG-3' (SEQ ID NO: 33)

SrUGT91D1-3-Art-BamHI-RV (the underlined is the BamHI recognition site):
5'-CTTTGTTAGCAGCCGGATCCTTAACTCTCATGATCGATGGCAAC-3' (SEQ ID NO: 34)


Detection of the expression proteins by Western blotting



[0153] The HisTag fusion UGT91D2e protein and the HisTag fusion UGT91D-like3 protein described above were purified in the same manner as in EXAMPLE 3 by passing the supernatant fraction of Escherichia coli cell lysate through the HisSpinTrap column. The purified protein fraction eluted with 500 mM imidazole was subjected to electrophoresis in acrylamide gel Multi-MiniGel II (10/20) (Cosmo Bio Co.) (30V, 60 mins.). The protein on the electrophoresis gel was blotted to an Immobilon-P Membrane (Millipore Corp.) according onto the procedure described below.

[0154] The electrophoresis gel was equilibrated with a blotting buffer (5.82 g of Tris, 2.93 g of glycine, 200 ml of methanol and 1 ml of 10% (v/v) SDS were diluted with water to make 1L) for 20 minutes, and then blotted to a membrane, which had been previously immersed in the blotting buffer using a blotting machine Trans-Blot SD Semi-Dry Transfer Cell (BioRad Inc.), at 15V over 30 minutes.

[0155] After blotting, the membrane was gently washed with TBS-T buffer (TBS Buffer: to 500 ml of 1M Tris-HCl was added87.5 g of NaCl, the mixture was diluted with and dissolved in water to make 1L, and 0.1% (v/v) Tween 20 was then added to the solution), followed by blocking with TBS-T buffer containing 1% (w/v) skimmed milk for an hour. Subsequently, the membrane was washed gently with TBS-T buffer.

[0156] The anti-His monoclonal antibody/mouse (Novagen, Inc.) was diluted with TBS-T buffer to 1000-fold. The dilution was applied onto the protein-blotted surface to spread over the entire membrane surface and incubated at room temperature for an hour (primary antibody treatment). Thereafter, the membrane was gently rinsed with TBS-T buffer, and then washed three times with TBS-T buffer for 5 minutes each.

[0157] Next, the anti-mouse IgG antibody (horse radish peroxidase-linked) (GE Healthcare) was diluted with TBS-T buffer to 50000-fold, and the primary antibody-treated membrane was soaked in the dilution, followed by gentle shaking at room temperature for an hour (secondary antibody treatment). Then, the membrane was gently rinsed with TBS-T buffer. Washing with TBS-T buffer for 5 minutes was repeated 3 times.

[0158] Detection was performed according to the procedure recommended by the manufacturer using an Amersham ECL-Prime Western Blotting Detection Reagents Kit (GE Healthcare). The blotting surface was treated with detection reagents and incubated at room temperature for 5 minutes to detect the expression protein with a ChemiDoc XRS+ System (BioRad Inc.) (FIG. 6). No band was detected in the pET15 vector control, but in UGT91D-like3, a band was detected at a slightly larger size than 50 kDa, as predicted from the amino acid sequence. Similarly, a band was detected in UGT91D2e at a slightly smaller size than in UGT91D-like3, which was confirmed to be expressed as the 12 amino acid-short protein. The partial sequences of UGT91D1, UGT91D-like3 and UGT91D2e at the N-terminal sites are shown in FIG. 7.

Comparison in relative enzyme activity



[0159] The enzyme activities were compared between the purified proteins of UGT91D-like3 and UGT91D2e expressed in Escherichia coli. Using rubusoside as substrate, the comparison was made under the same enzyme reaction conditions and analysis conditions as in EXAMPLE 4. A relative enzyme activity was calculated by dividing the amount of stevioside produced by the amount of the protein provided for the reaction. As a result, UGT91D-like3 showed 167% when the glucosylation activity of UGT91D2e was made 100%. The results indicate that the relative enzyme activity of UGT91D-like3 per protein amount was higher by 67% than UGT91D2e.

[0160] Considering that the full length UGT91D-like3 protein is 485 amino acid residues, it is an extremely remarkable effect that the activity was increased even by 67% due to the presence of only 12 residues (percentage of the total residues:


Results



[0161] As is clear from the sequence comparison with other glucosyltransferases including UGT91D1, UGT91D-like3 is considered as a full-length glucosyltransferase involved in glucosylations of steviol glycosides. In addition, it was experimentally demonstrated that UGT91D-like3 possesses a relative enzyme activity with 67% higher than UGT91D2e due to the presence of N-terminal 12 amino acids.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY



[0162] According to the present invention, the C2-hydroxy group of the glucose at the C13-position of steviolmonoside and rubusoside can be glycosylated using the UGT91D-like3 gene and the sweetness and quality of taste steviol glycosides can be improved. The present disclosure has clarified the whole picture of the biosynthetic pathway up to rebaudioside A, and provides a molecular tool for producing non-caloric natural sweeteners rebaudioside A, stevioside and other analogous compounds not only in plants but also in microorganisms.

[Sequence listing free text]



[0163] 

SEQ ID NO: 3: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 4: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 11: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 12: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 13: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 14: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 15: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 16: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 17: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 18: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 19: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 20: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 21: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 22: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 23: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 24: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 25: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 26: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 27: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 28: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 29: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 30: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 33: synthetic DNA

SEQ ID NO: 34: synthetic DNA


[Sequence listing]


SEQUENCE LISTING



[0164] 

<110> SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED

<120> Steviol Glycosyltransferase and Gene Thereof

<130> PCT12-0056

<150> JP 2012-060473
<151> 2012-03-16

<160> 34

<170> Patentln version 3. 5

<210> 1
<211> 1458
<212> DNA
<213> Stevia rebaudiana

<220>
<221> CDS
<222> (1).. (1458)

<400> 1







<210> 2
<211> 485
<212> PRT
<213> Stevia rebaudiana

<400> 2







<210> 3
<211> 30
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 3
cacccatatg tacaacgtta cttatcatca   30

<210> 4
<211> 28
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 4
ggatccttaa ctctcatgat cgatggca   28

⟨210⟩ 5

⟨211⟩ 1446

⟨212⟩ DNA

⟨213⟩ Stevia rebaudiana

⟨220⟩

<221> CDS
<222> (1).. (1446)

<400> 5







<210> 6
⟨211⟩ 481

⟨212⟩ PRT

<213> Stevia rebaudiana

<400> 6







⟨210⟩ 7

<211> 1383
⟨212⟩ DNA

⟨213⟩ Stevia rebaudiana

⟨220⟩

<221> CDS
<222> (1).. (1383)
⟨400⟩ 7







⟨210⟩ 8

⟨211⟩ 460

⟨212⟩ PRT

⟨213⟩ Stevia rebaudiana

⟨400⟩ 8







<210> 9
<211> 1377
<212> DNA
<213> Stevia rebaudiana

<220>
<221> CDS
<222> (1).. (1377)

<400> 9







<210> 10
⟨211⟩ 458

<212> PRT
⟨213⟩ Stevia rebaudiana

<400> 10







<210> 11
<211> 33
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 11
cacccatatg gatgcaatgg ctacaactga gaa   33

<210> 12
<211> 32
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 12
agatctctag tttcttgcta gcacggtgat tt   32

<210> 13
<211> 35
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 13
cacccatatg gcggaacaac aaaagatcaa gaaat   35

<210> 14
<211> 35
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 14
ggatccttaa gccttaatta gctcacttac aaatt   35

<210> 15
<211> 29
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 15
cacccatatg gaaaataaaa cggagacca   29

<210> 16
<211> 32
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 16
ggatccttac aacgatgaaa tgtaagaaac ta   32

<210> 17
<211> 33
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 17
acagatctat ggatgcaatg gctacaactg aga   33

<210> 18
<211> 34
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 18
tagtcgacta gtttcttgct agcacggtga tttc   34

<210> 19
<211> 42
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 19
aagcggccgc atgtacaacg ttacttatca tcaaaattca aa   42

<210> 20
<211> 31
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 20
cgttaattaa ctctcatgat cgatggcaac c   31

<210> 21
<211> 34
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 21
aagcggccgc atggcggaac aacaaaagat caag   34

<210> 22
<211> 37
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 22
cgttaattaa gccttaatta gctcacttac aaattcg   37

<210> 23
<211> 33
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 23
aaggatccat ggaaaataaa acggagacca ccg   33

<210> 24
<211> 44
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 24
gcgtcgactt acaacgatga aatgtaagaa actagagact ctaa   44

<210> 25
<211> 22
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 25
caagtcccca accaaattcc gt   22

<210> 26
<211> 21
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 26
cacgaacccg tctggcaact c   21

<210> 27
<211> 25
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 27
cccgtgtgat ttcttccact tgttc   25

<210> 28
<211> 21
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 28
caagaaccca tctggcaacg g   21

<210> 29
<211> 28
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 29
gattattaaa cttctttgcg tccatcca   28

<210> 30
<211> 32
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 30
cctctatact ttaacgtcaa ggagaaaaaa cc   32

<210> 31
<211> 1422
<212> DNA
<213> Stevia rebaudiana

<220>
<221> CDS
<222> (1).. (1422)

<400> 31









<210> 32
<211> 473
<212> PRT
<213> Stevia rebaudiana

<400> 32







<210> 33
<211> 40
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 33
gtgccgcgcg gcagccatat ggctaccagt gactccatag   40

<210> 34
<211> 44
<212> DNA
<213> Artificial Sequence

<220>
<223> Synthetic DNA

<400> 34
ctttgttagc agccggatcc ttaactctca tgatcgatgg caac   44




Claims

1. A method for producing a steviol glycoside, which comprises the step of reacting a protein with a UDP-sugar and a compound shown by general formula (I) below:

wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue;
wherein the protein is a protein according to any one selected from the group consisting of (a) to (c) below:

(a) a protein consisting of the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID NO: 2;

(b) a protein consisting of an amino acid sequence wherein 1 to 5 amino acids are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below; and,

(c) a protein having an amino acid sequence having at least 99% sequence identity with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below:

wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue.


 
2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the sugar in the UDP-sugar is glucose.
 
3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the steviol glycoside is steviolbioside, stevioside, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside B, rebaudioside C, rebaudioside D, rebaudioside E, rebaudioside F, or a combination thereof.
 
4. A protein according to any one selected from the group consisting of (a) to (c) below:

(a) a protein consisting of the amino acid sequences of SEQ ID NO: 2;

(b) a protein consisting of an amino acid sequence wherein 1 to 5 amino acids are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below; and,

(c) a protein having an amino acid sequence having at least 99% sequence identity with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below:

wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue.


 
5. The protein according to claim 4, wherein the sugar molecule is a hexose.
 
6. The protein according to claim 4 or 5, wherein the sugar molecule is one selected from the group consisting of glucose, mannose and galactose.
 
7. The protein according to any one of claims 4 to 6, wherein said R1 is H or the sugar residue which is a glucose monomer or a glucose dimer.
 
8. The protein according to any one of claims 4 to 7, wherein the compound is steviolmonoside or rubusoside.
 
9. A polynucleotide according to any one selected from the group consisting of (a) to (d) below:

(a) a polynucleotide comprising the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1;

(b) a polynucleotide encoding a protein consisting of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2;

(c) a polynucleotide encoding a protein consisting of an amino acid sequence wherein 1 to 5 amino acids are deleted, substituted, inserted and/or added in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below;

(d) a polynucleotide encoding a protein having an amino acid sequence having at least 99% sequence identity with the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2, and having an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below;

wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue.


 
10. The polynucleotide according to claim 9, wherein the sugar molecule is a hexose.
 
11. The polynucleotide according to claim 9, wherein the sugar molecule is one selected from the group consisting of glucose, mannose and galactose.
 
12. The polynucleotide according to claim 9, wherein said R1 is H or the sugar residue which is a glucose monomer or a glucose dimer.
 
13. The polynucleotide according to claim 9, wherein the compound is steviolmonoside or rubusoside.
 
14. A non-human transformant, into which the polynucleotide according to claim 9 is introduced.
 
15. The transformant according to claim 14, wherein the polynucleotide is inserted into an expression vector.
 
16. The transformant according to claim 14, which is a plant.
 
17. An extract from the transformant according to claim 14.
 
18. A food, pharmaceutical composition or industrial material comprising the extract according to claim 17.
 
19. A method for producing a protein, which comprises culturing the non-human transformant according to claim 14 wherein the protein has an activity of adding a sugar molecule to the glucose at position 13 of a compound represented by general formula (I) below:

wherein, R1 represents H, a C1-C20 alkyl, a C2-C20 alkenyl, a C2-C20 alkynyl, a C4-C20 alkyldienyl, a C6-C18 aryl, a C6-C20 alkylaryl, a C6-C20 arylalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkyl, a C4-C20 cycloalkenyl, a (C3-C10 cycloalkyl) C1-C10 alkyl, or a sugar residue.
 
20. A method for producing a steviol glycoside, which comprises using the non-human transformant according to claim 14.
 
21. The method according to claim 20, wherein the steviol glycoside is steviolbioside, stevioside, rebaudioside A, rebaudioside B, rebaudioside C, rebaudioside D, rebaudioside E, rebaudioside F, or a combination thereof.
 
22. The method according to claim 20, wherein the non-human transformant expresses at least one gene selected from the group consisting of UGT85C2 gene, UGT74G1 gene and UGT76G1 gene, and the steviol glycosides produced are steviolbioside, rebaudioside A, stevioside and rebaudioside B.
 


Ansprüche

1. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines Steviolglycosids, das den Schritt des In-Reaktion-Bringens eines Proteins mit einem UDP-Zucker und einer Verbindung umfasst, die durch die allgemeine Formel (I) unten gezeigt ist:

wobei R1 H, ein C1-C20-Alkyl, ein C2-C20-Alkenyl, ein C2-C20-Alkinyl, ein C4-C20-Alkyldienyl, ein C6-C18-Aryl, ein C6-C20-Alkylaryl, ein C6-C20-Arylalkyl, ein C4-C20-Cycloalkyl, ein C4-C20-Cycloalkenyl, ein (C3-C10-Cycloalkyl)-C1-C10-Alkyl oder einen Zuckerrest darstellt;
wobei das Protein ein Protein ist, ausgewählt aus der Gruppe bestehend aus (a) bis (c) unten:

(a) einem Protein, das aus den Aminosäuresequenzen von SEQ ID NO:2 besteht;

(b) einem Protein, das aus einer Aminosäuresequenz, wobei 1 bis 5 Aminosäuren in der Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NO:2 deletiert, substituiert, eingefügt und/oder hinzugefügt sind, besteht und das eine Aktivität des Hinzufügens eines Zuckermoleküls zur Glucose an Position 13 einer Verbindung aufweist, die durch die allgemeine Formel (I) unten dargestellt ist; und

(c) einem Protein, das eine Aminosäuresequenz aufweist, die mindestens 99% Sequenzidentität mit der Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NO:2 aufweist, und das eine Aktivität des Hinzufügens eines Zuckermoleküls zur Glucose an Position 13 einer Verbindung aufweist, die durch die allgemeine Formel (I) unten dargestellt ist:

wobei R1 H, ein C1-C20-Alkyl, ein C2-C20-Alkenyl, ein C2-C20-Alkinyl, ein C4-C20-Alkyldienyl, ein C6-C18-Aryl, ein C6-C20-Alkylaryl, ein C6-C20-Arylalkyl, ein C4-C20-Cycloalkyl, ein C4-C26-Cycloalkenyl, ein (C3-C10-Cycloalkyl)-C1-C10-Alkyl oder einen Zuckerrest darstellt.


 
2. Das Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Zucker in dem UDP-Zucker Glucose ist.
 
3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei das Steviolglycosid Steviolbiosid, Steviosid, Rebaudiosid A, Rebaudiosid B, Rebaudiosid C, Rebaudiosid D, Rebaudiosid E, Rebaudiosid F oder eine Kombination davon ist.
 
4. Protein, ausgewählt aus der Gruppe bestehend aus (a) bis (c) unten:

(a) einem Protein, das aus den Aminosäuresequenzen von SEQ ID NO:2 besteht;

(b) einem Protein, das aus einer Aminosäuresequenz, wobei 1 bis 5 Aminosäuren in der Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NO:2 deletiert, substituiert, eingefügt und/oder hinzugefügt sind, besteht und das eine Aktivität des Hinzufügens eines Zuckermoleküls zur Glucose an Position 13 einer Verbindung aufweist, die durch die allgemeine Formel (I) unten dargestellt ist; und

(c) einem Protein, das eine Aminosäuresequenz aufweist, die mindestens 99% Sequenzidentität mit der Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NO:2 aufweist, und das eine Aktivität des Hinzufügens eines Zuckermoleküls zur Glucose an Position 13 einer Verbindung aufweist, die durch die allgemeine Formel (I) unten dargestellt ist:

wobei R1 H, ein C1-C20-Alkyl, ein C2-C20-Alkenyl, ein C2-C20-Alkinyl, ein C4-C20-Alkyldienyl, ein C6-C18-Aryl, ein C6-C20-Alkylaryl, ein C6-C20-Arylalkyl, ein C4-C20-Cycloalkyl, ein C4-C26-Cycloalkenyl, ein (C3-C10-Cycloalkyl)-C1-C10-Alkyl oder einen Zuckerrest darstellt.


 
5. Protein nach Anspruch 4, wobei das Zuckermolekül eine Hexose ist.
 
6. Protein nach Anspruch 4 oder 5, wobei das Zuckermolekül eines ist, das ausgewählt ist aus der Gruppe bestehend aus Glucose, Mannose und Galactose.
 
7. Protein nach einem der Ansprüche 4 bis 6, wobei das R1 H oder der Zuckerrest ist, der ein Glucosemonomer oder ein Glucosedimer ist.
 
8. Protein nach einem der Ansprüche 4 bis 7, wobei die Verbindung Steviolmonosid oder Rubusosid ist.
 
9. Polynucleotid, ausgewählt aus der Gruppe bestehend aus (a) bis (d) unten:

(a) einem Polynucleotid, das die Nucleotidsequenz von SEQ ID NO:1 umfasst;

(b) einem Polynucleotid, das ein Protein codiert, das aus der Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NO:2 besteht;

(c) einem Polynucleotid, das ein Protein codiert, das aus einer Aminosäuresequenz, wobei 1 bis 5 Aminosäuren in der Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NO:2 deletiert, substituiert, eingefügt und/oder hinzugefügt sind, besteht und das eine Aktivität des Hinzufügens eines Zuckermoleküls zur Glucose an Position 13 einer Verbindung aufweist, die durch die allgemeine Formel (I) unten dargestellt ist;

(d) einem Polynucleotid, das ein Protein codiert, das eine Aminosäuresequenz aufweist, die mindestens 99% Sequenzidentität mit der Aminosäuresequenz von SEQ ID NO:2 aufweist, und das eine Aktivität des Hinzufügens eines Zuckermoleküls zur Glucose an Position 13 einer Verbindung aufweist, die durch die allgemeine Formel (I) unten dargestellt ist;

wobei R1 H, ein C1-C20-Alkyl, ein C2-C20-Alkenyl, ein C2-C20-Alkinyl, ein C4-C20-Alkyldienyl, ein C6-C18-Aryl, ein C6-C20-Alkylaryl, ein C6-C20-Arylalkyl, ein C4-C20-Cycloalkyl, ein C4-C26-Cycloalkenyl, ein (C3-C10-Cycloalkyl)-C1-C10-Alkyl oder einen Zuckerrest darstellt.


 
10. Polynucleotid nach Anspruch 9, wobei das Zuckermolekül eine Hexose ist.
 
11. Polynucleotid nach Anspruch 9, wobei das Zuckermolekül eines ist, das ausgewählt ist aus der Gruppe bestehend aus Glucose, Mannose und Galactose.
 
12. Polynucleotid nach Anspruch 9, wobei das R1 H oder der Zuckerrest ist, der ein Glucosemonomer oder ein Glucosedimer ist.
 
13. Polynucleotid nach Anspruch 9, wobei die Verbindung Steviolmonosid oder Rubusosid ist.
 
14. Nicht-humane Transformante, in die das Polynucleotid nach Anspruch 9 eingeführt ist.
 
15. Transformante nach Anspruch 14, wobei das Polynucleotid in einen Expressionsvektor inseriert ist.
 
16. Transformante nach Anspruch 14, die eine Pflanze ist.
 
17. Extrakt aus einer Transformante nach Anspruch 14.
 
18. Lebensmittel, Arzneimittel oder industrielles Material, umfassend den Extrakt nach Anspruch 17.
 
19. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines Proteins, das das Züchten der nicht-humanen Transformante nach Anspruch 14 umfasst, wobei das Protein eine Aktivität des Hinzufügens eines Zuckermoleküls zur Glucose an Position 13 einer Verbindung aufweist, die durch die allgemeine Formel (I) unten dargestellt ist:

wobei R1 H, ein C1-C20-Alkyl, ein C2-C20-Alkenyl, ein C2-C20-Alkinyl, ein C4-C20-Alkyldienyl, ein C6-C18-Aryl, ein C6-C20-Alkylaryl, ein C6-C20-Arylalkyl, ein C4-C20-Cycloalkyl, ein C4-C20-Cycloalkenyl, ein (C3-C10-Cycloalkyl)-C1-C10-Alkyl oder einen Zuckerrest darstellt.
 
20. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines Steviolglycosids, das die Verwendung der nicht-humanen Transformante nach Anspruch 14 umfasst.
 
21. Verfahren nach Anspruch 20, wobei das Steviolglycosid Steviolbiosid, Steviosid, Rebaudiosid A, Rebaudiosid B, Rebaudiosid C, Rebaudiosid D, Rebaudiosid E, Rebaudiosid F oder eine Kombination davon ist.
 
22. Verfahren nach Anspruch 20, wobei die nicht-humane Transformante mindestens ein Gen exprimiert, das ausgewählt ist aus der Gruppe bestehend aus UGT85C2-Gen, UGT74G1-Gen und UGT76G1-Gen und die hergestellten Steviolglycoside Steviolbiosid, Rebaudiosid A, Steviosid und Rebaudiosid B sind.
 


Revendications

1. Procédé pour produire un glycoside de stéviol, qui comprend l'étape de réaction d'une protéine avec un UDP-sucre et un composé représenté par la formule générale (I) ci-dessous :

dans laquelle R1 représente H, un alkyle en C1 à C20, un alcényle en C2 à C20, un alcynyle en C2 à C20, un alkyldiényle en C4 à C20, un aryle en C6 à C18, un alkylaryle en C6 à C20, un arylalkyle en C6 à C20, un cycloalkyle en C4 à C20, un cycloalcényle en C4 à C20, un (cycloalkyle en C3 à C10)alkyle en C1 à C10, ou un résidu de sucre ;
dans lequel la protéine est n'importe quelle protéine choisie dans l'ensemble constitué par (a) à (c) ci-dessous :

(a) une protéine consistant en la séquence d'acides aminés de la SEQ ID NO : 2 ;

(b) une protéine consistant en une séquence d'acides aminés dont 1 à 5 acides aminés sont supprimés, remplacés, insérés et/ou ajoutés dans la séquence d'acides aminés de la SEQ ID NO : 2, et ayant une activité d'addition d'une molécule de sucre au glucose à la position 13 d'un composé représenté par la formule générale (I) ci-dessous ; et

(c) une protéine ayant une séquence d'acides aminés ayant une identité de séquence d'au moins 99 % avec la séquence d'acides aminés de la SEQ ID NO : 2, et ayant une activité d'addition d'une molécule de sucre au glucose à la position 13 d'un composé représenté par la formule générale (I) ci-dessous ;

dans laquelle R1 représente H, un alkyle en C1 à C20, un alcényle en C2 à C20, un alcynyle en C2 à C20, un alkyldiényle en C4 à C20, un aryle en C6 à C18, un alkylaryle en C6 à C20, un arylalkyle en C6 à C20, un cycloalkyle en C4 à C20, un cycloalcényle en C4 à C20, un (cycloalkyle en C3 à C10)alkyle en C1 à C10, ou un résidu de sucre.


 
2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le sucre dans l'UDP-sucre est le glucose.
 
3. Procédé selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel le glycoside de stéviol est le stéviolbioside, le stévioside, le rébaudioside A, le rébaudioside B, le rébaudioside C, le rébaudioside D, le rébaudioside E, le rébaudioside F, ou une combinaison de ceux-ci.
 
4. Protéine choisie dans l'ensemble constitué par (a) à (c) ci-dessous :

(a) une protéine consistant en la séquence d'acides aminés de la SEQ ID NO : 2 ;

(b) une protéine consistant en une séquence d'acides aminés dont 1 à 5 acides aminés sont supprimés, remplacés, insérés et/ou ajoutés dans la séquence d'acides aminés de la SEQ ID NO : 2, et ayant une activité d'addition d'une molécule de sucre au glucose à la position 13 d'un composé représenté par la formule générale (I) ci-dessous ; et

(c) une protéine ayant une séquence d'acides aminés ayant une identité de séquence d'au moins 99 % avec la séquence d'acides aminés de la SEQ ID NO : 2, et ayant une activité d'addition d'une molécule de sucre au glucose à la position 13 d'un composé représenté par la formule générale (I) ci-dessous ;

dans laquelle R1 représente H, un alkyle en C1 à C20, un alcényle en C2 à C20, un alcynyle en C2 à C20, un alkyldiényle en C4 à C20, un aryle en C6 à C18, un alkylaryle en C6 à C20, un arylalkyle en C6 à C20, un cycloalkyle en C4 à C20, un cycloalcényle en C4 à C20, un (cycloalkyle en C3 à C10)alkyle en C1 à C10, ou un résidu de sucre.


 
5. Protéine selon la revendication 4, dans laquelle la molécule de sucre est un hexose.
 
6. Protéine selon la revendication 4 ou 5, dans laquelle la molécule de sucre est l'une choisie dans l'ensemble constitué par le glucose, le mannose et le galactose.
 
7. Protéine selon l'une quelconque des revendications 4 à 6, dans laquelle ledit R1 est H ou le résidu de sucre qui est un monomère de glucose ou un dimère de glucose.
 
8. Protéine selon l'une quelconque des revendications 4 à 7, dans laquelle le composé est le stéviolmonoside ou le rubusoside.
 
9. Polynucléotide choisi dans l'ensemble constitué par (a) à (d) ci-dessous :

(a) un polynucléotide comprenant la séquence de nucléotides de la SEQ ID NO : 1 ;

(b) un polynucléotide codant une protéine consistant en la séquence d'acides aminés de la SEQ ID NO : 2 ;

(c) un polynucléotide codant une protéine consistant en une séquence d'acides aminés dont 1 à 5 acides aminés sont supprimés, remplacés, insérés et/ou ajoutés dans la séquence d'acides aminés de la SEQ ID NO : 2, et ayant une activité d'addition d'une molécule de sucre au glucose à la position 13 d'un composé représenté par la formule générale (I) ci-dessous ; et

(d) un polynucléotide codant une protéine ayant une séquence d'acides aminés ayant une identité de séquence d'au moins 99 % avec la séquence d'acides aminés de la SEQ ID NO : 2, et ayant une activité d'addition d'une molécule de sucre au glucose à la position 13 d'un composé représenté par la formule générale (I) ci-dessous ;

dans laquelle R1 représente H, un alkyle en C1 à C20, un alcényle en C2 à C20, un alcynyle en C2 à C20, un alkyldiényle en C4 à C20, un aryle en C6 à C18, un alkylaryle en C6 à C20, un arylalkyle en C6 à C20, un cycloalkyle en C4 à C20, un cycloalcényle en C4 à C20, un (cycloalkyle en C3 à C10)alkyle en C1 à C10, ou un résidu de sucre.


 
10. Polynucléotide selon la revendication 9, dans lequel la molécule de sucre est un hexose.
 
11. Polynucléotide selon la revendication 9, dans lequel la molécule de sucre est l'un choisi dans l'ensemble constitué par le glucose, le mannose et le galactose.
 
12. Polynucléotide selon la revendication 9, dans lequel ledit R1 est H ou le résidu de sucre qui est un monomère de glucose ou un dimère de glucose.
 
13. Polynucléotide selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le composé est le stéviolmonoside ou le rubusoside.
 
14. Transformé non humain dans lequel est introduit le polynucléotide selon la revendication 9.
 
15. Transformé selon la revendication 14, dans lequel le polynucléotide est inséré dans un vecteur d'expression.
 
16. Transformé selon la revendication 14, qui est une plante.
 
17. Extrait issu du transformé selon la revendication 14.
 
18. Aliment, composition pharmaceutique ou matériau industriel comprenant l'extrait selon la revendication 17.
 
19. Procédé pour produire une protéine, qui comprend la culture du transformé non humain selon la revendication 14, dans lequel la protéine a une activité d'addition d'une molécule de sucre au glucose en position 13 d'un composé représenté par la formule générale (I) ci-dessous :

dans laquelle R1 représente H, un alkyle en C1 à C20, un alcényle en C2 à C20, un alcynyle en C2 à C20, un alkyldiényle en C4 à C20, un aryle en C6 à C18, un alkylaryle en C6 à C20, un arylalkyle en C6 à C20, un cycloalkyle en C4 à C20, un cycloalcényle en C4 à C20, un (cycloalkyle en C3 à C10)alkyle en C1 à C10, ou un résidu de sucre.
 
20. Procédé pour produire un glycoside de stéviol, qui comprend l'utilisation du transformé non humain selon la revendication 14.
 
21. Procédé selon la revendication 20, dans lequel le glycoside de stéviol est le stéviolbioside, le stévioside, le rébaudioside A, le rébaudioside B, le rébaudioside C, le rébaudioside D, le rébaudioside E, le rébaudioside F, ou une combinaison de ceux-ci.
 
22. Procédé selon la revendication 20, dans lequel le transformé non humain exprime au moins un gène choisi dans l'ensemble constitué par le gène UGT85C2, le gène UGT74G1 et le gène UGT76G1, et les glycosides de stéviol produits sont le stéviolbioside, le rébaudioside A, le stévioside et le rébaudioside B.
 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description