(19)
(11)EP 3 733 693 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
04.11.2020 Bulletin 2020/45

(21)Application number: 18897857.1

(22)Date of filing:  27.12.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
C07K 14/55(2006.01)
A61K 47/54(2017.01)
A61K 47/61(2017.01)
C12N 5/0783(2010.01)
A61K 38/20(2006.01)
A61K 47/60(2017.01)
A61P 37/04(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2018/048361
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/131964 (04.07.2019 Gazette  2019/27)
(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
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 27.12.2017 JP 2017252224

(71)Applicant: Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd.
Tokyo 100-0004 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • IKEDA Masahiro
    Tokyo 100-0004 (JP)
  • YAMAGUCHI Shinpei
    Tokyo 100-0004 (JP)
  • MURAKAMI Masumi
    Tokyo 100-0004 (JP)
  • ONODERA Hideyuki
    Tokyo 100-0004 (JP)

(74)Representative: Hoffmann Eitle 
Patent- und Rechtsanwälte PartmbB Arabellastraße 30
81925 München
81925 München (DE)

  


(54)IL-2 VARIANT


(57) The purpose of the present invention is to provide a novel IL-2 variant that has an improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ and selectively activates Treg. The present invention pertains to: an IL-2 variant; a method for producing the IL-2 variant; a composition containing the IL-2 variant; a therapeutic agent for an immunological disease containing the IL-2 variant; a method for elevating the selectivity of IL-2 for IL-2Rαβγ; a method for improving the affinity of IL-2 for IL-2Rα subunit; a method for lowering the affinity of IL-2 for IL-2Rβ and/or γ subunits; and a method for selectively activating a regulatory T cell.


Description

Technical Field



[0001] The present invention relates to an IL-2 variant, a method for producing the IL-2 variant, a composition and a therapeutic agent comprising the IL-2 variant, a method for improving an affinity of IL-2 for an IL-2Rα subunit, a method of reducing an affinity of IL-2 for at least one of an IL-2Rβ subunit and an IL-2Rγ subunit, and a method for selectively activating regulatory T cells.

Background Art



[0002] Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are a subpopulation of CD4+ T cells, which express a transcription factor forkhead box P3 (Foxp3). Tregs inhibit activation of effector T cells (Teffs) by a variety of mechanisms such as production of inhibitory cytokines such as IL-10 or TGF-β, cytolysis through cytotoxic proteins such as Perforin or Granzyme, modulation of antigen-presenting cell activity through CTLA-4 or the like, and depletion of IL-2 by competitive use, and negatively regulate excessive immune responses. (Non-Patent Document 1).

[0003] Treg deficiency due to Foxp3 mutations leads to immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked (IPEX) syndrome, which exhibits a severe systemic autoimmune response. In addition, since the amount and quality of Tregs are reduced in a plurality of autoimmune diseases, it is considered that disruption of Treg-mediated immune regulation contributes to onset of pathology (Non-Patent Documents 2 and 3).

[0004] Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a cytokine mainly produced from activated T cells, and contributes to proliferation and activation of various immune cells. Human mature interleukin-2 has a molecular weight of about 15 kDa (133 residues) and has a four-helix bundle structure formed of four α-helices (Non-patent Document 4).

[0005]  An IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) is formed of three molecules of CD25 (IL-2Rα), CD122 (IL-2Rβ) and CD132 (γc), and has a medium affinity (KD) for IL-2. In a case where a heterotrimeric receptor (IL-2Rαβγ) showing high affinity (KD ≈ 10-11 M) with IL-2 or a heterodimeric receptor (IL-2Rβγ) showing intermediate affinity (KD ≈ 10-9 M) with IL-2 is formed, a signal is transmitted. CD25 binds alone to IL-2 with low affinity (KD ≈ 10-8 M), but cannot transmit a signal (Non-Patent Document 5).

[0006] An expression pattern of IL-2R differs among immune cells. In CD56lowNK cells or naive T cells, CD25 expression is extremely low, and IL-2R functions as IL-2Rβγ. On the other hand, in Tregs or CD56high NK cells, CD25 is expressed, and IL-2R functions as IL-2Pαβγ (Non-patent Document 6).

[0007] In binding between IL-2 and IL-2Rαβγ, the IL-2 first binds to CD25 and then binds to CD122 and CD132 sequentially, thereby causing IL-2R to be trimerized. Dimerization of CD122 and CD132 by IL-2 promotes recruitment of JAK1 to a CD122 intracellular region and JAK3 to a CD132 intracellular region, and then causes STAT5 to be phosphorylated. The phosphorylated STAT5 (pSTAT5) translocates into the nucleus after forming a dimer and promotes transcription of a target gene (Non-Patent Documents 7 and 8).

[0008] An IL-2 signal plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis of Tregs. pSTAT5 generated by IL-2 stimulation directly promotes expression of Foxp3, thereby improving functions of promoting and stabilizing proliferation of Tregs and suppressing activation of Teff. Tregs express IL-2Rαβγ that is a high affinity receptor, and have high protein phosphatase 1 (PP) 1 and PP2A activities that positively regulate IL-2 signals. Therefore, phosphorylation of STAT5 in Tregs and gene expression on downstream thereof by the IL-2 stimulation are induced in a concentration range about 10 to 100 times lower than that of memory T cells (Non-Patent Documents 6 and 9).

[0009] Mice deficient in IL-2 gene or IL-2R gene exhibit reduced Tregs and a severe autoimmune response. Similarly, in humans, deficiency of the CD25 gene exhibits autoreactive T cell proliferation and symptoms similar to those of IPEX syndrome. In systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients or Type I diabetic mellitus patients, a decrease in IL-2 production by T cells and a decrease in Tregs associated therewith are observed (Non-Patent Documents 10, 11, and 12).

[0010] Activation of the IL-2 signal enhances Treg function. Administration of IL-2 to MRL/lpr mice exhibiting SLE-like symptoms suppresses inflammatory response and ameliorates the pathology. In addition, administration of IL-2 to a graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) patient or an SLE patient promotes Treg amplification, and improves a pathological condition (Non-Patent Documents 13, 14, and 15).

[0011] However, administration of wild-type IL-2 often causes an increase of NK cells or eosinophils, thereby causes administration site reactions, fever, and flu-like symptoms. In addition, since half-life of IL-2 in blood is very short, about 1 hour, low-dose IL-2 therapy requires daily administration of IL-2 (Non-Patent Documents 14, 15, and 16).

[0012] To solve the above described problems, creation of an IL-2 variant that selectively activates Tregs and has an extended half-life in blood has been attempted.

[0013] An attempt to improve selectivity of IL-2 for IL-2Rαβγ is made. As one method, a method of introducing a mutation into an amino acid residue interacting with IL-2Rβγ or forming an immune complex with an anti-IL-2 antibody is attempted (Patent Documents 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 and Non-Patent Document 17).

[0014] However, introduction of an amino acid mutation causes an increase in immunogenicity due to the mutation. In administration of an amino acid-mutated human IL-2 variant to cynomolgus monkeys, anti-drug antibodies are generated. Imparting IL-2Rαβγ selectivity to IL-2 by an anti-IL-2 antibody results in bell shaped activity (Patent Documents 2 and 6).

[0015] An attempt to improve half-life of IL-2 in blood is made. As one method, a method of adding an antibody-derived Fc sequence is attempted (Patent Documents 2, 4, and 7, and Non-Patent Document 18). As another method, a method of adding a non-toxic watersoluble polymer such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) is known (Patent Documents 8, 9, 10, and 11, and Non-Patent Documents 19 and 20). In addition, a method for introducing a saccharide is also attempted (Patent Documents 12, 13, and 14).

[0016] However, modification of IL-2 with polyethylene glycol causes a decrease in biological activity (Non-Patent Document 19).

Related Art


Patent Document



[0017] 

[Patent Document 1] International Publication No. WO20101085495

[Patent Document 2] International Publication No. WO2014/153111

[Patent Document 3] US Application Publication No. 2015/0374788

[Patent Document 4] US Patent No. 7186804

[Patent Document 5] International Publication No. WO2014/028748

[Patent Document 6] International Publication No. WO2015/109212

[Patent Document 7] US Application Publication No. 2017/0051029

[Patent Document 8] International Publication No. WO2016/025385

[Patent Document 9] JP-A-2016-202187

[Patent Document 10] US Patent No. 4902502

[Patent Document 11] US Patent No. 5206344

[Patent Document 12] US Patent No. 5153310

[Patent Document 13] US Patent No. 5312903

[Patent Document 14] US Patent No. 5417970


Non-Patent Document



[0018] 

[Non-Patent Document 1] Front Immunol, 2013. 4 (378)

[Non-patent Document 2] Nat Rev Immunol, 2014. 14 (5): 343-349

[Non-Patent Document 3] Autoimmun Rev, 2015. 14 (2): 105-116

[Non-Patent Document 4] Annu Rev Immunol, 2008. 26: 453-479

[Non-Patent Document 5] Immunity, 2013. 38 (1): 13-25

[Non-Patent Document 6] Diabetes, 2015. 64 (6): 2172-2183

[Non-Patent Document 7] J Biol Chem, 1997. 272 (50): 31821-31828

[Non-Patent Document 8] Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Feb 17; 12 (3): 180-90

[Non-patent Document 9] Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 May; 15 (5): 283-94

[Non-Patent Document 10] Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 1997. 94 (7): 3168-3171

[Non-Patent Document 11] N Engl J Med, 2011. 365 (22): 2110-2121

[Non-Patent Document 12] Curr Diab Rep, 2014. 14 (12): 553

[Non-Patent Document 13] J Immunol, 2014. 193 (5): 2168-2177

[Non-Patent Document 14] N Engl J Med, 2011. 365 (22): 2055-2066

[Non-Patent Document 15] Ann Rheum Dis, 2015. 74 (4): 791-792

[Non-Patent Document 16] Blood. 2014 Dec 4; 124 (24): 3572-6.

[Non-Patent Document 17] Curr Pharm Des, 2002. 8 (24): 2171-83

[Non-Patent Document 18] J Autoimmun, 2015. 56: 66-80

[Non-Patent Document 19] American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2017. Poster Abstract 2715: NKTR-358: A Selective, First-in-Class IL-2 Pathway Agonist Which Increases Number and Suppressive Function of Regulatory T Cells for the Treatment of Immune Inflammatory Disorders, Langowski, J., et al. http://www.nektar.com/application/files/6315/1001/4171/NKTR-358_2017ACR_ABS2715.pdf

[Non-Patent Document 20] Biotechnology (N Y), 1990. 8 (4): 343-346


Disclosure of Invention


Technical Problem


Problems to Be Solved by the Invention



[0019] An object of the present invention is to provide a novel IL-2 variant which has improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ and selectively activates Tregs.

Means for Solving the Problems



[0020] As a result of intensive studies on the above described problems, the present inventors found that the above described problems can be solved by an IL-2 variant modified by binding a saccharide or PEG to IL-2, and completed the present invention.

[0021] That is, the present invention is as follows.

(1) An Interleukin-2 (hereinafter abbreviated as IL-2) variant.

(2) The IL-2 variant according to (1), which is a saccharide-bound IL-2 variant and/or a polyethylene glycol (PEG)-bound IL-2 variant.

(3) The IL-2 variant according to (1) or (2), which has improved selectivity for an IL-2 receptor (hereinafter, IL-2R)αβγ.

(4) The IL-2 variant according to (2) or (3), wherein a saccharide is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of IL-2.

(5) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) to (4), wherein the saccharide is at least one selected from saccharides comprising structures represented by (Formula 4) to (Formula 8), (Formula Y1), (Formula Y2), or (Formula Y3).



















(6) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) to (5), which comprises an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a saccharide-bound group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.

(7) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) to (6), which comprises an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 12, 15, 16, 19, 88, 91, and 119 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with the saccharide-bound group derived from the cysteine residue or the asparagine residue.

(8) The IL-2 variant according to (6) or (7), wherein the saccharide-bound group derived from the cysteine residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula 1),

[in (Formula 1), Saccharide indicates a saccharide].

(9) The IL-2 variant according to (6) or (7), wherein the saccahride-bound group derived from the asparagine residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula 2),



[in (Formula 2), Saccharide indicates a saccharide].

(10) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) to (9), which is an IL-2 variant in which PEG is further bound to the saccharide-bound IL-2 variant.

(11) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) to (10), which comprises an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 51, and 78 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with with a PEGylated amino acid residue.

(12) The IL-2 variant according to (2) ot (3), wherein PEG is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in the amino acid sequence of IL-2.

(13) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2), (3) and (12), which comprises an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.

(14) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2), (3), (12) and (13), wherein at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 8, 78, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.

(15) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2), (3), and (12) to (14), wherein at least two amino acid residues selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 8, 78, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue are substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.

(16) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2), (3), and (12) to (15), wherein at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, and 8 and an amino acid residue at position 78 or 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue are substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.

(17) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2), (3), and (12) to (16), wherein a PEGylatedamino acid residue is a PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue.

(18) The IL-2 variant according to (17), wherein the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue is a PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising a thiol group (-SH) or a PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising an azide group.

(19) The IL-2 variant according to (17) or (18), wherein the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue is a group derived from an N6-[{(o-azidobenzyl)oxy}carbonyl]-L-lysine(o-Az-Z-Lys) residue, a group derived from an N6-[{(m-azidobenzyl)oxy}carbonyl]-L-lysine(m-Az-Z-Lys) residue, or a group derived from a cysteine residue.

(20 The IL-2 variant according to (19), wherein the PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue comprise a structure represented by (Formula 11) and/or (Formula 12).



(21) The IL-2 variant according to (19), wherein the PEGylated group derived from an m-Az-Z-Lys residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula X4) and/or (Formula X5).





(22) The IL-2 variant according to (19), wherein the PEGylated group derived from the cysteine residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula X11), and/or (Formula X12), and/or (Formula X13).





(23) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) and (10) to (22), wherein PEG is linear.

(24) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) and (10) to (22), wherein PEG is branched.

(25) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) and (10) to (24), wherein PEG has an average molecular weight of 10 kDa or more.

(26) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) and (10) to (25), wherein PEG has an average molecular weight of 10 kDa, 20 kDa, 30 kDa, 40 kDa, 50 kDa, 60 kDa, 70 kDa, or 80 kDa.

(27) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (2) and (10) to (26), wherein PEG comprises a structure represented by at least one formula of (Formula 13), (Formula 14), (Formula 15), (Formula 16), (Formula X7), (Formula X8), (Formula X9), (Formula X10), (Formula X11), (Formula X13), (Formula X14), or (Formula X15).





























(28) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (1) to (27), wherein a methionine residue is further bound to an N-terminal of IL-2.

(29) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (1) to (28), wherein N-terminal alanine of IL-2 is deleted.

(30) The IL-2 variant according to any one of (1) to (29), wherein N-terminal alanine of IL-2 is deleted and further methionine is bonded.

(31) A method for producing the IL-2 variant according to any one of (1) to (30).

(32) A composition comprising the IL-2 variant according to any one of (1) to (30).

(33) A therapeutic agent for an immune disease, comprising the IL-2 variant according to any one of (1) to (30).

(34) A method for improving selectivity of IL-2 for IL-2Rαβγ.

(35) The method according to (34), comprising binding a saccharide and/or PEG to IL-2.

(36) The method according to (35), comprising binding a saccharide to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of the IL-2.

(37) The method according to (35) or (36), wherein the saccharide is at least one selected from saccharides comprising structures represented by (Formula 4) to (Formula 8), (Formula Y1), (Formula Y2), or (Formula Y3).



















(38) The method according to any one of (35) to (37), comprising substituting at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in IL-2 comprising an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue, with a saccharide-bound group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.

(39) The method according to any one of (35) to (38), comprising substituting at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 12, 15, 16, 19, 88, 91, and 119 in an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue, with a saccahride-bound group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.

(40) The method according to (38) or (39),
wherein the saccahride-bound group derived from the cysteine residue has a structure represented by (Formula 1),



[in (Formula 1), Saccharide indicates a saccharide].

(41) The method according to (38) or (39), wherein the saccahride-bound group derived from the asparagine residue has a structure represented by (Formula 2),

[in (Formula 2), Saccharide indicates a saccharide].

(42) The method according to any one of (35) to (41), further comprising binding the PEG to a saccharide-bound IL-2 variant.

(43) The method according to (42), which comprises an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 51, and 78 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.

(44) The method according to (35), wherein the PEG is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in an amino acid sequence of the IL-2.

(45) The method according to (35) or (44), which comprises an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.

(46) The method according to any one of (35), (44) and (45), wherein at least one amino acid residue selected from amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 8, 78, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a PEGylate amino acid residue.

(47) The method according to any one of (35) and (44) to (46), wherein at least two amino acid residues selected from amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 8, 78, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue are substituted with PEGylated amino acid residues.

(48) The method according to any one of (35) and (42) to (47), wherein a PEGylated amino acid residue is a PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue.

(49) The method according to (48), wherein the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue is a PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising a thiol group (-SH) or a PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising an azide group.

(50) The method according to (48) or (49), wherein the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue is a group derived from an N6-[{(o-azidobenzyl)oxy}carbonyl]-L-lysine(o-Az-Z-Lys) residue, a group derived from an N6-[{(m-azidobenzyl)oxy}carbonyl]-L-lysine(m-Az-Z-Lys) residue, or a group derived from a cysteine residue.

(51) The method according to (50), wherein the PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula 11) and/or (Formula 12).





(52) The method according to (50), wherein the PEGylated group derived from an m-Az-Z-Lys residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula X4) and/or (Formula X5).





(53) The method according to (50), wherein the PEGylated group derived from the cysteine residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula X11), and/or (Formula X12), and/or (Formula X13).







(54) The method according to any one of (35) and (42) to (53), wherein the PEG is linear.

(55) The method according to any one of (35) and (42) to (53), wherein the PEG is branched.

(56) The method according to any one of (35) and (42) to (55), wherein the PEG has an average molecular weight of 10 kDa or more.

(57) The method according to any one of (35) and (42) to (56), wherein the PEG has an average molecular weight of 10 kDa, 20 kDa, 30 kDa, 40 kDa, 50 kDa, 60 kDa, 70 kDa, or 80 kDa.

(58) The method according to any one of (35) and (42) to (57), wherein the PEG comprises a structure represented by at least one formula of (Formula 13), (Formula 14), (Formula 15), (Formula 16), (Formula X7), (Formula X8), (Formula X9), (Formula X10), (Formula X11), (Formula X13), (Formula X14), or (Formula X15).



























(59) The method according to any one of (34) to (58), wherein a methionine residue is further bound to an N-terminal of the IL-2.

(60) The method according to any one of (34) to (59), wherein N-terminal alanine of the IL-2 is deleted.

(61) The method according to any one of (34) to (59), wherein N-terminal alanine of the IL-2 is deleted, and further methione is bonded.

(62) A method for selectively activating regulatory T cells.

(63) A method for reducing an affinity of IL-2 for at least one of an IL-2Rβ subunit and an IL-2Ry subunit.

(64) A method for improving an affinity of IL-2 for an IL-2Rα subunit.


Effects of the Invention



[0022] An IL-2 variant of the present invention selectively binds to IL-2Rαβγ highly expressed on Tregs and selectively activates Tregs. According to the present invention, it is possible to provide an IL-2 variant, a method for producing the IL-2 variant, a composition and a therapeutic agent for an immune disease comprising the IL-2 variant, a method for increasing selectivity of IL-2 for IL-2Rαβγ, a method for improving an affinity of IL-2 for an IL-2Rα subunit, a method of reducing an affinity of IL-2 for at least one of an IL-2Rβ subunit and an IL-2Rγ subunit, and a method for selectively activating regulatory T cells.

[0023] FIG. 1A is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various glycosylated IL-2 variants. The black circles indicate an activity of IL-2 produced by Peprotech (hereinafter referred to as IL-2 (P)), black triangles indicate an activity of H16C-2, black squares indicate an activity of L19C-9, and black horizontal bars indicate an activity of N88C-2. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0024] FIG. 1B is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various glycosylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of E15C-11, black triangles indicate an activity of L19C-11*, black squares indicate an activity of L12C-11/V91C-11, black diamonds indicate an activity of V91C-11/V115C-11, black horizontal bars indicate an activity of V91C-11/N119C-11, and white circles indicate an activity of A1C-11/T3C-11/S5C-11/L12C-11/V91C-11. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0025] FIG. 1C is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of A1C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, black triangles indicate an activity of T3C-Li20(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, and black squares indicate an activity of T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, black diamonds indicate an activity of T3C-Y50(IAc)/E15C-11, black bars indicate an activity of T3C-V40(IAc)/E15C-11, white circles indicate an activity of T3C-V80(Mal)/E15C-11, and white triangles indicate an activity of F78C-V40(IAc)/L12C-11. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0026] FIG. 1D is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-IL-2, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li20, and black squares indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0027] FIG. IE is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li20, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li20, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-S6(oAzZK)-Li20, black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-T7(oAzZK)-Li20, and black horizontal bars indicate an activity of 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li20. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0028] FIG. 1F is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-E60(oAzZK)-Li20, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li20, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-R81(oAzZK)-Li20, and black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-L94(oAzZK)-Li20. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0029] FIG. 1G is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li20, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li20, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li20, and black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-Q126(oAzZK)-Li20. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0030] FIG. 1H is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, black bars indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, white circles indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50, white triangles indicate an activity of I129(oAzZK)-V40, white squares indicate an activity of I129(oAzZK)-W80, and white diamonds indicate an activity of I129C-V40(Mal). A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0031] FIG. 1I is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, black triangles indicate an activity of S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, black diamonds indicate an activity of S5(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, black bars indicate an activity of 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, white circles indicate an activity of K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, white triangles indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, white squares indicate an activity of 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and white diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0032] FIG. 1J is a graph showing Treg proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/H79(oAzZK)-Li30, and black bars indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/S99(oAzZK)-Li30. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0033] FIG. 2A is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various glycosylated IL-2 variants. Black diamonds indicate an activity of IL-2(P), black squares indicate an activity of H16C-2, black triangles indicate an activity of L19C-9, and black circles indicate an activity of N88C-2. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0034] FIG. 2B is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-IL-2, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li20, and black squares indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0035] FIG. 2C is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li20, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li20, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-S6(oAzZK)-Li20, black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-T7(oAzZK)-Li20, and black horizontal bars indicate an activity of 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li20. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0036] FIG. 2D is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li20, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li20, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li20, and black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-Q126(oAzZK)-Li20. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0037] FIG. 2E is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-E60(oAzZK)-Li20, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li20, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-R81(oAzZK)-Li20, and black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-L94(oAzZK)-Li20. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0038] FIG. 2F is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, black horizontal bars indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, white circles indicate an activity of 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50, white triangles indicate an activity of I129(oAzZK)-W80, and white squares indicate an activity of I129C-V40(Mal). A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0039] FIG. 2G is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, black triangles indicate an activity of S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, black diamonds indicate an activity of S5(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, black horizontal bars indicate an activity of 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and white circles indicate an activity of K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0040] FIG. 2H is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various glycosylated IL-2 variants and various Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of L12C-11/V91C-11, black triangles indicate an activity of AlC-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, black squares indicate an activity of T3C-Li20(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, black diamonds indicate an activity of T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, black bars indicate an activity of T3C-Y50(IAc)/E15C-11, white circles indicate an activity of T3C-V40(IAc)/E15C-11, white triangles indicate an activity of T3C-V80(Mal)/E15C-11, and white squares indicate an activity of F78C-V40(IAc)/L12C-11. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0041] FIG. 2I is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of IL-2(P), black triangles indicate an activity of I129(oAzZK)-V40, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and black bars indicate an activity of 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0042] FIG. 2J is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various PEGylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, black triangles indicate an activity of 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, black squares indicate an activity of 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, black diamonds indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/H79(oAzZK)-Li30, and black bars indicate an activity of 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/S99(oAzZK)-Li30. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0043] FIG. 2K is a graph showing NK cell proliferation promoting activities of various glycosylated IL-2 variants. Black circles indicate an activity of E15C-11, black triangles indicate an activity of L19C-11*, black squares indicate an activity of V91C-111V115C-11, black diamonds indicate an activity of V91C-11/N119C-11, and black bars indicate an activity of A1C-11/T3C-11/S5C-11/L12C-11/V91C-11. A horizontal axis indicates an IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate (%).

[0044] FIG. 3 shows graphs showing a proliferation rate of responder T cells (Tresp) in the presence of unstimulated Tregs or various IL-2 variant-stimulated Tregs. FIG. 3(A) shows a proliferation rate of CD4-positive Tresp, and FIG. 3 (B) shows a proliferation rate of CD8-positive Tresp. In each figure, a horizontal axis indicates an abundance ratio between Tresp and Treg, and a vertical axis indicates a proliferation rate (%) of Tresp. White diamonds indicate nonstimulation, black diamonds indicate IL-2(P), black squares indicate H16C-2, black triangles indicate L19C-9, and black circles indicate N88C-2.

[0045] FIGS. 4(A) to 4(E) show graphs showing cytokine concentrations in a culture supernatant, when various IL-2 variants are added to human PBMC reconstituted with autologous plasma, and cultured. FIG. 4(A) shows an IL-4 concentration, FIG. 4(B) shows an IL-6 concentration, FIG. 4(C) shows an IL-10 concentration, FIG. 4(D) shows an IPNγ concentration, and FIG. 4(E) shows a TNFα concentration. In each figure, a horizontal axis indicates an added IL-2 concentration (pM), and a vertical axis indicates a production amount of cytokine (pg/mL). FIG. 4(F) is a graph showing results of evaluating Treg-selective proliferation activity. A vertical axis indicates a ratio [Treg (%)/Teff (%)], when a CD25+ Foxp3high fraction is Treg and a CD25+ Foxp3low fraction is effector T cells (Teff) in the CD4-positive fractions. A horizontal axis indicates an added IL-2 concentration. In each figure, white diamonds indicate nonstimulation, black diamonds indicate IL-2(P), black squares indicate H16C-2, black triangles indicate L19C-9, and black circles indicate N88C-2.

Embodiments for Carrying Out the Invention



[0046] Hereinafter, the present invention will be described in detail.

[0047] "Treg" or "Treg cells" refers to regulatory T cells. Regulatory T cells are a class of T cells that suppress an activity of other immune cells and are defined by cell marker phenotype CD4+ CD25+ FOXP3+ using flow cytometry.

[0048] Since FOXP3 is an intracellular protein and requires fixation and permeabilization of cells for staining, cell surface phenotype CD4+ CD25+ CD127low can be used in order to define viable Tregs.

[0049]  Tregs also include various Treg subclasses, such as tTreg (derived from thymus) and pTreg (derived from the periphery and differentiated from peripheral naive T cells). Although all Tregs express IL-2Rαβγ and proliferate in an IL-2-dependent manner, an IL-2 variant of the present invention is capable of selectively activating at least one Treg subclass, and preferably capable of selectively activating any subclass.

[0050] "IL-2" may be either wild-type IL-2 or an IL-2 variant.

[0051] The "wild-type IL-2" includes any IL-2 of 1) to 3) below.
  1. 1) A human-derived wild-type mature IL-2 consisting of an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1.
  2. 2) IL-2 comprising an amino acid modification that can be added when producing a genetic recombinant of the above 1).
  3. 3) IL-2 in which an amino acid residue at N-terminal of IL-2 of the above 1) and 2) is deleted.


[0052] The amino acid modification of the above 2) is, for example, a modification of binding a methionine residue encoded by an initiation codon to an N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 in order to express IL-2 in Escherichia coli, a modification of binding an amino acid sequence represented by MHHHHHHHH (methionine-bound polyhistidine) to the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 in order to express IL-2 in Escherichia coli and easily purify the IL-2, or a modification of substituting an amino acid residue at position 125 of human-derived wild-type mature IL-2 with an alanine residue or a serine residue in order to improve physical properties of IL-2.

[0053] Examples of the IL-2 of the above 3) in which an N-terminal amino acid residue of IL-2 is deleted include an IL-2 comprising an amino acid sequence in which an alanine residue or an alanine residue and a proline residue at N-terminal of amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 are deleted.

[0054] Specific examples of the wild-type IL-2 include an IL-2 consisting of an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, an amino acid sequence in which a methionine residue is bound to an N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid sequence represented by MHHHHHHHH is bound to the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, an amino acid sequence in which an N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is deleted, an amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is deleted and methionine is bound thereto, an amino acid sequence in which an alanine residue and a proline residue at the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 are deleted. Moreover, specific examples of the wild-type IL-2 include an IL-2 comprising an amino acid sequence in which in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the amino acid sequence in which a methionine residue is bound to an N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid sequence represented by MHHHHHHHH is bound to the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the amino acid sequence in which an N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is deleted, the amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is deleted and methionine is bound thereto, or the amino acid sequence in which an alanine residue and a proline residue at the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 are deleted, wherein an amino acid residue at position 125 is substituted with a serine residue or an alanine residue. The amino acid sequence on the N-terminal side and the serine residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 described above are variations of an amino acid sequence which is allowed from a viewpoint of protein expression or protein stability without affecting an activity of IL-2. In the IL-2 variant of the present invention, variations of these amino acid sequences are also included.

[0055] Note that all the numbers of the amino acid residues of IL-2 described in the present invention indicate the numbers (positions) of the amino acid residues with reference to the amino acid sequence of IL-2 represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. Therefore, in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the N-terminal alanine residue is defined as position 1, the proline residue is defined as position 2, and the methionine residue bound to the N-terminal is defined as position -1.

[0056] The "IL-2 variant" includes all proteins which are produced by adding any modifications to the wild-type IL-2, and has a function of wild-type IL-2. Examples of the variants include an IL-2 variant in which the wild-type IL-2 is modified by an amino acid modification (for example, substitution, deletion, or addition), an IL-2 variant in which the wild-type IL-2 is modified by saccharide modification, and IL-2 variant in which the wild-type IL-2 is modified by chemical modification. The modifications include both naturally occurring modifications and artificial modifications.

[0057] The "function of wild-type IL-2" refers to at least one function selected from binding to IE-2Kαβγ, binding to IL-2Rβγ, activating intracellular signaling pathways through intracellular regions of CD122 and CD132, phosphorylation of JAK1, phosphorylation of JAK3, phosphorylation of STAT5, phosphorylation of STAT3, phosphorylation of PI3K, phosphorylation of MEK, promotion of Foxp3 expression, promotion of expression of genes whose transcription is controlled by Foxp3, promotion of DNA demethylation in a region of Treg-specific demethylation region (TSDR) of Foxp3 gene, promotion of proliferation and survival of immune cells expressing IL-2Rβγ, promotion of cytokine production by immune cells expressing IL-2Rβγ, promotion of proliferation and survival of immune cells expressing IL-2Rαβγ, promotion of cytokine production by immune cells expressing IL-2Rαβγ, promotion of Treg proliferation and survival, and improvement of ability of Treg to suppress Teff activation.

[0058] Examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention include an IL-2 variant in which a saccharide is bound to a predetermined region(s) of IL-2, an IL-2 variant in which PEG is bound to a predetermined region(s) of IL-2, and an IL-2 variant in which a saccharide and PEG are bound to a predetermined region(s) of IL-2. Examples of the bond include a covalent bond and a non-covalent bond, but a bonding mode does not matter.

[0059] The "amino acid residue" may be either a natural amino acid residue or a non-natural amino acid residue.

[0060] Examples of the "natural amino acid residue" include selenocysteine residue and the following 20 α-amino acid residues: an alanine residue, an asparagine residue, an aspartic acid residues, a glutamine residue, a glutamic acid residue, a glycine residues, a histidine residue, an isoleucine residue, a leucine residue, a lysine residue, a methionine residue, a phenylalanine residue, a proline residue, a serine residue, a threonine residue, a tryptophan residues, a tyrosine residue, a valine residue, or a cysteine residue. The natural amino acid residues include both L-form and D-form, and the L-form is preferred for humans.

[0061] The "non-natural amino acid residue" refers to all amino acid residues other than the natural amino acid residues. Examples of the non-natural amino acid residue include an amino acid residue obtained by modifying the natural amino acid residue and an artificially designed amino acid residue.

[0062] The "modification" includes any modification, such as chemical modification or post-translational modification.

[0063] Examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention include an IL-2 variant having improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ. Tregs that express IL-2Rαβγ can be selectively activated by the IL-2 variant having improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ.

[0064] The "selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ" refers to a property that IL-2 selectively binds to IL-2Rαβγ rather than IL-2Rβγ. In addition, the expression "having improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ" means that the selectivity of the IL-2 variant for IL-2Rαβγ is improved as compared with the wild-type IL-2.

[0065] The selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ or the improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ can be determined, for example, by a method described below.
  1. (1) For each type of IL-2, an EC50 value of a binding activity to IL-2Rαβγ and an EC50 value of a binding activity to IL-2Rβγ are measured. when the EC50 of IL-2Rαβγ is smaller than the EC50 of IL-2Rβγ, or when an EC50 ratio value (EC50 of IL-2Rβγ/EC50 of IL-2Rαβγ) is greater than 1, it can be determined that the IL-2 has selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ.
    In addition, in a case where the EC50 ratio value of the IL-2 variant is greater than the EC50 ratio value of the wild-type IL-2, or in a case where a standardized EC50 ratio value (EC50 ratio value of IL-2 variant/EC50 ratio value of wild-type IL-2) is greater than 1, it can be determined that the IL-2 variant has improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ. The standardized EC50 ratio value is preferable in the order that greater than 1, 5 or more, 10 or more, 11 or more, 12 or more, 13 or more, 14 or more, 15 or more, 16 or more, 17 or more, 18 or more, 19 or more, 20 or more, 21 or more, 22 or more, 23 or more, 24 or more, 25 or more, 26 or more, 27 or more, 28 or more, 29 or more, or 30 or more. Instead of the wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant having an EC50 ratio value equivalent to that of the wild-type IL-2 may be used.
    Specific examples of a method of measuring the EC50 value include a method according to procedures (A) to (C) below. More specific examples of the method include a method to be described later in Examples.
    1. (A) Human IE-2Rαβγ or human IL-2Rβγ is expressed in mammalian cells to prepare a human IL-2-dependent viable cell line, and each cell line is seeded in a 96-well plate.
    2. (B) Assuming that a relative fluorescence units (RLU) value of wells to which control IL-2 was added at 1000 ng/ml is 100% and the RLU value of wells to which a medium without containing IL-2 was added is 0%, the IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of the test substance IL-2 variant is calculated.
    3. (C) Based on data obtained in (A), an EC50 value is calculated using statistical analysis software (for example, XLfit5 version 5.3.1.3 manufactured by IBDS).
  2. (2) An affinity of each of the wild-type IL-2 and the IL-2 variant for CD25 ECD-Fc and IL-2Rβγ ECD-Fc, which are IL-2R extracellular domain (ECD)-Fc fusion proteins, is measured with Biacore. When a KD value for CD25 ECD-Fc is smaller and/or a KD value for IL-2Rβγ ECD-Fc is larger in the IL-2 variant than in the wild-type, it can be determined that the IL-2 variant has improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ. In addition, when a relative value of the KD value for IL-2Rβγ ECD-Fc to the KD value for CD25 ECD-Fc increases at the IL-2 variant than at the wild-type, it can be determined that the IL-2 variant has improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ.


[0066] The expression "selectively activating Tregs" refers to at least one of (a) to (c) below.
  1. (a) The IL-2 variant has higher Treg proliferation activity and/or lower NK cell proliferation activity than those of the wild-type IL-2.
  2. (b) A ratio of a proportion of Tregs to a proportion of effector T cells (Teff) [Treg (%)/Teff (%)] in a cell population is higher for the IL-2 variant than for the wild-type IL-2.
  3. (c) Production amount of inflammatory cytokines is lower and/or production amount of antiinflammatory cytokines increases for the IL-2 variant comparing to the wild-type IL-2.


[0067] In any of the cases (a) to (c), an IL-2 variant having an activity equivalent to that of the wild-type IL-2 may be used instead of the wild-type IL-2.

[0068] The Treg proliferation activity and the NK cell proliferation activity can be measured, for example, by methods described below. Treg or NK cells are seeded in a 96-well plate, and assuming that a RLU value of wells to which control IL-2 was added is 100% and a RLU value of wells to which a medium without containing IL-2 was added is 0%, the Treg proliferation rate or NK cell proliferation rate of the test substance IL-2 variant is calculated. More specific examples of the method include a method to be described later in Examples.

[0069] Treg (%)/Teff (%) can be measured, for example, by a method described below. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hereinafter, also abbreviated as PBMC) are suspended in autologous plasma, and an anti-CD3 antibody OKT3 is added thereto. A 96-well plate is seeded with the PBMCs, and then each IL-2 is added thereto, and cultured. After reacting the obtained human PBMCs with a fluorescently labeled anti-human CD4 antibody, a fluorescently labeled CD25 antibody, and a fluorescently labeled anti-Foxp3 antibody, various fluorescence intensities are measured with a flow cytometer (for example, LSRFortessa manufactured by BD Biosciences).

[0070] The obtained data is analyzed using data analysis software (for example, FLowJo, version 7.6.5, manufactured by TreeStar Inc). Among the CD4 positive fractions, assuming that a CD25+ Foxp3high fraction is Treg and the CD25+ Foxp3low fraction is effector T cells (Teff), an abundance ratio therebetween [Treg (%)/Teff (%)] is calculated. More specific examples of the method include a method to be described later in Examples.

[0071] A production amount of each cytokine can be measured, for example, by a method described below. Human PBMCs are suspended in autologous plasma, and anti-CD3 antibody OKT3 is added thereto. A 96-well plate is seeded with the PBMCs, and then each IL-2 is added thereto, and cultured. The production amount of cytokine in a supernatant is quantified. More specific examples of the method include a method to be described later in Examples.

[0072] Examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention include an IL-2 variant modified by binding a saccharide to IL-2 (hereinafter, also abbreviated as a glycosylated IL-2 variant) and an IL-2 variant modified by binding PEG to IL-2 (hereinafter, also abbreviated as a PEGylated IL-2 variant). Hereinafter, each variant will be described.

[Saccharide-bound (Glycosylated) IL-2 variant]



[0073] As the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention, an IL-2 variant in which a saccharide is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of IL-2 is preferred.

[0074] In the present specification, the "saccharide" refers to a monosaccharide or a saccahride in which two or more monosaccharides bind via a glycoside bond, and any saccharide can be used.

[0075] Specific examples of the saccharide to be bound to IL-2 include at least one selected from the group consisting of saccharides comprising structures represented by (Formula 4) to (Formula 8) and (Formula Y1) to (Formula Y3). When the saccharide is bound to the amino acid residue in the amino acid sequence of IL-2, it is possible to improve the selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ. In addition, for the saccharide of the IL-2 variant of the present invention, a saccharide in which one N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) is bound to Mannose (Man) of each of an α1-6 arm and an α1-3 arm of (Formula 6), a saccharide in which one Galactose (Gal) is removed from Man-GlcNAc of each of an α1-6 arm and an α1-3 arm of (Formula 7) (G1), a saccharide in which one Sialic acid (Sial) at a non-reducing terminal is removed from (Formula 8), and a saccharide in which 1 to 4 Sials at a non-reducing terminal are removed from (Formula Y3) can also be used.























[0076] As the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention, an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue is preferred, and an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 12, 13, 15, 16, 19, 88, 91, and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue is more preferred.

[0077] In the present embodiment, as the amino acid sequence of the wild-type IL-2, an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue or an alanine residue is more preferred.

[0078] The group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue refers to a group in which either a side chain thiol of the cysteine residue or a side chain amide of the asparagine residue is modified.

[0079] The glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue refers to a group in which a saccharide is bound to a side chain thiol of the cysteine residue or a side chain amide of the asparagine residue by chemical modification. The group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue may be modified with a linker or the like, or in the group, the cysteine residue or the asparagine residue and the saccharide may be bound to each other via a linker.

[0080] Examples of the glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue include an amino acid residue comprising a structure in which a saccharide is bound to a side chain thiol of the cysteine residue via a CH2CONH linker, as shown in (Formula 1) below. The side chain thiol of the cysteine residue and the saccharide may be bound to each other without a linker.



[0081] In the above (Formula 1), "Saccharide" represents a saccharide.

[0082] Examples of the glycosylated group derived from an asparagine residue include a structure in which a saccharide is bound to a side chain amide of the asparagine residue by chemical modification, as shown in (Formula 2) below. The side chain amide of the asparagine residue and the saccharide may be bound via a linker.





[0083] In the above (Formula 2), "Saccharide" represents a saccharide.

[0084] Examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention include an IL-2 variant in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in the amino acid sequence of the wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.

[0085] Examples of an IL-2 variant in which one saccharide is bound to the wild-type IL-2 include those described below.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 11 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 13 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 15 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 16 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 18 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 19 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 20 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 84 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 87 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 88 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 92 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 108 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 122 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 123 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
    In the IL-2 variants described above, the saccharide to be bound may be any saccharide, and examples thereof include a saccharide comprising a structure represented by (Formula 4), (Formula 5), (Formula 6), (Formula 7), (Formula 8), or (Formula Y3).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 11 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 7) or (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 13 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4) or (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 15 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4), (Formula 8), or (Formula Y3).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 16 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4), (Formula 5), (Formula 6), or (Formula 7).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 18 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4) or (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 19 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4), (Formula 7), (Formula 8), or (Formula Y3).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 20 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4) or (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 84 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 87 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4) or (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 88 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4), (Formula 7), or (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4), (Formula 7), or (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 92 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4),
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 108 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4) or (Formula 7).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4) or (Formula 7).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 122 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 123 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4) or (Formula 7).


[0086] One embodiment of the present invention also includes an IL-2 variant in which at least two saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2. Examples of the IL-2 variant in which two saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2 include an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least two amino acid residues selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 32, 38, 51, 76, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 100, 102, 104, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, 127, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.

[0087] As an example of the IL-2 variant in which two saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 32, 38, 51, 76, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 100, 102, 104, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, 127, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 and one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 18, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 108, 115, 119, 122, and 123 in the amino acid sequence are substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue is preferred.

[0088] Specific examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention include those shown below.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 8 and 19 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 12 and 16 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 15 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 19 and 23 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 12 and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 12 and 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 12 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 13 and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 13 and 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 13 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 19 and 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 91 and 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 91 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.


[0089] In the IL-2 variants described above, the saccharide to be bound may be any saccharide, and examples thereof include a saccharide comprising a structure represented by (Formula 4) or (Formula 8).

[0090] In addition, specific examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention also include those shown below.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 8 and 19 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 16 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) to be bound position 12 is represented by (Formula 8), and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) to be bound position 16 is represented by (Formula 4).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 15 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 19 and 23 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 13 and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 13 and 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 13 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 19 and 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 91 and 115 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 91 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).


[0091] One embodiment of the present invention also includes an IL-2 variant in which at least three saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2. Examples of the IL-2 variant in which three saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2 include an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least three amino acid residues selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 32, 38, 51, 76, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 100, 102, 104, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, 127, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.

[0092] In addition, as an example of the IL-2 variant in which three saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 32, 38, 51, 76, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 100, 102, 104, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, 127, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 and at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 18, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 108, 115, 119, 122, and 123 in the amino acid sequence are substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue is more preferred.

[0093] One embodiment of the present invention also includes an IL-2 variant in which at least four saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2. Examples of the IL-2 variant in which four saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2 include an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least four amino acid residues selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 32, 38, 51, 76, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 100, 102, 104, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, 127, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.

[0094] In addition, as an example of the IL-2 variant in which four saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 32, 38, 51, 76, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 100, 102, 104, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, 127, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 and at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 18, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 108, 115, 119, 122, and 123 in the amino acid sequence are substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue is more preferred.

[0095] One embodiment of the present invention also includes an IL-2 variant in which at least five saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2. Examples of the IL-2 variant in which five saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2 include an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which five amino acid residues selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 32, 38, 51, 76, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 100, 102, 104, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, 127, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.

[0096] In addition, as an example of the IL-2 variant in which five saccharides are bound to wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 32, 38, 51, 76, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 100, 102, 104, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, 127, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 and at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 5, 12, 32, 51, 76, 91, 100, 102, and 104 in the amino acid sequence are substituted with a glycosylated group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue is more preferred.

[0097] Examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention include those shown below.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 3, 12, 32, 76, and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 5, 12, and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 3, 12, 51, 91, and 100 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 3, 12, 76, 91, and 100 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 12, 91, 100, 102, and 104 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue.


[0098] In the IL-2 variants described above, the saccharide to be bound may be any saccharide, and examples thereof include a saccharide comprising a structure represented by (Formula 8).

[0099] In addition, examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention also include those shown below.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 3, 12, 32, 76, and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 5, 12, and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 3, 12, 51, 91, and 100 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 3, 12, 76, 91, and 100 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12, 91, 100, 102, and 104 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of "Saccharide" in (Formula 1) is represented by (Formula 8).


[0100] In the present embodiment, as the amino acid sequence of the wild-type IL-2, an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue or an alanine residue is more preferred.

[Method for producing glycosylated IL-2 variant]



[0101] Examples of a method for producing the glycosylated IL-2 variant include a method of chemically synthesizing a glycosylated peptide and then folding the same (chemical synthesis method) or a method in which an IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at a saccharide introduction position in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with an amino acid residue to which the saccharide can be bound is expressed by a host cell such as Escherichia coli, and then a saccharide is bound to the amino acid residue to which the saccharide can be bound (expression method).

[0102] In the present specification, the "peptide" refers to a peptide in which a plurality of amino acid residues are linked via peptide bonds to form a chain. Unless otherwise specified, a side chain of each amino acid residue may contain a protective group, and an N-terminal amino group and a C-terminal carboxyl group may be modified.

[0103] The glycosylated IL-2 variant may be produced by a combination of the chemical synthesis method and the expression method. Hereinafter, each method will be described.

(Production of glycosylated IL-2 variant by chemical synthesis method)



[0104] In the chemical synthesis method, it is preferable to produce a glycosylated IL-2 variant by sequentially joining at least one glycosylated peptide fragments and a peptide fragment and then folding the peptide fragments.

[0105] A total number of the peptide fragment and glycosylated peptide fragments to be joined is preferably 2 to 15 fragments, more preferably 2 to 5 fragments. The glycosylated peptide fragments and the peptide fragment may be thioesterified to obtain glycosylated peptide thioesters and a peptide thioester, and these may be joined.

[0106] Examples of a method for synthesizing the peptide fragment and a peptide thioester include a method commonly used in peptide synthesis [for example, method described in Fifth Edition, Experimental Chemistry Course 16, Synthesis of Organic Compounds IV: Carboxylic acid/Amino acid/Peptide (edited by The Chemical Society of Japan, Maruzen, 2005), Chemical Ligation: Tools for Biomolecule Synthesis and Modification (Luca D. DiAndrea et al., Wiley, 2017), and the like].

[0107] In this case, in order to improve solubility of peptides or the like, pseudoproline (J. Am. Chem. Soc., 1996, 118, 9218-9227) or isopeptide (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 54, 8226-8230) can also be used instead of two amino acids.

[0108] In addition, examples of a method for synthesizing peptide fragments and peptide thioesters include a liquid phase synthesis method such as Ajiphase technology (Tetrahedron Lett., 2012, 53, 1936.) developed by Takahashi et al. and Molecular Hiving technology (J. Org. Chem., 2013, 78, 320-327) developed by Okada et al., instead of a peptide solid phase synthesis method.

[0109] In addition, examples of the method for synthesizing peptide fragment include a method known in the related art, such as a production method using a recombinant DNA method including polymerase chain amplification reaction (PCR), preparation of plasmid DNA, cleavage of DNA by a restriction enzyme, preparation of oligonucleotides, DNA ligation, mRNA isolation, acquisition of a transformant by introducing DNA into an appropriate host cell, and culture of the transformant, a method described in cell-free protein expression method (Current Opinion in Biotechnology 2002, 13: 297-303) or the like. Examples of a method for synthesizing the peptide thioester include a method described in (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1998, 95: 6705-6710).

[0110] As a method of binding a saccharide to a peptide fragment, a peptide thioester, or the like, for example, in a case where a saccharide is bound to a side chain thiol of a cysteine residue of the peptide fragment, there is a method described in Japanese Patent No. 4607017. In addition, for example, in a case where a saccharide is bound to a side chain amide of an asparagine residue of the peptide fragment, there is a method described in Japanese Patent No. 4119428 or the like. In addition, examples of a method for producing a saccharide include a method described in International Publication No. WO 03/008431.

[0111] Examples of a method for joining the peptide fragments and/or the glycosylated peptide fragment include a method commonly used in peptide synthesis [for example, method described in Fifth Edition, Experimental Chemistry Course 16, Synthesis of Organic Compounds IV: Carboxylic acid/Amino acid/Peptide (edited by The Chemical Society of Japan, Maruzen, 2005), Chemical Ligation: Tools for Biomolecule Synthesis and Modification (Luca D. DiAndrea et al., Wiley, 2017), Chemoselective and Bioorthogonal Ligation Reactions Volume 1, 2 (W. Russ Algar et al. Wiley, 2017), or the like], and a native chemical ligation (NCL) method of a peptide fragment comprising a thioester at a C-terminal and another peptide fragment comprising a cysteine residue at an N-terminal is preferred.

[0112] The peptide fragment and/or the glycosylated peptide fragment can be joined at any position. However, in a case where the NCL method is used, as the N-terminal amino acid residue of a peptide fragment on a C-terminal side, a cysteine residue and an alanine residue are preferred, and the cysteine residue are more preferred.

[0113] As a method for joining the peptide fragment and/or the glycosylated peptide fragment, specifically, for example, in a case where an alanine residue is used as the N-terminal amino acid residue of the fragment on the C-terminal side, there is a method in which a C-terminal peptide fragment in which an alanine residue is substituted with a cysteine residue and an N-terminal peptide thioester fragment are joined by the NCL method, and then the cysteine residue is converted to an alanine residue by a desulfurization reaction, in accordance with a conventional method [Chemical Ligation: Tools for Biomolecule Synthesis and Modification (Luca D. DiAndrea et al., Wiley, 2017) and the like].

[0114] Examples of a method for folding the glycosylated peptide include a method commonly used in peptide folding [for example, method described in Fifth Edition, Experimental Chemistry Course 16, Synthesis of Organic Compounds IV: Carboxylic acid/Amino acid/Peptide (edited by The Chemical Society of Japan, Maruzen, 2005), Chemical Ligation: Tools for Biomolecule Synthesis and Modification (Luca D. DiAndrea et al., Wiley, 2017), and the like].

(Production of glycosylated IL-2 variant by expression method)



[0115] In the expression method, a glycosylated IL-2 variant can be produced in accordance with a method known in the related art. For example, the glycosylated IL-2 variant can be produced by a recombinant DNA method including polymerase chain amplification reaction (PCR), preparation of plasmid DNA, cleavage of DNA by a restriction enzyme, preparation of oligonucleotides, DNA ligation, mRNA isolation, acquisition of a transformant by introducing DNA into an appropriate host cell, and culture of the transformant and saccharide introduction by chemical modification.

[0116] Regarding the glycosylated IL-2 variant, for example, in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2, an expression cassette containing a nucleotide sequence encoding a mutation-introduced amino acid sequence to include an amino acid residue to which a saccharide can be bound is incorporated into an appropriate expression vector, and the expression vector is introduced into host cells, a saccharide is bound to the obtained protein by chemical modification, whereby it is possible to obtain the glycosylated IL-2 variant.

[0117] Examples of the nucleotide sequence encoding wild-type IL-2 used for preparing the expression vector include a nucleotide sequence obtained by removing a nucleotide sequence encoding a signal sequence from a nucleotide sequence represented by NCBI Accession No. NM_000586 and a nucleotide sequence encoding an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1.

[0118] The nucleotide sequence encoding IL-2 can be obtained by artificial gene synthesis or by designing appropriate primers from sequences registered in gene banks such as the Japan DNA Data Bank (DDBJ) and performing RT-PCR by mRNA extracted from cells or tissues of the animal.

[0119] In addition, the glycosylated IL-2 variant can also be obtained by introducing the expression vector described above into host cells capable of biosynthesizing a objective saccharide.

[0120] Specifically, regarding the expression vector, for example, the expression vector can be obtained by joining to downstream of a promoter in a vector suitable for expression in which the nucleotide sequence encoding the mutation-introduced IL-2 is incorporated in a desired position (for example, 5' terminal). The expression vector may have a secretion signal depending on the host.

[0121] As a method for introducing site-specific mutation into an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 so as to include an amino acid residue to which a saccharide can be bound, known methods can be used (US Application Publication No. 2004/0171154); Storici et al, 2001, Nature Biotechnology, 19, p. 773-776: Kren et al, 1998, Nat. Med., Vol.4, p. 285-290; and Calissano and Macino, 1996, Fungal Genet. News lett., Vol. 43, p. 15-16). In addition, commercially available kit may be used to introduce the site-specific mutation.

[0122] Specifically, for example, in a case where a cysteine residue is used as the amino acid residue to which a saccharide can be bound, an IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a cysteine residue can be prepared in accordance with a method described in US Patent No. 5206344, International Publication No. WO 2016/025385 or the like, and the sacchariden can be bound to the IL-2 variant in accordance with a method described in Japanese Patent No. 4607017.

[0123] A region containing the nucleotide sequence encoding IL-2 may have a translation initiation codon at the 5' terminal and also may have a translation termination codon at a 3' terminal. In addition, in order to express the nucleotide sequence encoding IL-2, it is preferable to connect the promoter upstream thereof.

[0124] The promoter is not particularly limited as long as it is a promoter corresponding to a host used for gene expression. In a case in which the host to be transformed is Bacillus subtilis, examples of the promoter include SP01, SP02, and PenP promoters. In a case where the host is yeast, examples of the promoter include PH05, PGK, GAP, and ADH promoters. In a case whre the host is Escherichia coli, examples of the promoter include a trp promoter (Ptrp) and a lac promoter. In a case where the host is an animal cell, examples of the promoter include an SV40-derived promoter and a retrovirus promoter.

[0125] IL-2 protein can also be expressed without a signal sequence in Escherichia coli, and the protein can be collected from inclusion bodies and refolded into an active form. Such an expression system is described in US Patent No. 7105653.

[0126] When using a signal sequence, it is possible to facilitate expression of the IL-2 protein. Examples of the signal sequence of a mammalian cell include a natural human IL-2 signal sequence, a signal sequence homologous to a TCR coding sequence, and a signal sequence homologous to a mouse IL-2 coding sequence. In addition, examples of another suitable signal sequence/host cell pairs include a B. subtilis sacB signal sequence for secretion in B. subtilis, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae α conjugation inducing factor signal sequence or P. pastoris acid phosphatase phoI signal sequence, for secretion by P. pastoris. The signal sequence can be directly connected to a protein encoding sequence via a sequence encoding a signal peptidase cleavage site, or can be connected via a short nucleotide bridge.

[0127] Elements may be used for enhancing transcription and translation of eukaryotic protein expression systems. For example, when placing a cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) promoter at position 1000 bp on both sides of a heterologous promoter, it is possible to increase the transcription level in plant cells by a factor of 10 to 400.

[0128] The host cell is not particularly limited, and examples thereof include prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells. Preferred examples of the host cells include the prokaryotic cells such as E. coli and Bacillus subtillus, animal cells such as HEK, J558, NSO, SP2-O, CHO, COS, KB, NIH3T3, BALB/c3T3, and umbilical vein endothelial cells, yeast strains such as S. cerevisiae and Pichia pastoris, and insect cells such as Sf9 or Tn.

[0129] The host cell may be modified so that the objective saccharide can be biosynthesized.

[0130] Transformation of the host may be performed by a method generally used for each host or an adaptable method. For example, when the host is Escherichia coli or yeast, an expression vector containing the recombinant DNA is introduced into a competent cell prepared by a lithium method or the like, by a temperature shock method or an electroporation method, when the host is an animal cell, an expression vector containing the recombinant DNA is introduced into a cell in a proliferation phase or the like by a calcium phosphate method, a lipofection method, or an electroporation method.

[0131] The transformant obtained in this manner is cultured in a medium generally used for each host or in an applicable culture solution to express the protein, and if necessary, a saccharide is further bound thereto by chemical modification. Accordingly, a glycosylated IL-2 protein can be produced. Examples of the culture solution include a culture solution such as an LB medium when the host is Escherichia coli, a culture solution such as a YPD medium when the host is yeast, and a culture solution in which fetal bovine serum is added to Dulbecco's MEM when the host is an animal cell.

[0132] The culture may be performed under conditions generally used for each host or under applicable conditions. For example, when the host is yeast, culture is performed at about 25°C to 37°C for about 12 hours to 2 weeks, and if necessary, aeration and stirring can be applied. In a case where the host is an animal cell, culture is performed at 37°C under the conditions of 5% carbon dioxide gas and 100% humidity, for about 24 hours to 2 weeks, and if necessary, the gas phase conditions may be changed or stirred.

[PEGylated IL-2 variant]



[0133] As the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention, a variant in which PEG is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in an amino acid sequence of IL-2 is preferred, and an IL-2 variant in which PEG is bound to at least one of amino acid residues at positions 78 and 129 in the amino acid sequence is more preferred.

[0134] As the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention, an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue is preferred, and an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least one of amino acid residues at positions 78 and 129 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue is more preferred.

[0135] In the present embodiment, as the amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2, an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, an amino acid sequence in which a methionine residue is bound to the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, an amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted, an amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted and a methionine residue has been bound, or the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the amino acid sequence in which a methionine residue is bound to the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted, or the amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted and a methionine residue has been bound, wherein an amino acid residue at position 125 in these amino acid sequences is substituted with a serine residue or an alanine residue is more preferred.

[0136] The "PEG" is a poly (ethylene glycol) molecule that is a water-soluble polymer comprising a structure in which ethylene glycol represented by "-(CH2CH2O)n-" (n is 2 or more) is polymerized. As the PEG, PEG4 having an average molecular weight of 10 kDa or more is preferred. For example, the average molecular weight is 10 kDa, 20 kDa, 30 kDa, 40 kDa, 50 kDa, 60 kDa, 70 kDa, 80 kDa, 90 kDa, 100 kDa, 200 kDa, or the like, and is not particularly limited. In addition, a shape of PEG may be linear or branched, and is not limited thereto. When chemically binding the PEG to the amino acid residue in the amino acid sequence of IL-2, it is possible to improve selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ. Tregs can be selectively activated by the IL-2 variant having improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ.

[0137] Examples of the PEGylated amino acid residue include a PEGylated cysteine residue and a PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue.

[0138] Examples of the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue include a PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising a thiol group and a PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising an azide group. Specific examples of the amino acid residue comprising a thiol group include acetylcysteine and homocysteine, but are not limited thereto. Specific examples of the amino acid residue comprising an azide group include an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, an m-Az-Z-Lys residue, N6-diazolidine, and p-azidophenylalanine, and are not limited thereto. Other examples of the non-natural amino acid residue may include non-natural amino acid residues described in International Publication No. WO 2017/030156, [Nature. 2017 Nov 29; 551 (7682): 644-647.], International Publication No. WO 2013/068874, US Application Publication No. 2014-0046030, [Bioconj. Chem., 2014, 25 (2), pp 351-361], International Publication No. WO 2014/044872, [Bioconj. Chem. 2015 Nov 18; 26 (11): 2249-60], International Publication No. WO 2014/124258, [Proc Natl Acad Sci US A. 2011 Jun 28; 108 (26): 10437-42] and the like. The PEG and the non-natural amino acid residue may be bound to each other via a linker. The linker can be appropriately changed depending on the type of the PEG or the non-natural amino acid residue.

[0139] The o-Az-Z-Lys residue is an amino acid residue comprising a structure represented by (Formula 10) below.



[0140] The m-Az-Z-Lys residue is an amino acid residue comprising a structure represented by (Formula XX1) below.





[0141] Examples of the PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue or the PEGylated group derived from an m-Az-Z-Lys residue include a structure in which PEG is bound to the o-Az-Z-Lys residue or an amide group of the m-Az-Z-Lys via a linker by reacting acetylene. Examples of the acetylene include Dibenzylcyclooctyne (DBCO) and Bicyclo [6.1.0] nonyne (BCN). In addition, a structure in which the PEG is bound via amide bond instead of the acetylene, according to a method described in [J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, pp 8820], [Org. Lett. 2000, 2, pp 2141], [Org. Lett. 2000, 2, pp 1939.], or the like is exemplified, but not limited thereto.

[0142] Specific examples of the PEGylated group derived from the o-Az-Z-Lys residue or the PEGylated group derived from the m-Az-Z-Lys residue include a structure represented by (Formula 11) and/or (Formula 12) or (Formula Y4) and/or (Formula Y5) below.













[0143] As PEG in the formula, various PEGs can be used with various average molecular weight or a structure of PEG. Specific examples of the PEG include structures represented by (Formula 13) below, Formula (14) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa, Formula (14) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa, (Formula X0) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula 15) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 50 kDa, (Formula 16) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula 16) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 80 kDa, (Formula X1) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X2) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 80 kDa, and (Formula X3) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, and are not limited thereto. In addition, in a case where PEG in the formula is represented by (Formula X3) below, not only the 4-branched chain of O(CH2CH2O)nCH3 but also a 2-branched or 3-branched chain thereof can be used in the same manner.





















[0144] Specific examples of the PEGylated group derived from a cysteine residue include a structure represented by (Formula Y6), (Formula Y7), and/or (Formula Y8) below in which the PEG is bound to a thiol group of the cysteine residue via a linker formed by reacting maleimide, a structure represented by (Formula Y9) below in which the PEG is bound to a thiol group of the cysteine residue via a linker formed by reacting a haloacetyl group, and the like, and are not limited thereto.













[0145] In the formula, specific examples of the PEG include a structure represented by (Formula X7) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X7) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 80 kDa, or (Formula X8) below in a case where the average molecular weight is 80 kDa, and are not limited thereto.





[0146] As the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention, IL-2 variants to be described below are preferred.

[0147] Examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention include IL-2 variants to be described below, in which one PEG is bound to IL-2.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 4 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 5 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 6 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 7 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 8 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 60 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 79 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 99 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 100 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 101 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.


[0148] In the IL-2 variants described above, regarding a size of the PEG to be bound, PEG having an average molecular weight of 20 kDa or more is preferred. Examples thereof include PEG having an average molecular weight of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 kDa.

[0149] Examples of the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention also include IL-2 variants to be described below, in which one PEG is bound to IL-2.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 4 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa or the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 5 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa or the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 6 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa or the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 7 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 8 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa or the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 60 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa or the average molecular weight is 30 kDa, (Formula X0) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula 15) in a case where the average molecular weight is 50 kDa, (Formula 16) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa or 80 kDa, (Formula X1) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X2) in a case where the average molecular weight is 80 kDa, or (Formula X3) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 79 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa or the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 99 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 100 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 101 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa or the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 13), (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 20 kDa or the average molecular weight is 30 kDa, (Formula X0) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula 16) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa or 80 kDa, (Formula X1) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X2) in a case where the average molecular weight is 80 kDa, (Formula 15) in a case where the average molecular weight is 50 kDa, or (Formula X3) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 16) in a case of 40 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from a cysteine residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula X7) and/or (Formula X8) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa or 80 kDa.
    As the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention, IL-2 variants to be described below in which at least two PEGs are bound to IL-2 is preferred.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 4 and 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 5 and 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 8 and 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 78 and 79 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 78 and 99 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 78 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 4 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 5 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 8 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 79 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at positions 99 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.


[0150] In the IL-2 variants described above, regarding the size of the PEG to be bound, PEG having an average molecular weight of 20 kDa or more is preferred. Examples thereof include PEG having an average molecular weight of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 kDa.

[0151] As the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention, IL-2 variants to be described below in which at least two PEGs are bound to IL-2 is also preferred.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 4 and 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 4 and 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula X0) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 4 and 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 15) in a case where the average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 5 and 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 5 and 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula X0) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 8 and 78 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa or (Formula X0) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 78 and 79 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 78 and 99 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 78 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 4 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa, (Formula X0) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, or (Formula 15) in a case where the average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 5 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa, (Formula X0) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, or (Formula 15) in a case where the average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 8 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa, (Formula X0) in a case where the average molecular weight is 40 kDa, or (Formula 15) in a case where the average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 79 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which each of amino acid residues at position 99 and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, in which the PEG is represented by (Formula 14) in a case where the average molecular weight is 30 kDa.


[0152] In the present embodiment, as the amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2, an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, an amino acid sequence in which a methionine residue is bound to the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, an amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted, an amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted and a methionine residue has been bound, or the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the amino acid sequence in which a methionine residue is bound to the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted, or the amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted and a methionine residue has been bound, wherein an amino acid residue at position 125 of these amino acid sequences is substituted with a serine residue or an alanine residue, is preferred.

[Method for producing PEGylated IL-2 variant]



[0153] Examples of a method for producing the PEGylated IL-2 variant include a chemical synthesis method and an expression method. The PEGylated IL-2 variant may be produced by a combination of the chemical synthesis method and the expression method. Hereinafter, each method will be described.

(Production of PEGylated IL-2 variant by chemical synthesis method)



[0154] Examples of a method for producing the PEGylated IL-2 variant by the chemical synthesis method include a method in which the PEG is bound to an IL-2 variant obtained by chemically synthesizing a peptide in which an amino acid residue at a PEGylation position in the amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 has been substituted with an amino acid residue having chemical reactivity that enables site-specific PEGylation of protein and then folding to produce the PEGylated IL-2 variant, and a method in which PEGylated peptide fragment is chemically synthesized and then folded to produce the PEGylated IL-2 variant.

[0155] The PEGylated peptide fragment can be produced by a method of PEGylation of the amino acid residue having chemical reactivity that enables site-specific PEGylation of protein in the peptide fragment.

[0156] Examples of the method of folding after chemically synthesizing the PEGylated peptide fragment include a method of sequentially joining at least one or more PEGylated peptide fragments and the peptide fragment and then folding, or a method of folding after PEGylation of a chemically synthesized IL-2 full-length peptide fragment.

[0157] Examples of a method for synthesizing the peptide fragment and a method for sequentially joining and then folding a peptide fragment include a method similar to the method described in the section of (Production of glycosylated IL-2 variant by chemical synthesis).

[0158] Examples of a method of PEGylation of the IL-2 variant obtained by synthesizing the peptide in which an amino acid residue at a PEGylation position in the amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 has been substituted with an amino acid residue having chemical reactivity that enables site-specific PEGylation of protein and then folding include a method described in US Patent No. 5206344 or International Publication No. WO 2012/065086. In addition, examples of PEGylation of the amino acid residue having chemical reactivity that enables site-specific PEGylation of protein in the peptide fragment include a method described in [Biomaterials 22 (2001) 405-417], [Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16, 25831-25864], or [J. Pharm. Sci., 105 (2016) 460-475].

[0159] Examples of the amino acid residue having chemical reactivity that enables site-specific PEGylation of protein include an amino acid residue comprising a thiol group and an amino acid residue comprising an azide group. Examples of the amino acid residue comprising a thiol group include cysteine, acetylcysteine and homocysteine, and are not limited thereto.

[0160]  Examples of the amino acid residue comprising an azide group include an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, an m-Az-Z-Lys residue, N6-azidolidine, and p-azidophenylalanine, and are not limited thereto. Other examples thereof may include non-natural amino acid residue described in International Publication No. WO 2017/030156, [Nature. 2017 Nov 29; 551 (7682): 644-647.], International Publication No. WO 2013/068874, US Application Publication No. 2014/0046030, [Bioconj. Chem., 2014, 25 (2), pp 351-361], International Publication No. WO 2014/044872, [Bioconj. Chem. 2015 Nov 18; 26 (11): 2249-60], International Publication No. WO 2014/124258, and [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011 Jun 28; 108 (26): 10437-42]. The PEG and the non-natural amino acid residue may be bound to each other via a linker.

[0161] The linker is a hydrocarbon group comprising 1 to 20 carbon atoms, and the carbon may be modified with oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, or the like, or the carbon may be substituted with oxygen, nitrogen, or sulfur. The linker can be appropriately changed depending on the type of the PEG or the non-natural amino acid residue.

[0162] Specific example of the chemical synthesis method include a method in which PEG is introduced into the IL-2 variant obtained by chemically synthesizing the peptide in which an amino acid residue at a PEGylation site in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 has been substituted with an amino acid residue comprising a thiol group, such as cysteine and/or an amino acid residue comprising an azide group, such as o-Az-Z-Lys residue and then folding to produce the PEGylated IL-2 variant. Examples of the method of PEGylation of an IL-2 variant into which a cysteine residue has been introduced include a method described in US Patent No. 5206344.

[0163] In addition, specific examples include a method in which PEG is introduced into the IL-2 variant obtained by chemically synthesizing the peptide in which an amino acid residue at a PEGylation site in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 has been substituted with cysteine or non-natural amino acid residue and then folding to produce the PEGylated IL-2 variant.

[0164] A PEG reagent represented by (Formula XX2) can be used for the synthesis of the PEGylated IL-2 variant.
[Chem. 89]

        X-(Linker)n-PEG-Me     (Formula XX2)



[0165] In the formula, X represents a functional group reactive with a thiol group, a functional group reactive with an azide group, or a functional group selectively reacting with an N-terminal amino group.

[0166] Specific examples of the functional group having reactivity with thiol include a thiol group, a maleimide group, an acryl group, an iodoacetyl group, a bromoacetyl group, and a chloroacetyl group, and the iodoacetyl group and the maleimide group are favorable.

[0167] Specific examples of the functional group reactive with azide include an acetylene group, a DBCO group, a DBN group, and a cycloalkyne comprising a hetero atom on a medium ring structure (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 1190-1194), and a thioester group, and DBCO is preferred.

[0168] Specific examples of the functional group selectively reacting with the N-terminal amino group include aldehyde.

[0169] In the formula, as "Linker", a hydrocarbon group comprising 1 to 20 carbon atoms may be used. The carbon may be modified with oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, or the like, and the carbon may be substituted with oxygen, nitrogen, or sulfur.

[0170] In the formula, n represents 0 or 1.

[0171] In the formula, the "PEG" is a poly (ethylene glycol) molecule that is a water-soluble polymer comprising a structure in which ethylene glycol represented by "-(CH2CH2O)m-" (m is 2 or more) is polymerized. Examples of a molecular weight of the PEG include PEG4, an average molecular weight of 20 kDa, 30 kDa, 40 kDa, 50 kDa, 60 kDa, 70 kDa, 80 kDa, 90 kDa, 100 kDa, or 200 kDa, but are not particularly limited. In addition, a shape of PEG may be linear or branched, but is not limited thereto.

[0172]  Depending on the PEG reagent to be used, stereoisomers, optical isomers, geometric isomers, and the like may be formed in some cases, and these isomers may be separated and used by a known method, or may be used as a mixture. Since the obtained IL-2 variant is a macromolecule, it is considered that the structural difference between the isomers of these partial structures has almost no effect.

[0173] As the PEG reagent, in addition to a commercially available PEG reagent, a PEG reagent prepared from a commercially available PEG reagent can also be used. For example, it is possible to prepare a PEG reagent by condensing a PEG reagent comprising a carboxylic acid equivalent such as a carboxyl group or N-hydroxysuccinimide ester at the terminal with an amine having reactivity with a thiol group or a azide group. In addition, the PEG reagent can also be synthesized by condensing a PEG reagent comprising an amino group at a terminal with a carboxylic acid equivalent such as a carboxyl group or N-hydroxysuccinimide ester having reactivity with a thiol group or an azide group. However, the present invention is not limited thereto.

(Production of PEGylated IL-2 variant by expression method)



[0174] Examples of a method for producing a PEGylated IL-2 variant by the expression method include a method in which after IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at a PEGylation site in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with an amino acid residue having chemical reactivity that enables site-specific PEGylation of protein is expressed by a host cell such as Escherichia coli, and then PEG is bound to the amino acid residue in the IL-2 variant by chemical modification to produce the PEGylated IL-2 variant.

[0175] Specific examples thereof include, in the same manner as in the method described above in the section (Production of glycosylated IL-2 variant by expression method), a method in which an expression cassette containing a nucleotide sequence encoding an amino acid sequence to which substitution with an amino acid residue having chemical reactivity that enables site-specific PEGylation of protein is introduced into a PEGylation position in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is incorporated an appropriate expression vector, and the expression vector is introduced into host cells such as Escherichia coli to obtain a transformant, the IL-2 variant is expressed on the transformant, and PEG is bound to a cysteine residue or a non-natural amino acid residue of the IL-2 variant by chemical modification, whereby it is possible to obtain the PEGylated IL-2 variant.

[0176] In a case where the Escherichia coli is used as the host cell, for the purpose of expression efficiency, purification of the produced protein, or the like, a linker may be introduced into the N-terminal of the wild-type IL-2 to form the expression cassette. Examples of the linker include a methionine residue, eight polyhistidines, and eight polyhistidines containing a methionine residue.

[0177] Examples of a method for preparing the IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue of IL-2 is substituted with a cysteine residue include methods described in US Patent No. 5206344 and International Publication No. WO 2016/025385.

[0178] Examples of a method for preparing the IL-2 variant in which the amino acid residue of IL-2 is substituted with a non-natural amino acid residue having chemical reactivity that enables site-specific PEGylation of a protein include methods described in International Publication No. WO 2017/No.030156, [Nature. 2017 Nov 29; 551 (7682): 644-647.], International Publication No. WO 2013/068874, U.S. Patent Application Publication 2014/0046030, [Bioconj. Chem., 2014, 25 (2), pp 351-361], International Publication No. WO 2014/044872, [Bioconj. Chem. 2015 Nov 18; 26 (11): 2249-60], International Publication No. WO 2014/124258, [Proc Natl Acad Sci US A. 2011 Jun 28; 108 (26): 10437-42].

[0179] In addition, examples of a method for producing a IL-2 variant in which the amino acid residue of IL-2 is substituted with an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, an m-Az-Z-Lys residue, or an o-Az-Z-Lys residue and a method for PEGylation of the IL-2 variant include a method described in International Publication WO 2017/030156.

[0180] As a method for PEGylation of the IL-2 variant in which the amino acid residue at the PEGylation site in the amino acid sequence of IL-2 is substituted with an amino acid residue having chemical reactivity that enables site-specific PEGylation of protein, PEG can be introduced by methods described in Japanese Patent No. 5206344, International Publication No. 2012/065086, International Publication No. WO 2017/030156, [Nature. 2017 Nov 29; 551 (7682): 644-647.], International Publication No. WO 2013/068874, US Application Publication No. 2014/0046030, [Bioconj. Chem., 2014, 25 (2), pp 351-361], International Publication No. WO 2014/044872, [Bioconj. Chem. 2015 Nov 18; 26 (11): 2249-60], International Publication No. WO 2014/124258, and [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jun 28; 108 (26): 10437-42].

[Method for producing IL-2 variant in which PEG or saccharide is further bound to glycosylated IL-2 variant or PEGylated IL-2 variant, and method for producing the same]



[0181] The glycosylated IL-2 variants described above may further have PEG thereto. In addition, the PEGylated IL-2 variants described above may further have a saccharide thereto. These IL-2 variants can be produced by combining the [Method for producing glycosylated IL-2 variant] and [Method for producing PEGylated IL-2 variant]. In addition, PEG can also be selectively introduced into an N-terminal amino group in accordance with International Publication No. WO2012/065086.

[0182] In a case where a saccharide is further introduced into the PEGylated IL-2 variant, an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which a saccharide is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is preferred, and an IL-2 variant in which the saccharide is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 12, 115, 119 in the amino acid sequence is more preferred.

[0183] In a case where PEG is further introduced into the glycosylated IL-2 variant, an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 51, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the PEGylated amino acid residue is preferred, and an IL-2 variant comprising an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 1, 3, 51, and 78 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated amino acid residue is more preferred.

[0184] Examples of the PEGylated amino acid residue include a PEGylated group derived from a cysteine residue, a PEGylated group derived from the N-terminal amino acid residue, and a PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue.

[0185] Examples of the group derived from a cysteine residue or a group derived from an N-terminal amino acid residue refers to a group in which PEG is bound to a side chain thiol group of the cysteine residue or a main chain amino group of the N-terminal amino acid residue by chemical modification or the like. The PEG and the group derived from the cysteine residue or the group derived from the N-terminal amino acid residue may be bound to each other via a linker. The linker can be appropriately changed depending on the type of the PEG or the non-natural amino acid residue.

[0186] Examples of the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue include a group in which PEG is bound to a group derived from an amino acid residue comprising a thiol group or a group derived from an amino acid residue comprising an azide group, by chemical modification or the like. Examples of the group derived from an amino acid residue comprising a thiol group include a PEGylated group derived from an acetylcysteine residue and a PEGylated group derived from a homocysteine residue, but are not limited thereto.

[0187] Examples of the PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising an azide group include a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, a PEGylated group derived from an m-Az-Z-Lys residue, a PEGylated group derived from an N6-diazolidine residue, and a PEGylated group derived from a p-azidophenylalanine residue, but are not limited thereto.

[0188] Other examples of the non-natural amino acid residue may include non-natural amino acid residue described in International Publication No. WO 2017/030156, [Nature. 2017 Nov 29; 551 (7682): 644-647.], International Publication No. WO 2013/068874, US Application Publication No. 2014-0046030, [Bioconj. Chem., 2014, 25 (2), pp 351-361], International Publication No. WO 2014/044872, [Bioconj. Chem. 2015 Nov 18; 26 (11): 2249-60], International Publication No. WO 2014/124258, [Proc Natl Acad Sci US A. 2011 Jun 28; 108 (26): 10437-42] and the like. The PEG and the non-natural amino acid residue may be bound to each other via a linker. The linker can be appropriately changed depending on the type of the PEG or the non-natural amino acid residue.

[0189] In a case where an amino acid residue at position 1 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue, a PEGylated group derived from an N-terminal amino acid residue, a PEGylated group derived from a cysteine residue, a PEGylated group derived from an acetylcysteine residue, a PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, and a PEGylated group derived from an m-Az-Z-Lys residue are preferred, and the PEGylated group derived from an N-terminal amino acid residue and the PEGylated group derived from an acetylcysteine residue are more preferred.

[0190] In a case where at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 51, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue, the PEGylated group derived from a cysteine residue, the PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue, and PEGylated group derived from an m-Az-Z-Lys residue are preferred, and the PEGylated group derived from a cysteine residue is more preferred.

[0191] Examples of the PEGylated group derived from an N-terminal amino acid residue include a structure represented by (Formula Z0) below, in which PEG is bound to a main chain amino group of an alanine residue via a linker formed by reacting an aldehyde.



[0192] Specific examples of the PEG in the formula include a structure represented by (Formula X00) below in a case where an average molecular weight is 20 kDa, but are not limited thereto.



[0193]  Specific examples of the PEGylated group derived from a cysteine residue include a structure represented by (Formula X4) below in which PEG is bound to a side chain thiol group of the cysteine residue via a linker formed by reacting a haloacetyl group, or a structure represented by (Formula X5), and/or (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) in which PEG is bound thereto via a linker formed by reacting maleimide.











[0194] Specific examples of the PEG in the formula include a structure represented by (Formula X11) below in a case where an average molecular weight is 20 kDa, (Formula X11) below in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X13) below in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X13) below in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa, (Formula X14) below in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X14) below in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa, or (Formula X15) below in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa, but are not limited thereto.









[0195] Specific examples of the PEGylated group derived from an acetylcysteine residue include a structure represented by (Formula XX3) below in which PEG is bound to a side chain thiol group of the acetylcysteine residue via a linker formed by reacting a haloacetyl group, or a structure represented by (Formula X8), and/or (Formula X9), and/or (Formula X10) in which PEG is bound thereto via a linker formed by reacting maleimide.









[0196] Specific examples of the PEG in the formula include a structure represented by (Formula X11) above in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X13) above in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X13) above in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa, (Formula X14) above in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa, or (Formula X15) above in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa, but are not limited thereto.

[0197] As the IL-2 variant according to one embodiment of the present invention, IL-2 variants to be described below are preferred.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 11 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 1 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 1 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 19 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and the amino acid residue at position 1 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 38 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 1 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 1 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 1 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 91 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 1 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 3 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 15 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 3 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 3 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 51 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 78 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 78 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 15 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with a glycosylated amino acid residue, and an amino acid residue at position 78 is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
    As the saccharides or PEGs to be bound to the PEGylated or glycosylated IL-2 variants described above of the present invention, various types thereof can be used in combination.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 11 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 7), an amino acid residue at position 1 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group shown in (Formula X0) derived from an N-terminal amino acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X0) is a structure represented by (Formula X00) in a case where an average molecular weight is 20 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 7), an amino acid residue at position 1 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group shown in (Formula X0) derived from an N-terminal amino acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X0) is a structure represented by (Formula X00) in a case where an average molecular weight is 20 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 38 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 7), an amino acid residue at position 1 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group shown in (Formula X0) derived from an N-terminal amino acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X0) is a structure represented by (Formula X00) in a case where an average molecular weight is 20 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 7), an amino acid residue at position 1 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group shown in (Formula X0) derived from an N-terminal amino acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X0) is a structure represented by (Formula X00) in a case where an average molecular weight is 20 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 and an amino acid residue at position 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 1 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula XX3) derived from an acetylcysteine acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula XX3) is a structure represented by (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa or (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 and an amino acid residue at position 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 1 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X8), (Formula X9), and/or (Formula X10) derived from an acetylcysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X8), (Formula X9), and/or (Formula X10) is a structure represented by (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa, (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa, or (Formula X14) in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 19 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 1 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula XX3) derived from an acetylcysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula XX3) is a structure represented by (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa or (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at position 91 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 1 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula XX3) derived from an acetylcysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula XX3) is a structure represented by (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 and an amino acid residue at position 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 3 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X4) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X4) is a structure represented by (Formula X11) in a case where an average molecular weight is 20 kDa, (Formula X11) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa, (Formula X14) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa, or (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 and an amino acid residue at position 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 3 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) derived from a cysteine acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) is a structure represented by (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 91 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the glycosylated group represented by (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4), an amino acid residue at position 3 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) is a structure represented by (Formula X14) in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 91 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the glycosylated group represented by (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 4), an amino acid residue at position 3 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X4) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X4) is a structure represented by (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 15 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 3 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X4) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X4) is a structure represented by (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa or (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 15 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 3 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) derived from a cysteine acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) is a structure represented by (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 and an amino acid residue at position 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 3 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) derived from a cysteine acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) is a structure represented by (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa or (Formula X14) in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 and an amino acid residue at position 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 3 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X4) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X4) is a structure represented by (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 and an amino acid residue at position 91 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 51 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X4) derived from a cysteine acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X4) is a structure represented by (Formula X11) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa or (Formula X15) in a case where an average molecular weight is 50 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 78 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X4) derived from a cysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X4) is a structure represented by (Formula X11) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa or (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 12 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 78 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) derived from a cysteine acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) is a structure represented by (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa or 80 kDa or (Formula X14) in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at position 12 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 78 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X4) derived from an cysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X4) is a structure represented by (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which amino acid residues at positions 12 and 119 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 are substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 78 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) derived from a cysteine acid residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X5), (Formula X6), and/or (Formula X7) is a structure represented by (Formula X13) in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa or (Formula X14) in a case where an average molecular weight is 80 kDa.
  • An IL-2 variant in which an amino acid residue at position 15 in an amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2 is substituted with the glycosylated group shown in (Formula 1) derived from a cysteine residue, a structure of Saccharide in (Formula 1) is a structure represented by (Formula 8), an amino acid residue at position 78 in the amino acid sequence is substituted with the PEGylated group represented by (Formula X4) derived from an cysteine residue, and a structure of PEG in (Formula X4) is a structure represented by (Formula X12) in a case where an average molecular weight is 40 kDa.


[0198] In the present embodiment, as the amino acid sequence of wild-type IL-2, an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, an amino acid sequence in which a methionine residue is bound to the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, an amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted, an amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted and a methionine residue has been bound, or the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the amino acid sequence in which a methionine residue is bound to the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1, the amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted, or the amino acid sequence in which the N-terminal alanine residue of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 has been deleted and a methionine residue has been bound, wherein an amino acid residue at position 125 of these amino acid sequences, is substituted with a serine residue or an alanine residue is preferred.

[0199] When a kinetic improving element known to improve pharmacokinetics is bound to the IL-2 variant of the present invention, it is possible to control half-life in blood. Examples of the kinetic improving element include a saccharide, a peptide, protein, and lipid, and a method described in [Therapeutic Proteins (edited by Roland Kontermann, Wiley Blackwell, 2012)] can be used in combination. Specifically, in order not to affect the selectivity of the Treg cell proliferation activity of the IL-2 variant of the present invention, the half-life in blood can be controlled by a method such as sialylation, HESylation, O-glycosylation, fusion of peptides and proteins as PEG mimics, fusion of the constant region or the Fc region of the antibody, fusion with serum proteins such as albumin (including methods for introducing lipids and fusing with albumin), or binding to phospholipids, nanoparticles, during sealing to nanoparticles.

[Evaluation of biological activity of IL-2 variant]



[0200] A biological activity of the IL-2 variant can be evaluated by any suitable method known in the related art. Evaluation methods include those described in Examples to be described later. Specific examples of a method for evaluating the biological activity of the IL-2 variant include methods (a) to (e) below. These methods can also be used to determine therapeutic effect, efficacy, and pharmacodynamic properties of the IL-2 variants.

(a) Method for measuring proliferation activity of Treg cells stimulated by IL-2 variant



[0201] Treg cells are cultured in a medium supplemented wit an IL-2 variant or wild-type IL-2, and a proliferation rate of the Treg cells is measured. Examples of other methods for measuring the proliferation activity of the Treg cells include a method for measuring an increase in the number of Treg cells in a mixed cell population and a method for measuring an abundance ratio of CD4+ CD25+ FOXP3+ marker phenotype or CD4+ CD25+ CD127low marker phenotype, by flow cytometry; a method of measuring incorporation of tritiated thymidine into separated Treg cells; a method for measuring an increase in expression of a cell cycle protein related to proliferation, such as Ki-67, in Treg cells; and a method for measuring the cell division-related dilution of a biofluorescent dye such as carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE) in Treg cells by flow cytometry.

(b) Method for measuring proliferation activity of NK cells stimulated by IL-2 variant



[0202] NK cells are cultured in a medium supplemented wit an IL-2 variant or wild-type IL-2, and a proliferation rate of the NK cells is measured. Examples of other methods for measuring the proliferation activity of NK cells include a method for measuring an increase in the number of NK cells in a mixed cell population and a method for measuring an abundance ratio of CD56+ marker phenotype, by flow cytometry; a method of measuring incorporation of tritiated thymidine into separated NK cells; a method for measuring an increase in expression of a cell cycle protein related to proliferation, such as Ki-67, in NK cells; and a method for measuring the cell division-related dilution of a biofluorescent dye such as CFSE in NK cells by flow cytometry.

[0203] It is preferable that the IL-2 variant of the present invention has a high Treg proliferation activity and/or a low NK cell proliferation activity, as compared with those of wild-type IL-2. Instead of the wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant having Treg proliferation activity and/or NK cell proliferation activity equivalent to those of the wild-type IL-2 may be used.

(c) Method for measuring inhibitory activity of Tregs stimulated by IL-2 variant on responder T cells (Tresp) proliferation



[0204] Tregs were cultured in a medium supplemented wit an IL-2 variant or wild-type IL-2. A proliferation rate of Tresp when co-cultured with Tresp (CD4+ Tresp, CD8+ Tresp) in the presence of appropriate TCR stimulation was measured. A rate of inhibition of the proliferation of Tresp by the IL-2 variant is evaluated in comparison with that of wild-type IL-2. It is preferable that the IL-2 variant of the present invention proliferates Tregs having at least the same inhibitory activity on Tresp proliferation as compared with that of wild-type IL-2. Instead of the wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant that proliferates Tregs having the same inhibitory activity on Tresp proliferation as that of the wild-type IL-2 may be used.

(d) Ex vivo assay



[0205] For inflammatory cytokines such as IL-4, IL-6, IFNγ, or TNFα, which is a functional effector molecule of Teff and NK cells, PBMCs are cultured in a medium supplemented with a IL-2 variant or wild-type IL-2. A production amount of cytokines in a culture supernatant is measured. In addition, the production amount of the anti-inflammatory cytokines may be measured by the same method. It is preferable that the IL-2 variant of the present invention reduces the production amount of inflammatory cytokines and/or increases the production amount of anti-inflammatory cytokines as compared with a case of wild-type IL-2. Instead of the wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant that produces inflammatory cytokines and/or anti-inflammatory cytokines equivalent to those of wild-type IL-2 may be used.

(e) Measurement of Treg/Teff ratio



[0206] PMBC cultured in a medium supplemented with an IL-2 variant or wild-type IL-2 is reacted with an anti-human CD4 antibody, an anti-human CD25 antibody, and an anti-human Foxp3 antibody. Among the CD4-positive fractions by flow cytometry, a CD25+ FOXP3high fraction is defined as Treg, and a CD25+ FOXP3low fraction is defined as effector T cells (Teff). An abundance ratio [Treg (%)/Teff (%)] (Treg/Teff ratio) is calculated. The data is analyzed using commercially available data analysis software (For example, FlowJo, version 7.6.5, manufactured by TreeStar). It is preferable that the IL-2 variant of the present invention has an improved Treg/Teff ratio as compared with that of the wild-type IL-2. Instead of the wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant having a Treg/Teff ratio equivalent to that of the wild-type IL-2 may be used.

[Composition]



[0207] According to one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a composition containing an effective amount of the IL-2 variant of the present invention. Examples of a composition form include pharmaceutical compositions and reagents.

[0208] As shown in Examples to be described later, since the IL-2 variant of the present invention selectively activates Tregs, the composition containing the IL-2 variant of the present invention can be suitably used a composition having an immunosuppressive effect. In addition, as one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a therapeutic agent for an immune disease, containing the IL-2 variant of the present invention.

[0209] Examples of a pathological condition or a disease for which the composition of the present invention is used include systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, chronic graft-versus-host disease, acute graft-versus-host disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, idiopathic thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, myasthenia gravis, Sjogren's syndrome, scleroderma, asthma, uveitis, epidermal hyperplasia, alopecia areata, Behcet's disease, Takayasu's arteritis, cartilage inflammation, bone breakdown, arthritis, juvenile arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, oligoarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, systemic onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile enteropathy arthritis, juvenile reactive arthritis, juvenile lighter syndrome, sea syndrome (seronegative, tendon attachment, arthropathy syndrome), juvenile dermatomyositis, juvenile psoriatic arthritis, juvenile scleroderma, juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile vasculitis, oligoarticular rheumatism, articulated rheumatoid arthritis, systemic onset rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, enteric arthritis, reactive arthritis, Reiter's syndrome, dermatomyositis, psoriatic arthritis, vasculitis, myositis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, osteoarthritis, polyarteritis nodosa, Wegener's granulomatosis, arteritis, rheumatic polymyalgia, sarcoidosis, sclerosis, primary biliary cirrhosis, sclerosing cholangitis, dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, atherosclerosis, Still's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, guillain-barre syndrome, type 1 diabetes, Graves' disease, Addison's disease, Raynaud's phenomenon, autoimmune hepatitis, inflammatory diseases such as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and allergic disease.

[0210] The composition of the present invention can be formulated by a known pharmaceutical method. For example, as a capsule, a tablet, a pill, a liquid, a powder, granules, fine granules, a film coating agent, pellets, lozenges, sublingual, a chewing agent, buccals, paste, syrup, suspension, elixirs, emulsion, coating agent, ointments, plasters, cataplasm, transdermal preparations, lotion, a suction agent, aerosol, injections, suppository, and the like, the composition can be used orally or parenterally.

[0211] In these formulations, pharmacologically acceptable carriers, specifically, for example, sterile water or normal saline solution,, vegetable oil, a solvent, a base, an emulsifier, a suspension, a surfactant, a stabilizer, a flavoring agent, aromatics, excipients, vehicle, preservative, binder, diluent, a tonicity agent, a soothing agent, a bulking agent, a disintegrant, buffer, a coating agent, a lubricant, a colorant, sweetener, thickener, a corrigent, dissolution aid, or other additives can be appropriately combined with the composition.

[0212] In addition, syringe may be used for administration of the composition of the present invention, and other devices may be used. Examples of the device include an injector pen, an auto injector device, a needleless device, and subcutaneous patch device.

[0213] The composition of the present invention can be used for animals including humans, but there is no particular limitation on animals other than humans. The composition can be used for various livestock, poultry, pets, laboratory animals, and the like. Specific examples include pig, cow, horse, sheep, goat, chicken, duck, ostrich, duck, dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, mouse, rat, monkey, and the like, and are not limited thereto. In addition, these may be in a healthy state or an affected state. However, in a case where the composition of the present invention is a pharmaceutical composition, the composition is used for animals in affected state.

[0214] The effective amount of the IL-2 variant in the composition will depend, for example, on a state and a purpose of treatment. An appropriate dosage can be adjusted depending on an indication for which the IL-2 variant is to be used, a route of administration, and a size (body weight, body or organ size) and/or a condition (age and health) of a subject to be administered.

[0215] For example, a single dose or intake is generally 1 ng/kg body weight to 100 mg/kg body weight, and preferably 0.01 µg/kg body weight to 1 mg/kg body weight.

[0216] A product (pharmaceutical or reagent) of the composition of the present invention or a description thereof may be provided with a label meaning that it is used for suppressing immunity or the like. Here, "product or description provided with a label" means that the label is attached to the product body, a container, packaging, or the like, or a label such as manuals, package inserts, advertising materials, and other printed materials that disclose product information is attached.

[Selectivity for IL-2R]



[0217] According to one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a method for improving selectivity of IL-2 for IL-2Kαβγ. In the present embodiment, the selectivity of IL-2 for IL-2Rαβγ can be improved by modification by binding a saccharide or PEG to IL-2 by the method described above.

[0218] When IL-2 has the improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ, there may be cases where an affinity of the IL-2 variant for a IL-2Rα subunit is higher than an affinity of wild-type IL-2 and an affinity of the variant IL-2 for at least one of IL-2Rβ subunit and IL-2Rγ subunit is lower than an affinity of wild-type IL-2.

[0219] According to one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a method for improving an affinity of IL-2 for an IL-2Rα subunit. The expression "improving an affinity of IL-2 for IL-2Rα subunit" means that the IL-2 variant has an improved affinity for an IL-2Rα subunit compared with that of the wild-type IL-2. In the present embodiment, when modifying the IL-2 by binding a saccharide or PEG thereto by the method described above, a produced IL-2 variant has improved affinity for an IL-2Rα subunit compared with that of the wild-type IL-2, and the selectivity of IL-2 for IL-2Rαβγ can be improved.

[0220]  The affinity of IL-2 for an IL-2Rα subunit can be evaluated by measuring the binding of IL-2 to IL-2Rα (CD25) using a Biacore and determining a dissociation constant KD using a steady state model. The binding of IL-2 to IL-2Rα by Biacore can be measured by a method to be described later in Examples. In the present embodiment, the KD of the IL-2 variant to IL-2Rα is preferably lower than that of a variant of the wild-type IL-2. Instead of the wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant having the same affinity for IL-2Rα as that of the wild-type IL-2 may be used.

[0221] According to one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a method of reducing an affinity of IL-2 for at least one of IL-2Rβ subunit and IL-2Rγ subunit. The expression "reducing an affinity of IL-2 for at least one of IL-2Rβ subunit and IL-2Rγ subunit" refers to that an affinity of the IL-2 variant for at least one of the IL-2Rβ subunit and IL-2Rγ subunit is reduced as compared with that of the wild-type IL-2. In the present embodiment, when modifying the IL-2 by binding a saccharide or PEG thereto by the method described above, a produced IL-2 variant has lowered affinity for at least one of the IL-2Rβ subunit and IL-2Rγ subunit, compared with that of the wild-type IL-2, and the selectivity of IL-2 for IL-2Rαβγ can be improved.

[0222] For example, the affinity of IL-2 for IL-2Rβγ subunit can be evaluated by measuring the binding of IL-2 to IL-2Rβγ by Biacore and determining a dissociation constant KD using a 1: 1 binding model. The binding of IL-2 to IL-2Rβγ by Biacore can be measured by a method to be described later in Examples. In the present embodiment, the KD of IL-2 for the IL-2Rβγ is preferably higher than that of the wild-type IL-2. Instead of the wild-type IL-2, an IL-2 variant having the same affinity for the IL-2Rβγ subunit as that of the wild-type IL-2 can be used.

[Method for selectively activating regulatory T cells]



[0223] According to one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a method for selectively activating regulatory T cells using the IL-2 variant of the present invention. In the present embodiment, the IL-2 variant of the present invention can be administered to a test subject to selectively activate the regulatory T cells.

Examples



[0224] Hereinafter, the present invention will be described more specifically based on Examples, but the present invention is not limited to Examples below.

[Example 1] Synthesis of glycosylated IL-2 variant



[0225] Various IL-2 variants shown in Tables 1 to 5 were prepared by methods described below.
[Table 1]
Produced glycosylated IL-2 variant
Name of variantGlycosy lation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionMutation at position 125
T3C-2 3 T C-lactose -
T3C-9 3 T C-asialo -
T3C-11 3 T C-disialo -
S4C-2 4 S C-lactosc -
S4C-9 4 S C-asialo -
S4C-11 4 S C-disialo -
S5C-2 5 S C-lactose -
S5C-9 5 S C-asialo -
S5C-11 5 S C-disialo -
Q11C-2 11 Q C-lactose -
Q11C-9 11 Q C-asialo -
Q11C-11 11 Q C-disialo -
L12C-2 12 L C-lactose -
L12C-9 12 L C-asialo -
L12C-11 12 L C-disialo -
Q13C-2 13 Q C-lactose S
Q13C-11 13 Q C-disialo S
EI5C-2 15 E C-lactose S
E15C-11 15 E C-disialo S
E15C-17 15 E C-tetrasialo S
H16C-2 16 H C-lactose -
H16C-3 16 H C-trisaccharide S
H16C-5 16 H C-pentasaccharide S
H16C-9 16 H C-asialo -
H16C-11 16 H C-disialo -
L18C-2 18 L C-lactose -
LI8C-9 18 L C-asialo -
L18C-11 18 L C-disialo -
L19C-2 19 L C-lactose -
L19C-9 19 L C-asialo -
L19C-11 19 L C-disialo -
L19C-11* 19 L C-disialo S
L19N-11 19 L N-disialo S
L19C-17 19 L C-tetrasialo S
[Table 2]
Produced glycosylated IL-2 variant
Name of variantGlycosylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionMutation at position 125
D20C-2 20 D C-lactose S
D20C-11 20 D C-disialo S
R38C-2 38 R C-lactose -
R38C-9 38 R C-asialo -
R38C-11 38 R C-disialo -
D84C-2 84 D C-lactose S
D84C-11 84 D C-disialo S
S87C-2 87 S C-lactose S
S87C-11 87 S C-disialo S
N88C-2 88 N C-lactose -
N88C-9 88 N C-asialo -
N88C-11 88 N C-disialo -
N88C-1 88 N C-GlcNAc S
N88C-1* 88 N C-glucose S
N88-1 88 N N-GlcNAc S
V91C-2 91 V C-lactose -
V91C-9 91 V C-asialo -
V91C-11 91 V C-disialo -
I92C-2 92 I C-lactose S
I92C-11 92 I C-disialo S
E95C-2 95 E C-lactose S
A108C-2 108 A C-lactose S
A108C-9 108 A C-asialo S
V115C-2 115 V C-lactose S
V115C-9 115 V C-asialo S
N119C-2 119 N C-lactose S
N119C-9 119 N C-asialo S
NU9C-11 119 N C-disialo S
I122C-2 122 I C-lactose S
I122C-9 122 I C-asialo S
T123C-11 123 T C-disialo S
S127C-11 127 S C-disialo S
S130C-2 130 S C-lactose S
S130C-9 130 S C-asialo S
[Table 3]
Produced glycosylated IL-2 variant
Name of variantGlycosylation site 1Glycosylation site 2Glycosylation site 3Mutation at position 125
Glycosylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionGlycosy lation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionGlycosylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitution
K8C-11 / L19C-11 8 K C-disialo 19 L C-disialo - - - S
L12C-11 / H16C-2 12 L C-disialo 16 H C-lactose - - - S
L12C-11 / H16C-2 / L19C-11 12 L C-disialo 16 H C-lactose 19 L C-disialo S
L12C-11 / L19C-11 12 L C-disialo 19 L C-disialo - - - S
L12C-11 / N88C-2 12 L C-disialo 88 N C-lactose - - - S
L12C-11 / V91C-11 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo - - - S
L12N-11 / V91N-11 12 L N-disialo 91 V N-disialo - - - S
L12C-11 / V115C-11 12 L C-disialo 115 V C-disialo - - - S
L12C-11 / N119C-11 12 L C-disialo 119 N C-disialo - - - S
Q13C-11 / V91C-11 13 Q C-disialo 91 V C-disialo - - - S
Q13C-11 / V115C-11 13 Q C-disialo 115 V C-disialo - - - S
Q13C-11 / N119C-11 13 Q C-disialo 119 N C-disialo - - - S
E15C-11 / V91C-11 15 E C-disialo 91 V C-disialo - - - S
E15C-11 / N119C-11 15 E C-disialo 119 N C-disialo - - - S
E15C-11 / T123C-11 15 E C-disialo 123 T C-disialo - - - S
H16C-2 / L19C-11 16 H C-lactose 19 L C-disialo - - - S
H16C-2 / V91C-11 16 H C-lactose 91 V C-disialo - - - S
L19C-11 / M23C-11 19 L C-disialo 23 M C-disialo - - - S
L19C-11 / V91C-11 19 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo - - - S
L19C-11 / V115C-11 19 L C-disialo 115 V C-disialo - - - S
V91C-11 / V115C-11 91 V C-disialo 115 V C-disialo - - - S
V91C-11 / N119C-11 91 V C-disialo 119 N C-disialo - - - S
[Table 4]
Produced glycosylated IL-2 variant
Name of variantGlycosylation sitelGlycosylation site2Glycosylation site3Glycosylation site4Glycosylation site5Amino acid residue after substitutionMutation at position 125
Glycosylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionGlycosylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionGlycosylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionGlycosylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionGlycosylation siteAmino acid residue before substitution
A1C-11 /T3C-11 /S5C-11 /L12C-11/ V91C-11 1 A 3 T 5 S 12 L 91 V C-disialo S
T3C-11/L12C-11 /T51C-11/ V91C-11 / E100C-11 3 T 12 L 51 T 91 V 100 E C-disialo S
T3C-11/L12C-11 /K76C-11/ V91C-11 / E100C-11 3 T 12 L 76 K 91 V 100 E C-disialo S
T3C-11/L12C-11 /K32C-11/ K76C-11 /V91C-11 3 T 12 L 32 K 76 K 91 V C-disialo S
L12C-11 /V91C-11/E100C-11/T102C-11/ M104C-11 12 L 91 V 100 E 102 T 104 M C-disialo S
[Table 5]
Produced glycosylated IL-2 variant
Name of variantGlycosylation sitelGlycosylation site2Cys mutation siteMutation at position 125
Glycosy lation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionGlycosy lation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionCys mutation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitution
A1C/L12C-11/V91C-11 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo 1 A AcC S
A1C/E15C-11 15 E C-disialo - - C-disialo 1 A AcC S
A1C/L19C-11 19 L C-disialo - - C-disialo 1 A AcC S
A1C/V91C-11 /N119C-11 91 V C-disialo 119 N C-disialo 1 A AcC S
T3C/L12C-11/V91C-11 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo 3 T C S
T3C/L12C-X1/V91C-2 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo 3 T C S
T3C/L12C-11/ N119C-11 12 L C-disialo 119 N C-disialo 3 T C S
T3C/L19C-11 19 L C-disialo - - C-disialo 3 T C S
T51C/L12C-11 /V91C-X1 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo 51 T C S
F78C/L12C-11 12 L C-disialo - - C-disialo 78 F C S
F78C/L12C-11 /V91C-11 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo 78 F C S
F78C/E15C-11 15 E C-disialo - - C-disialo 78 F C S

<Description of Tables 1 to 5>



[0226] 
  • Glycosylation site: Position from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence of wild-type mature human IL-2 (SEQ ID NO: 1) (hereinafter, also simply referred to as wild-type IL-2)
  • Cys mutation site: Position from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1
  • Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".


[0227] In the tables, structures described in the column "Amino acid residues after substitution" in "Glycosylation site" are shown below.

[0228] C-Saccharide (GlcNAc, glucose, lactose, trisaccharide, pentasaccharide, asialo, disialo, or tetrasialo) indicates a structure represented by (Formula 1) below in which a saccharide is introduced into a side chain thiol of cysteine via a CH2CONH linker.



[0229] In (Formula 1) above, Saccharide indicates a saccharide.

[0230] N-Saccharide (GlcNAc or disialo) indicates a structure represented by (Formula 2) below in which saccharide is introduced into a side chain amide of asparagine.



[0231] In (Formula 2) above, Saccharide indicates a saccharide.

[0232] GlcNAc indicates a structure represented by (Formula Y1) below.



[0233] Glucose indicates a structure represented by (Formula Y2) below.



[0234] Lactose indicates a structure represented by (Formula 4) below.



[0235] Trisaccharide indicates a structure represented by (Formula 5) below.



[0236] Pentasaccharide indicates a structure represented by (Formula 6) below.



[0237] Asialo indicates a structure represented by (Formula 7) below.





[0238] Disialo indicates a structure represented by (Formula 8) below.



[0239] Tetrasialo indicates a structure represented by (Formula Y3) below.



  • In the table, AcC described in the column "Amino acid residue after substitution" in "Cys mutation site" indicates a structure represented by (Formula XXX) below.


[Table 6]
Produced IL-2 or IL-2 variant
Name of IL-2 or IL-2 variantMutation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionMutation at position 125
Wild-type IL-2 - - - -
L19C 19 L C S
L 19C-acetamide 19 L C-acetamide S
L19N 19 L N S
N88C-acetamide 88 N C-acetamide S

<Description of Table 6>



[0240] 
  • Mutation site: Position from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1
  • Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".


[0241] In the table, C-acetamide described in the column "Amino acid residue after substitution" indicates a structure represented by (Formula 9) below.


(Step 1) Synthesis of peptide segment 1



[0242] Peptide thioesters or a glycosylated peptide thioesters of IL-2 amino acid sequence, 1 to 57 were prepared by the method below.

(Step 1-1a-1) Synthesis of peptide hydrazide



[0243] A first amino acid residue was loaded to tritylhydrazine resin obtained by a method described in [Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 6978-6981] using Fmoc-Gln (Trt)-OH (5 equiv), 1-hydroxybenzotriazole (5 equiv), and N,N'-diisopropylcarbodiimide (5 equiv) in DMF. According to a conventional method, elongation of amino acid using Fmoc amino acids (5.3 equiv), HCTU (5 equiv), N-methylmorpholine (5 equiv), or 2,4,6-trimethylpyridine (5 equiv) in DMF and deprotection with a 20% piperidine-DMF solution were repeated to extend second and subsequent amino acids. The extended peptide was cleaved from the resin using trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), triisopropylsilane (TIPS) and water to remove side-chain protecting groups, and then dropped into ice-cooled ether. The resulting precipitate was collected by centrifugation. Purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to synthesize the peptide hydrazide.

[0244] In this case, in the case of cysteine glycosylation, peptide hydrazide in which a glycosylation site was mutated to cysteine was prepared. In addition, in the case of introducing two types of saccharide, peptide hydrazide in which one was mutated to cysteine and the other was mutated to S-acetamidomethylcysteine was prepared.

[0245] In addition, when preparing an IL-2 variant in which amino acid sequence, position 3 or 51 is mutated to cysteine, the peptide hydrazide in which the position for introducing a saccharide is mutated to cysteine and position 3 or 51 in the amino acid sequence is mutated to S-acetamidomethylcysteine was prepared.

[0246] In addition, when preparing an analog in which amino acid sequence, position 1 was mutated to acetylcysteine, a peptide in which the position for introducing a saccharide is mutated to cysteine, amino acid sequence, position 1 is mutated to S-acetamidomethylcysteine, is extended on the resin, then an N-terminal amino group is acetylated using acetic anhydride and pyridine, and cleavage from the resin, removal of side-chain protecting groups, and purification were performed according to the method described above, and a peptide hydrazide in which the position 1 was mutated to acetylcysteine was prepared.

(Step 1-1a-2) Synthesis of Cys-glycosylated peptide hydrazide or Cys-acetamide-bound peptide hydrazide



[0247] The glycosylation using a bromoacetyl saccharide (prepared according to the method described in International Publication No. WO 2005/010053) to the peptide hydrazide obtained in (Step 1-1a-1) was carried out by a method described in [Tetrahedron Lett., 2004, 45, 3287-3290, Carbohydr. Res. 2009, 344, 762-770] to synthesize a targeted glycosylated peptide hydrazide.

[0248] A Cys-acetamide-bound peptide hydrazide was synthesized using bromoacetamide instead of the bromoacetyl saccharide, in the same manner as above.

(Step 1-1b) Synthesis of Asn-glycosylated peptide hydrazide



[0249] A first amino acid residue was loaded to tritylhydrazine resin obtained by a method described in [Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 6978-6981] using Fmoc-Gln (Trt)-OH (5 equiv), 1-hydroxybenzotriazole (5 equiv), and N,N'-diisopropylcarbodiimide (5 equiv) in DMF. According to a conventional method, elongation of amino acid using Fmoc amino acids (5.3 equiv), HCTU (5 equiv) or N-methylmorpholine (5 equiv) in DMF and deprotection with a 20% piperidine-DMF solution were repeated to extend second and subsequent amino acids other than glycosylated Asn.

[0250] The glycosylated Asn (prepared according to a method described in International Publication WO 2004/005330) was extended by the method described in WO 2004/005330. The extended peptide was cleaved from the resin using trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), triisopropylsilane (TIPS) and water to remove side-chain protecting groups, and then dropped into ice-cooled ether. The resulting precipitate was collected by centrifugation. Purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to synthesize the Asn-glycosylated peptide hydrazide.

(Step 1-2a) Synthesis of peptide thioester or glycosylated peptide thioester



[0251] The peptide hydrazide obtained in (Step 1-1a-1), the Cys-glycosylated peptide hydrazide or the Cys-acetamide-bound peptide hydrazide obtained in (Step 1-1a-2) or Asn-glycosylated peptide hydrazide obtained in (Step 1-1b) is dissolved in 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 3), cooled to -20°C, and then 200 mmol/L sodium nitrite, 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 7) were added thereto and stirred for 5 minutes. 400 mmol/L sodium 2-mercaptoethanesulfonate, 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 6) were added thereto, and stirred at -15°C for 1.5 hours. Then, purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to obtain a peptide thioester or a glycosylated peptide thioester.

(Step 1-2b) Synthesis of peptide thioester to which two types of saccharides were bound



[0252] When two types of saccharides are introduced, silver acetate suspended in acetic acid was added to a reaction solution of the glycosylated peptide hydrazide obtained in (Step 1-1a-2), the mixture was stirred for 6 hours, for the romoval of S-acetamide methyl group. After adding dithiothreitol, the supernatant obtained by centrifugation was solvent-exchanged to 4 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 5 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 5) by gel filtration (Superdex G-75). 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 3) were added to eluate, and the pH was adjusted to 3 using 2 mol/L hydrochloric acid, and then the solution was cooled to -15°C.

[0253] After 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 200 mmol/L sodium nitrite and 50 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 7) were added thereto and stirred at -15°C for 5 minutes, 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 400 mmol/L Sodium 2-mercaptoethanesulfonate and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 6) were added thereto, and stirred at -15°C for 1.5 hours. Purification was performed by a reverse-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to obtain the glycosylated peptide thioester.

[0254] A second kind of saccharide was introduced into the obtained glycosylated peptide thioester according to the method described in (Step 1-1a-2), and purification was performed by a reverse-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to obtain a peptide thioester to which two types of saccharides were bound.

(Step 2) Synthesis of peptide segment 2



[0255] Peptide hydrazide or glycosylated peptide hydrazide of IL-2 amino acid sequence, 58 to 104 were prepared by the method below.

(Step 2-1a-1) Synthesis of peptide hydrazide



[0256] A first amino acid residue was loaded to tritylhydrazine resin obtained by a method described in [Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 6978-6981] using Fmoc-Met-OH (5 equiv), 1-hydroxybenzotriazole (5 equiv), and N,N'-diisopropylcarbodiimide (5 equiv) in DMF.

[0257] According to a conventional method, elongation of amino acid using Fmoc amino acids (5.3 equiv), HCTU (5 equiv), N-methylmorpholine (5 equiv), or 2,4,6-trimethylpyridine (5 equiv) in DMF and deprotection with a 20% piperidine-DMF solution were repeated to extend second and subsequent amino acids.

[0258] The extended peptide was cleaved from the resin using trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), triisopropylsilane (TIPS) and water to remove side-chain protecting groups, and then dropped into ice-cooled ether. The resulting precipitate was collected by centrifugation. Purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to synthesize the peptide hydrazide.

[0259] In this case, in a case of introducing a saccharide, a peptide hydrazide in which a glycosylation site was mutated to cysteine, and amino acid sequence, 58 was mutated to thioproline was prepared. When preparing an analog in which the amino acid sequence at position 78 was mutated to cysteine, a peptide hydrazide in which the amino acid sequence at position 78 was mutated to cysteine was prepared. When preparing an analog in which a saccharide was introduced into the amino acid sequence, 91 and the amino acid sequence, 78 was mutated to cysteine, a peptide hydrazide in which the amino acid sequence at position 91 was mutated to cysteine and the amino acid sequence at position 78 was mutated to S-acetamidomethylcysteine was prepared.

(Step 2-1a-2) Synthesis of Cys-glycosylated peptide hydrazide or Cys-acetamide-bound peptide hydrazide



[0260] After 10 equivalents of sodium 2-mercaptoethanesulfonate to the bromoacetyl saccharide, 8 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride aqueous solution, 2 mol/L hydrochloric acid and methoxyamine hydrochloride were added to the reaction solution in which the glycosylation using a bromoacetyl saccharide (prepared according to the method described in International Publication No. WO 2005/010053) to the peptide hydrazide obtained in (Step 2-1a-1) was carried out by the method described in [Tetrahedron Lett., 2004, 45, 3287-3290, Carbohydr. Res. 2009, 344, 762-770], pH was adjusted to 4, and reaction was performed at room temperature for 20 minutes. Purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to synthesize the Cys-glycosylated peptide hydrazide.

[0261] Cys-bromoacetamide-bound peptide hydrazide was synthesized using bromoacetamide instead of the bromoacetyl saccharide, in the same manner as above.

(Step 2-1b) Synthesis of Asn-glycosylated peptide hydrazide



[0262] Asn-glycosylated peptide hydrazide was prepared in the same manner as in (Step 1-1b).

(Step 3) Synthesis of peptide segment 3



[0263] The peptide or a glycosylated peptide of IL-2 amino acid sequence, 105 to 133 was prepared by the method below.

(Step 3-1) Adjustment of solubilization tag (H-C(Npys)RRRRR-NH2)



[0264] Elongation of amino acid using Fmoc amino acids (5.3 equiv), HCTU (5 equiv), or N-methylmorpholine (5 equiv) in DMF on Rink-amide resin and deprotection with a 20% piperidine-DMF solution were repeated to extend amino acids. The extended peptide was cleaved from the resin using trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), triisopropylsilane (TIPS) and water to remove side-chain protecting groups, and then dropped into ice-cooled ether. The resulting precipitate was collected by centrifugation. The solubilization tag (H-C(Npys)RRRRR-NH2) was prepared.

(Step 3-2) Synthesis of solubilization tag-introduced peptide



[0265] Peptides of IL-2 amino acid sequence, 105 to 133 were prepared by the method below.

[0266] A first amino acid residue was loaded to HMPB-ChemMatrix resin, using Fmoc-Thr (tBu)-OH (5 equiv), 1-(mesitylene-2-sulfonyl)-3-nitro-1,2,4-triazole (5 equiv), and 1-methylimidazole (3.5 equiv). According to the conventional method, elongation of amino acid using Fmoc amino acids (5.3 equiv), HCTU (5 equiv), N-methylmorpholine (5 equiv), or 2,4,6-trimethylpyridine (5 equiv) in DMF and deprotection with a 20% piperidine-DMF solution were repeated to extend second and subsequent amino acids.

[0267] The extended peptide was cleaved from the resin using trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), triisopropylsilane (TIPS) and water to remove side-chain protecting groups, and then dropped into ice-cooled ether. The resulting precipitate was collected by centrifugation to obtain a crude purified peptide. In a case of the glycosylation to cysteine, a peptide in which glycosylation site was mutated to cysteine, and amino acid sequence 105 was mutated to thioproline was prepared.

[0268] The solubilization tag (3 equivalents to the crude peptide product) obtained in (Step 3-1) was dissolved in 6.8 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride and 310 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 7), and 5 equivalents acetic anhydride was added thereto and stirred at room temperature for 1 hour. After adding 10 equivalents of arginine hydrochloride, the peptide crude product dissolved in 8 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride and 250 mmol/L trishydroxymethylaminomethane hydrochloride aqueous solution (pH 8) was added thereto, and stirred at room temperature for 1 hour. Purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to synthesize the solubilization tag-introduced peptide.

(Step 3-3) Glycosylation of solubilization tag-introduced peptide



[0269] The solubilization tag-introduced peptide obtained in (Step 3-2) was dissolved in 8 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 5 mmol/L tris (2-carboxyethyl) phosphine and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 6), a solution of 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride of bromoacetyl saccharide (5 equiv, prepared by the method described in International Publication No. WO 2005/010053) and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 7) was added thereto and reacted for 5 hours.

[0270] After adding 4 equivalents of sodium 2-mercaptoethanesulfonate to the bromoacetyl saccharide and stirring for 1 hour, methoxyamine hydrochloride (300 equiv) dissolved in 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 7) was added thereto. The mixture was adjusted to have pH 4 using 2 mol/L hydrochloric acid and reacted for 1 hour. Purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to synthesize the glycosylated peptide.

(Step 4) Synthesis of IL-2 variant and glycosylated IL-2 variant


(Step 4-1) Ligation reaction of peptide segments 1 and 2



[0271] The peptide segment 1 obtained in (Step 1) above and the peptide segment 2 obtained in (Step 2) above (1.1 equiv) were dissolved in 8 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 100 mM tris(2-carboxyethyl) phosphine, 100 mM ascorbic acid, 50 mmol/L 4-mercaptophenylacetic acid and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 7) and reacted. Thereafter, purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to synthesize a conjugate of the peptide segments 1 and 2.

(Step 4-2) Thioesterification of conjugate of peptide segments 1 and 2



[0272] The conjugate of the peptide segments 1 and 2 obtained in (Step 4-1) was thioesterified in the same manner as in (Step 1-2a).

(Step 4-3) Ligation with peptide segment 3



[0273] The peptide thioester obtained in (Step 4-2) above and the peptide segment 3(1 equiv) obtained in (Step 3) above were dissolved in 8 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 100 mM tris(2-carboxyethyl) phosphine, 100 mM ascorbic acid, 50 mmol/L 4-mercaptophenylacetic acid and 200 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 7) and reacted. Thereafter, purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to synthesize a conjugate of the peptide segments 1, 2, and 3.

(Step 4-4) Deprotection of acetamide methyl group



[0274] In the case where the cysteine in the conjugate of the peptide segments 1, 2, and 3 obtained in (Step 4-3) above was protected with an acetamide methyl group, the acetamide methyl group was removed by the method below.

[0275] The conjugate of the peptide segments 1, 2, and 3 was dissolved in 6 mol/L urea and 5 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 5) and silver acetate (420 equivalents) suspended in acetic acid was added thereto and stirred for 5 hours. After adding an excess amount of dithiothreitol, the supernatant obtained by centrifugation was purified by a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to obtain a de-acetamide-methyl product.

(Step 4-5) Deprotection of sialic acid benzyl ester



[0276] In a case where sialic acid side chain carboxylic acids on the saccharide of the conjugate of the peptide segments 1, 2, and 3 obtained in (Step 4-3) above are protected with benzyl groups, the benzyl groups were removed according to the method described in International Publication No. WO2004/005330. Thereafter, purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to obtain the debenzylated product.

(Step 4-6) Synthesis of IL-2 variant and glycosylated IL-2 variant



[0277] The conjugate of the peptide segments 1, 2, and 3 synthesized in (Step 4-3), (Step 4-4), or (Step 4-5) was dissolved in 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride and 100 mmol/L trishydroxymethylaminomethane hydrochloride (pH 8), and then 100 mmol/L trishydroxymethylaminomethane hydrochloride, 10 mmol/L reduced glutathione and 1 mmol/L oxidized glutathione (pH 8) were added thereto, and stirred at room temperature for 18 hours. Purification was performed using a reversed-phase HPLC column [Proteonavi (trade name), manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.] to obtain the IL-2 variant and the glycosylated IL-2 variant.

[0278] The obtained IL-2 variant and the glycosylated IL-2 variant was confirmed that there was no problem in quality and purity, from the points that a calculated value and a measured value match in mass spectrometry, the CD spectrum matches that of the wild-type IL-2, and/or a band detected by SDS-PAGE was at a position of the band having an assumed molecular weight.

[Example 2] Synthesis of N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant



[0279] N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 shown in Table 7 were produced by a method described below.
[Table 7]
Produced N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant
Name of variantPEGylation siteGlycosylation siteMutation at position 125
PEGylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionGlycosylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitution
Al-Li20 (CHO)/Q11C-9 1 A A-Li20 (CHO) 11 Q C-asialo -
Al-Li20 (CHO)/L12C-9 1 A A-Li20 (CHO) 12 L C-asialo -
Al-Li20 (CHO)/R38C-9 1 A A-Li20 (CHO) 38 R C-asialo -
Al-Li20 (CHO)N91C-9 1 A A-Li20 (CHO) 91 V C-asialo -

<Description of Table 7>



[0280] 
  • Glycosylation site and PEGylation site: Position from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence of wild-type mature human IL-2 (SEQ ID NO: 1) (hereinafter, also simply referred to as wild-type IL-2)
  • Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".
  • In the tables, structures described in the column "Amino acid residues after substitution" in "Glycosylation site" are shown below.


[0281] C-saccharide (asialo) indicates a structure represented by (Formula 1) below in which a saccharide is introduced into a side chain thiol of cysteine via a CH2CONH linker.





[0282] In (Formula X1) above, Saccharide indicates a saccharide.

[0283] Asialo indicates a structure represented by (Formula 7) below.



[0284] In the table, structures described in the column "Amino acid residues after substitution" in "PEGylation site" are shown below.

[0285] A1-PEG(CHO)[Li20(CHO)] indicates a structure represented by (Formula Z0) below in which PEG is introduced into an alanine main chain amino group via a (CH2)3 linker.



[0286] Li20 indicates that, in (Formula Z0) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X00) below in a case of an average molecular weight of about 20 kDa.



[0287] 20 mmol of phosphate buffer (pH 5.5) of PEG-aldehyde (10 equiv, PJK-241; Creative PEG Works) was added to 1 mM EDTA and 20 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 5.5) of the glycosylated IL-2 variant at room temperature, and stirred at room temperature for 30 minutes. Thereafter, NaBH3(CN) (1000 equiv) was added thereto, and stirred for 3 hours.

[0288] A solvent was replaced by 0.05% trifluoroacetic acid and 2% acetonitrile aqueous solution by ultrafiltration using Amicon Ultra-0.5 (10 kDa), followed by purification in size exclusion chromatography (column; manufactured by Waters, connecting XBridge BEH450A, 3.5 µm, 7.8 × 150 mm and XBridge BEH200A, 3.5 µm, 7.8 × 150 mm), to synthesize an N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant.

[0289] A purity of the purified N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant was confirmed by SDS-PAGE. As a result, in all the variants, a single band in which a molecular weight of PEG was increased was confirmed, and it was confirmed that highly purified N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variants were obtained.

[Example 3] Synthesis of Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant



[0290] Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 shown in Table 8 were produced by a method described below.
[Table 8]
Produced Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant
Name of variantPEGvlation siteGlycosylation site1Glycosylation site2Mutation at position 125
PEGyla tion siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionGlycos ylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionGlycos ylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitution
A1C-Li40 (IAc) / L12C-11/V91C-11 1 A AcC-Li40 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
A1C-Y80 (Mal) / L12C-11/V91C-11 1 A AcC-V80 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
A1C-Y50 (IAc) / L12C-L1/V91C-11 1 A AcC-Y50 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
A1C-Y50 (Mal) / L12C-11 / V91C-11 1 A AcC-Y50 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
A1C-W80 (Mal) / L12C-L1/V91C-1L 1 A AcC-W80 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
A1C-Y50 (IAc) / L19C-11 1 A AcC-Y50 (IAc) 19 L C-disialo - - - S
A1C-V40 (IAc) / L19C-11 1 A AcC-V40 (IAc) 19 L C-disialo - - - S
A1C-Y50 (IAc) / V91C-11/N119C-11 1 A AcC-Y50 (IAc) 91 V C-disialo 119 N C-disialo S
T3C-W80 (Mal) / LL2C-11/V91C-2 3 T C-W80 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-lactose S
T3C-Li20 (IAc) / L12C-11/V91C-11 3 T C-L120 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
T3C-Li40 (IAc) / L12C-LL/V91C-11 3 T C-Li40 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
T3C-V40 (IAc)/ LI2C-IL/V91C-1L 3 T C-V40 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
T3C-W40 (IAc)/ L12C-1L/V91C-11 3 T C-IY40 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
T3C-Y50 (IAc)/ L12C-11 /V91C-2 3 T C-Y50 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-lactose S
T3C-Y50 (IAc)/ L12C-11 /V91C-11 3 T C-Y50 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
T3C-Y50 (Mal) / L12C-11/V91C-11 3 T C-Y50 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
T3C-V40 (IAc) / E15C-11 3 T C-V4D (IAc) 15 E C-disialo - - - S
T3C-V80 (Mai)/ E16C-11 3 T C-V80 (Mal) 15 E C-disialo - - - S
T3C-Y50 (IAc) / E15C-11 3 T C-Y50 (IAc) 15 E C-disialo - - - S
T3C-V80 (Mal) / L12C-11 /N119C-11 3 T C-V80 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo 119 N C-disialo S
T3C-W80 (Mal) / L12C-11 / N119C-11 3 T C-W80 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo 119 N C-disialo S
T3C-Y50 (IAc) / L12C-11 /N119C-11 3 T C-Y50 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 119 N C-disialo S
T51C-Li40 (IAc)/ L12C-11/ V91C-11 51 T C-Li40 (IAc) t2 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
T51C-V40 (IAc)/ L12C-11 /V91C-11 51 T C-V10 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
T51C-W40 (IAc)/ L12C-11/V91C-11 51 T C-W40 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
T51C-Y50 (IAc)/ L12C-11/V91C-11 51 T C-Y50 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 91 V C-disialo S
F78C-Li40 (IAc) / L12C-11 78 F C-Li40 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo - - - S
F78C-V40 (IAc) / L12C-11 78 F C-V40 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo - - - S
F78C-V40 (Mal) / L12C-11 78 F C-V40 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo - - - S
F78C-VB0 (Mal) / L12C-11 78 F C-V80 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo - - - S
F78C-W80 (Mal) / L12C-11 78 F C-W80 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo - - - S
F78C-V40 (IAc)/ L12C-11 /N119C-11 78 F C-V40 (IAc) 12 L C-disialo 119 N C-disialo S
F78C-V80 (Mal) / L12C-11 /N119C-11 78 F C-V80 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo 119 N C-disialo S
F78C-W80 (Mal) / L12C-11/N119C-11 78 F C-W80 (Mal) 12 L C-disialo 119 N C-disialo S
F78C-Li40 (IAc)/ E15C-11 78 F C-Li40 (IAc) 15 E C-disialo - - - S

<Description of Table 8>



[0291] 
  • PEGylation site and Glycosylation sites 1 and 2: Position from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence of wild-type mature human IL-2 (SEQ ID NO: 1) (hereinafter, also simply referred to as wild-type IL-2)
  • Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".
  • In the tables, structures described in the column "Amino acid residues after substitution" in "Glycosylation site" are shown below.


[0292] C-Saccharide (lactose, disialo) indicates a structure represented by (Formula 1) below in which a saccharide is introduced into a side chain thiol of cysteine via a CH2CONH linker.



[0293] In (Formula 1) above, Saccharide indicates a saccharide.

[0294] Lactose indicates a structure represented by (Formula 4) below.





[0295] Disialo indicates a structure represented by (Formula 8) below.



[0296] In the table, structures described in the column "Amino acid residues after substitution" in "PEGylation site" are shown below.

[0297] C-PEG(IAc) [Li20(IAc), Li40(IAc), V40(IAc), W40(IAc), Y50(IAc)] indicates a structure represented by (Formula X4) in which PEG is introduced into a cysteine side chain via a CH2CONH(CH2)3O linker.





[0298] C-PEG(Mal) [V40(Mal), V80(Mal), W80(Mal), Y50(Mal)] indicates a structure represented by (Formula X5) below in which PEG is introduced into a cysteine side chain via a 3-(3-thio-2,5-dioxopyrrolidin-1-yl)-propyloxy linker. In this case, C-PEG(Mal) may indicate a structure represented by (Formula X6) or (Formula X7) in which a dioxopyrrolidine ring is opened.









[0299] AcC-PEG(IAc) [Li40(IAc), Y50(IAc)] indicates a structure represented by (Formula XX3) below in which PEG is introduced into an acetylcysteine side chain via a CH2CONH(CH2)3O linker.



[0300] AcC-PEG(Mal) [V80(Mal), W80(Mal), Y50(Mal)] indicates a structure represented by (Formula X8) below in which PEG is introduced into an N-acetylcysteine side chain via a 3-(3-thio-2,5-dioxopyrrolidin-1-yl)-propyloxy linker. In this case, AcC-PEG(Mal) may indicate a structure represented by (Formula X9) or (Formula X10) in which a dioxopyrrolidine ring is opened.









[0301] Li20 indicates that, in (Formula X4) to (Formula X10) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X11) below in a case of an average molecular weight of about 20 kDa.



[0302] Li40 indicates that, in (Formula X4) to (Formula X10) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X11) above in a case of an average molecular weight of about 40 kDa.

[0303] V40 indicates that, in (Formula X4) to (Formula X10) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X13) below in a case of an average molecular weight of about 40 kDa.





[0304] V80 indicates that, in (Formula X4) to (Formula X10) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X13) above in a case of an average molecular weight of about 80 kDa.

[0305] W40 indicates that, in (Formula X4) to (Formula X10) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X14) below in a case where an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)m is 5 kDa and an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)n is 7.5 kDa.



[0306] W80 indicates that, in (Formula X4) to (Formula X10) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X14) above in a case where an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)m is 5 kDa and an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)n is 17.5 kDa.

[0307] Y50 indicates that, in (Formula X4) to (Formula X10) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X15) below in a case where an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)m is 10 kDa and an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)n is 20 kDa.


(Step 1) Preparation of PEG-haloacetyl



[0308] PEG-amine (SUNBRIGHT GL2-400PA; NOF CORPORATION, SUNBRIGHT GL3-400PA100U; NOF CORPORATION, or SUNBRIGHT GL4-400PA; NOF CORPORATION) is dissolved in chloroform, and 1-Ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide Hydrochloride (5 equiv), 4-dimethylaminopyridine (5 equiv), and iodoacetic acid (5 equiv) were added thereto, and stirred at room temperature for 90 hours. Ether/isopropanol = 1/1 was added, and precipitated solid was collected by filtration. The residue was dissolved in water, iodoacetic acid was removed by ultrafiltration using Amicon Ultra-0.5 (10 kDa), and lyophilization was performed to synthesize PEG-IAc.

[Step 2] Synthesis of Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant



[0309] 1 mmol/L EDTA and 20 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 5.5) of PEG-haloacetyl (5 equiv, the compound synthesized in Step 1 above or SUNBRIGHT ME-200IA; NOF CORPORATION, or SUNBRIGHT ME-400IA; NOF CORPORATION) or PEG-maleimide (5.0 nmol, SUNBRIGHT GL2-800MA; NOF CORPORATION, SUNBRIGHT GL4-400MA100U; NOF CORPORATION, or SUNBRIGHT GL4-800MA; NOF CORPORATION) were added to 1 mmol/L EDTA and 20 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 5.5) of the glycosylated IL-2 variant shown in Table 5 at room temperature. The mixture was adjusted to have pH 7.2 to 7.4 using a 0.1 mol/L sodium hydroxide aqueous solution and stirred for 2 hours. Purification was performed in size exclusion chromatography (column; manufactured by Waters, connecting XBridge BEH450A, 3.5 µm, 7.8 × 150 mm and XBridge BEH200A, 3.5 µm, 7.8 × 150 mm) to synthesize the Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant.

[0310]  A purity of the purified Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant was confirmed by SDS-PAGE. As a result, in all the variants, a single band in which a molecular weight of PEG was increased was confirmed, and it was confirmed that highly purified Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variants were obtained.

[Example 4] Preparation of expression vectors for 8His-IL-2 for Escherichia coli, o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced human IL-2, and m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2



[0311] 8His-IL-2 expression vector for Escherichia coli, o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 expression vector, and m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 expression vector shown in Table 9 were produced by a method below.
[Table 9]
Produced 8His-IL-2 expression vector for Escherichia coli, o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 expression vector, and m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 expression vector
Variant nameAz-Z-Lys introduction positionAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionModification at position 1Mutation at position 125Nucleotide sequence
8His-IL-2 - - - MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 3
8His-S4 (oAzZK) 4 S o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 4
8His-S5 (oAzZK) 5 S o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 5
8His-S6 (oAzZK) 6 S o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 6
8His-T7 (oAzZK) 7 T o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 7
8His-K8 (oAzZK) 8 K o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 8
8His-E60 (oAzZK) 60 E o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 9
8His-F78 (oAzZK) 78 F o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 10
8His-H79 (oAzZK) 79 F o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 11
8His-R81 (oAzZK) 81 R o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 12
8His-L94 (oAzZK) 94 L o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 13
8His-S99 (oAzZK) 99 S o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 14
8His-E100 (oAzZK) 100 E o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 15
8His-T101 (oAzZK) 101 T o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 16
8His-Q126 (oAzZK) 126 Q o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 17
8His-I129 (oAzZK) 129 I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 18
8His-I129 (mAzZK) 129 I m-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 18
8His-S4 (oAzZK) / F78 (oAzZK) 4,78 S, F o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 27
8His-S5 (oAzZK) / F78 (oAzZK) 5,78 S, F o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 28
8His-K8 (oAzZK) / F78 (oAzZK) 8,78 K, F o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 29
8His-F78 (oAzZK) / H79 (oAzZK) 78,79 F, H o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 30
8His-F78 (oAzZK) / S99 (oAzZK) 78,99 F, S o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 31
8His-F78 (oAzZK) / 1129 (oAzZK) 78,129 F, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 32
8His-S4 (oAzZK) / 1129 (oAzZK) 4, 129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 33
8His-S5 (oAzZK) / 1129 (oAzZK) 5,129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 34
8His-K8 (oAzZK) / 1129 (oAzZK) 8,129 K, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 35
8His-H79 (oAzZK) / 1129 (oAzZK) 79, 129 H, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 36
8His-S99 (oAzZK) / 1129 (oAzZK) 99, 129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S SEQ ID NO: 37

<Description of Table 9>



[0312] 
  • Az-Z-Lys introduction position: Position from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1
  • Modification at position 1: Indicates modification of alanine residue at position1 from the N-0 terminal in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 MHHHHHHHHA indicates that a methionine and polyhistidine sequence (HHHHHHHH) tag are bound to an N-terminal alanine residue.
  • Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".


[0313] In the table, o-Az-Z-Lys described in the column "Amino acid residue after substitution" indicates a structure represented by (Formula 10) below.



[0314] m-Az-Z-Lys indicates a structure represented by (Formula XX1) below.





[0315] The expression vectors were produced based on 8His-IL-2 (amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 2, nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 3) consisting of amino acid residues in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in wild-type mature human IL-2 amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with cysteine to serine, and a methionine and polyhistidine sequence (HHHHHHHH) tag are bound to the N-terminal, as IL-2.

[0316] An 8His-IL-2 expression vector for Escherichia coli (hereinafter, referred to as pFLAG-CTS-Pyl TS_8His-hIL-2) was produced by inserting a nucleotide sequence (SEQ ID NO: 3) encoding 8His-IL-2 between an NdeI restriction enzyme site and a SalI restriction enzyme site of pFLAG-CTS-Pyl TS (International Publication No. WO 2017/030156) in which a nucleotide sequence of pyrrolidine RNA and a nucleotide sequence encoding pyrrolidyl tRNA synthetase enzyme (hereinafter, also referred to as Pyl tRNA or tRNAPyl) were inserted, immediately downstream of lac repressor gene lacI of pFLAG-CTS (manufactured by SIGMA).

[0317] Based on the nucleotide sequence of 8His-IL-2, nucleotide sequences (SEQ ID NO: 4 to 18 and 27 to 37) in which a codon corresponding to a site for introducing o-Az-Z-Lys or m-Az-Z-Lys was substituted with an amber (TAG) codon were produced by a PCR method or an artificial gene synthesis (Nippon Genewith Co., Ltd.). The obtained nucleotide sequences were substituted with a nucleotide sequence of 8His-IL-2 of pFLAG-CTS-Pyl TS-8His-hIL-2.

[Example 5] Preparation of 8His-IL-2, o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2, and m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2



[0318] 8His-IL-2 and o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 and m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 shown in Table 10 were produced by the following method.
[Table 10]
Produced 8His-IL-2, o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2, and m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2
Variant nameAz-Z-Lys introduction positionAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionModification at position 1Mutation at position 125
8His-IL-2 - - - MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S4 (oAzZK) 4 S o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S5 (oAzZK) 5 S o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S6 (oAzZK) 6 S o-Az-Z-Lvs MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-T7 (oAzZK) 7 T o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-K8 (oAzZK) 8 K o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-E60 (oAzZK) 160 E o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK) 78 F o-Az-Z-Lvs MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-H79 (oAzZK) 79 F o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-R81 (oAzZK) 81 R o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-L94 (oAzZK) 94 L o-Az-Z-Lvs MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S99 (oAzZK) 99 S o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-E100 (oAzZK) 100 E o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-T101 (oAzZK) 101 T o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-Q126 (oAzZK) 126 Q o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129 (oAzZK) 129 I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129 (mAzZK) 129 I m-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S4 (oAzZK) / F78 (oAzZK) 4, 78 S, F o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S5 (oAzZK) / F78 (oAzZK) 5, 78 S, F o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-K8 (oAzZK) / F78 (oAzZK) 8, 78 K, F o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK) / H79 (oAzZK) 78, 79 F, H o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK) /S99 (oAzZK) 78, 99 F, S o-Az-Z-Lvs MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 78, 129 F, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S4 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 4, 129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S5 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 5, 129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-K8 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 18, 129 K, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-H79 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 79, 129 H, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S99 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 99, 129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MHHHHHHHHA S

<Description of Table 10>



[0319] 
  • Az-Z-Lys introduction position: Position from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1
  • Modification at position 1: Indicates modification of alanine residue at position1 from the N-terminal in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 MHHHHHHHHA indicates that a methionine and polyhistidine sequence (HHHHHHHH) tag are bound to an N-terminal alanine residue.
  • Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".


[0320] In the table, o-Az-Z-Lys described in the column "Amino acid residue after substitution" indicates a structure represented by (Formula 10) below.



[0321] m-Az-Z-Lys indicates a structure represented by (Formula XX1) below.





[0322] The 8His-IL-2 expression vector for Escherichia coli and the o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 expression vector or the m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 expression vector prepared in Example 4 were introduced into Escherichia coli B-95. delA [Sci Rep, 2015. 5 (9699)]. 100 ng of the 8His-IL-2 expression vector and the o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 expression vector or the m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 expression vector were added to 100 µL of competent cells, and mixed gently. The mixture was allowed to stand on ice for 30 minutes.

[0323] Subsequently, the mixture was heated in a warm bath at 42°C for 30 seconds, and allowed to stand again on ice for 2 minutes. After shaking culture was performed for 60 minutes in an incubator set at 37°C with addition of 500 µL of an LB medium, the whole amount thereof was plated on an LB plate (1.5 w/v% agarose) containing ampicillin (manufactured by Wako Pure Chemical Industries, Ltd.) having a final concentration of 100 µg/mL. After overnight culture in an incubator set at 37°C, Escherichia coli growing on the plate was selected as a transgenic strain.

[0324] The total amount of the obtained transgenic strain was collected, and 800 mL of Super Broth [MOPS (manufactured by Nacalai Tesque, Inc.) 1 w/v%, Tryptone (manufactured by DIFCO) 3 w/v%, Yeast Extract (manufactured by DIFCO) 2 w/v%] to which final concentration 1 mM of o-Az-Z-Lys or m-A-z-Z-Lys (synthesized by GVK Biosciences according to a method described in International Publication No. 2017/030156) and final concentration 100 µg/mL of ampicillin were added was seeded with the transgenic strain. Shaking culture at 165 rpm was performed in an incubator set at 37°C.

[0325] At a stage in which a value of an absorbance at 600 nm of a microbial cell solution reached 1.5 to 2.0, isopropyl-β-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) (manufactured by Nacalai Tesque, Inc.) having a final concentration of 1.0 mmol/L was added, and shaking culture at 165 rpm was performed for 3 hours in an incubator set at 42°C to express each human IL-2.

[0326] Microbial cells of Escherichia coli were collected by centrifuging [CR21E (manufactured by Hitachi, Ltd.), 7000 rpm, 4°C, 5 minutes] the microbial cell solution after the culture, and then 40 mL of B-PER Bacterial Protein Extraction Reagent (manufactured by Thermo Scientific) was added thereto to lyse the cells, followed by centrifugation (12000 × g, 4°C, 5 minutes) to obtain inclusion bodies.

[0327] The obtained inclusion body was dissolved in 32 mL of Inclusion Body Solubilization Reagent (manufactured by Thermo Scientific), followed by centrifugation again (12000 × g, 4°C, 30 minutes), and a supernatant was collected.

[0328] After diluting the inclusion body solubilized solution to 3 volumes with a 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (manufactured by Wako Pure Chemical Industries, Ltd.) (pH 8.0) containing 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride (manufactured by Wako Pure Chemical Industries, Ltd.), sample was added to TALON Metal Affinity Resin (manufactured by Clontech). After washing the mixture with a 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, elution was performed with a 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 250 mmol/L imidazole and 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride. A protein concentration of the eluate was measured by measuring the absorbance at 280 nm.

[0329] The eluate was diluted 3-fold with a refolding buffer [100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 1 mmol/L oxidized glutathione (manufactured by Sigma-Aldrich)] and allowed to stand at 4°C overnight. Thereafter, the eluate was concentrated with Amicon Ultra-4 (3 kDa) (manufactured by Merck Millipore).

[0330] Superdex 75/10/300GL (manufactured by GE Healthcare) was connected to AKTA FPLC (manufactured by GE Healthcare), and 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 2 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride was sent as a mobile phase. The concentrate was added to a SEC column, and a monomer fraction was collected.

[0331] The obtained fraction was diluted 2-fold with D-PBS (manufactured by Nacalai Tesque, Inc.), allowed to stand at room temperature for 6 hours, and then subjected to ultrafiltration using Amicon Ultra-4 (3 kDa) to substitute the buffer with D-PBS.

[0332] It was confirmed that all of the produced o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 and m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 are in a band having the same molecular weight as 8His-IL-2 using SDS-PAGE.

[Example 6] Preparation of o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2 expression vector for Escherichia coli



[0333] An o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2 expression vector for Escherichia coli shown in Table 11 was prepared by a method below.
[Table 11]
Produced o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 expression vector forr Escherichia coli
Variant nameAz-Z-Lys introduction positionAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionModification at position 1Mutation at position 125Nucleotide sequence
F78 (oAzZK) 78 F o-Az-Z-Lys MA S SEQ ID NO: 42
1129 (oAzZK) 129 I o-Az-Z-Lys MA S SEQ ID NO: 43
desAla-1129 (oAzZK) 129 I o-Az-Z-Lys M S SEQ ID NO: 44
S4 (oAzZK)/ F78 (oAzZK) 4, 78 S, F o-Az-Z-Lys MA S SEQ ID NO: 45
S5 (oAzZK)/ F78 (oAzZK) 5, 78 S, F o-Az-Z-Lys MA S SEQ ID NO: 46
K8 (oAzZK)/ F78 (oAzZK) 8, 78 K, F o-Az-Z-Lys MA S SEQ ID NO: 47
S4 (oAzZK)/ 1129 (oAzZK) 4, 129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MA S SEQ ID NO: 48
S5 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 5, 129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MA S SEQ ID NO: 49
K8 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 8, 129 K, I o-Az-Z-Lys MA S SEQ ID NO: 50

<Description of Table 11>



[0334] 
  • Az-Z-Lys introduction position: Position from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1
  • Modification at position 1: Indicates modification of alanine residue at position1 from the N-terminal in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 MA indicates that methionine is bound to the N-terminal alanine residue. M indicates that a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from alanine to methionine is introduced.
  • Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".


[0335] In the table, o-Az-Z-Lys described in the column "Amino acid residue after substitution" indicates a structure represented by (Formula 10) below.



[0336] The expression vector was produced based on IL-2 consisting of amino acid sequence (amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 38, nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 39) in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the wild-type mature human IL-2 amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted from cysteine to serine and methionine is bound to the N-terminal, or IL-2 consisting of amino acid sequence (amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 40, nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 41) in which the amino acid residue at position 125 in the wild-type mature human IL-2 amino acid residue represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted from cysteine to serine, an alanine residue at position 1 is deleted, and methionine is bound to the N-terminal, as IL-2.

[0337]  A nucleotide sequence (SEQ ID NO: 42 to 50) in which a codon corresponding to a site for introducing o-Az-Z-Lys was substituted with an amber (TAG) codon were inserted between the NdeI restriction enzyme site and the SalI restriction enzyme site of pFLAG-CTS-Pyl TS to produce various o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2 expression vectors for Escherichia coli (hereinafter, referred to as pFLAG-CTS-Pyl TS_hIL-2).

[Example 7] Preparation of o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2



[0338] An o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2 in which any amino acid residue of IL-2 shown in Table 12 was substituted with an o-Az-Z-Lys residue was produced by a method below.
[Table 12]
Produced o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2
Variant nameoAzZK introduction positionAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionModification at position 1Mutation at position 125
F78 (oAzZK) 78 F o-Az-Z-Lys MA S
1129 (oAzZK) 129 I o-Az-Z-Lys MA S
desAla-1129 (oAzZK) 129 I o-Az-Z-Lys M S
S4 (oAzZK) / F78 (oAzZK) 4, 78 S, F o-Az-Z-Lys MA S
S5 (oAzZK) / F78 (oAzZK) 5, 78 S, F o-Az-Z-Lys MA S
K8 (oAzZK) / F78 (oAzZK) 8, 78 K, F o-Az-Z-Lys MA S
S4 (oAzZK) / 1129 (oAzZK) 4, 129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MA S
S5 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 5, 129 S, I o-Az-Z-Lys MA S
K8 (oAzZK) /I129 (oAzZK) 8, 129 K, I o-Az-Z-Lvs MA S

<Description of Table 12>



[0339] 
  • o-Az-Z-LysK introduction position: Position from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1
  • Modification at position 1: Indicates modification of alanine residue at position 1 from the N-terminal in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 MA indicates that methionine is bound to the N-terminal alanine residue. M indicates that a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from alanine to methionine is introduced.
  • Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".


[0340] In the table, o-Az-Z-Lys described in the column "Amino acid residue after substitution" indicates a structure represented by (Formula 10) below.



[0341] The o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2 expression vector for Escherichia coli produced in Example 6 was introduced into Escherichia coli B-95. delA [Sci Rep, 2015. 5 (9699)], and an inclusion body solubilized solution was prepared by the method described in Example 5.

[0342] HiPrep 26/60 Sephacryl S-100 HR (manufactured by GE Healthcare) was connected to AKTA FPLC, and 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 2 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride was sent as a mobile phase. The inclusion body solubilized solution was added to a SEC column, and a monomer fraction was collected.

[0343] Oxidized glutathione was added to have a concentration of 2 mmol/L, and the mixture was allowed to stand at 4°C overnight. Thereafter, the mixture was concentrated with Amicon Ultra-4 (3 kDa) (manufactured by Merck Millipore), and was buffer-substituted with a 10 mmol/L acetate buffer (pH 4.5) containing 0.4 mol/L arginine hydrochloride and 5 w/v% trehalose using an NAP column (manufactured by GE Healthcare).

[0344] It was confirmed that the produced o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2 had a molecular weight expected from the amino acid sequence, by SDS-PAGE.

[Example 8] PEGylation of o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2, m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2, or o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2



[0345] As shown in Tables 13 to 15, a PEGylated form of o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2, m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2, or o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2 (hereinafter, referred to as a PEGylated IL-2 variant) was prepared by a method below.
[Table 13]
Produced PEGylated IL-2 variant
Variant namePEGylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionModification at position 1Mutation at position 125
8His-S4 (oAzZK)-PEG4 4 S (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S4 (oAzZK)-Li20 4 S (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S4 (oAzZK)-Li30 4 S (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S5 (oAzZK)-PEG4 5 S (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S5 (oAzZK)-Li20 5 S (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S5 (oAzZK)-Li30 5 S (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S6 (oAzZK)-PEG4 6 S (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S6 (oAzZK)-Li20 6 S (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S6 (oAzZK)-Li30 6 S (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-T7 (oAzZK)-PEG4 7 T (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-T7 (oAzZK)-Li20 7 T (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-T7 (oAzZK)-Li30 7 T (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-K8 (oAzZK)-PEG4 8 K (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-K8 (oAzZK)-Li20 8 K (oAzZK)- Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-K8 (oAzZK)-Li30 8 K (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-E60 (oAzZK)-PEG4 60 E (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-E60 (oAzZK)-Li20 60 E (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-E60 (oAzZK)-Li30 60 E (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-PEG4 78 F (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Li20 78 F (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Li30 78 F (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Li40 78 F (oAzZK)-Li40 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Y50 78 F (oAzZK)-Y50 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-V40 78 F (oAzZK)-V40 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-W40 78 F (oAzZK)-W40 MHHHHHHHHA S
F78 (oAzZK)-IIII40 78 F (oAzZK)-IIII40 MA S
F78 (oAzZK)-Li40 78 F (oAzZK)-Li40 MA S
F78 (oAzZK)-V40 78 F (oAzZK)- V40 MA S
F78 (oAzZK)-V80 78 F (oAzZK)- V80 MA S
F78 (oAzZK)-W40 78 F (oAzZK)-W40 MA S
F78 (oAzZK)-W80 78 F (oAzZK)- W80 MA S
8His-H79 (oAzZK)-PEG4 79 F (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-H79 (oAzZK)-Li20 79 F (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-H79 (oAzZK)-Li30 79 F (oAzZK)-LI30 MHHHHHHHHA S
[Table 14]
Produced PEGylated IL-2 variant
Variant namePEGylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionModification at position 1Mutation at position 125
8His-R81(oAzZK)-PEG4 81 R (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-R81(oAzZK)-Li20 81 R (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-R81(oAzZK)-Li30 81 R (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-L94(oAzZK)-PEG4 94 L (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-L94(oAzZK)-Li20 94 L (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-L94(oAzZK)-Li30 94 L (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S99(oAzZK)-PEG4 99 S (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li20 99 S (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30 99 S (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-E100(oAzZK)-PEG4 100 E (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li20 100 E (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li30 100 E (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-T101(oAzZK)-PEG4 101 T (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li20 101 T (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li30 101 T (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-Q126(oAzZK)-PEG4 126 Q (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-Q126(oAzZK)-Li20 126 Q (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-Q126(oAzZK)-Li30 126 Q (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129(oAzZK)-PEG4 129 I (oAzZK)-PEG4 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20 129 I (oAzZK)-Li20 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li30 129 I (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40 129 I (oAzZK)-Li40 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40 129 I (oAzZK)-V40 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129(mAzZK)-V40 129 I (mAzZK)-V40 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40 129 I (oAzZK)-W40 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50 129 I (oAzZK)-Y50 MHHHHHHHHA S
I129(oAzZK)-IIII40 129 I (oAzZK)-IIII40 MA S
H29(oAzZK)-Li30 129 I (oAzZK)-Li30 MA S
I129(oAzZK)-Li40 129 I (oAzZK)-Li40 MA S
H29(oAzZK)-V40 129 I (oAzZK)-V40 MA S
I129(oAzZK)-V80 129 I (oAzZK)-V80 MA S
I129(oAzZK)-W40 129 I (oAzZK)-W40 MA S
I129(oAzZK)-W80 129 I (oAzZK)-W80 MA S
desAla-I129(oAzZK)-V40 129 I (oAzZK)-V40 M S
desAla-I129(oAzZK)-W80 129 I (oAzZK)-W80 M S
desAla-I129(oAzZK)-V80 129 I (oAzZK)-V80 M S


[0346]  158
[Table 15]
Produced PEGylated IL-2 variant
Variant namePEGvlation site 1PEGvlation site 2Amino acid residue after substitutionModification at position 1Mutation at position 125
PEGylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionPEGylation siteAmino acid residue before substitution
8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30 / F78(oAzZK)-Li30 4 S 78 F (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
S4(oAzZK)-Li40 / F78(oAzZK)-Li40 4 S 78 F (oAzZK)-Li40 MA S
S4(oAzZK)-Y50 / F78(oAzZK)-Y50 4 S 78 F (oAzZK)-Y50 MA S
8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30 / F78(oAzZK)-Li30 5 S 78 F (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
S5(oAzZK)-Li40 / F78(oAzZK)-Li40 5 S 78 F (oAzZK)-Li40 MA S
8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30 / F78(oAzZK)-Li30 8 K 78 F (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
K8(oAzZK)-Li40 / F78(oAzZK)-Li40 8 K 78 F (oAzZK)-Li40 MA S
8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30 / H79(oAzZK)-Li30 78 F 79 H (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30 / S99(oAzZK)-Li30 78 F 99 S (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30 / I129(oAzZK)-Li30 78 F 129 I (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30 / I129(oAzZK)-Li30 4 S 129 I (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S4(oAzZK)-Y50 / I129(oAzZK)-Y50 4 S 129 I (oAzZK)-Y50 MHHHHHHHHA S
S4(oAzZK)-Li40 / I129(oAzZK)-Li40 4 S 129 I (oAzZK)-Li40 MA S
S4(oAzZK)-Y50 / I129(oAzZK)-Y50 4 S 129 I (oAzZK)-Y50 MA S
8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30 / I129(oAzZK)-Li30 5 S 129 T (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
S5(oAzZK)-Li40 / I129(oAzZK)-Li40 5 S 129 I (oAzZK)-Li40 MA S
S5(oAzZK)-Y50 / I129(oAzZK)-Y50 5 S 129 I (oAzZK)-Y50 MA S
8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30 / I129(oAzZK)-Li30 8 K 129 I (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-K8(oAzZK)-Y50 / I129(oAzZK)-Y50 8 K 129 I (oAzZK)-Y50 MHHHHHHHHA S
K8(oAzZK)-Li40 / I129(oAzZK)-Li40 8 K 129 I (oAzZK)-Li40 MA S
K8(oAzZK)-Y50 / I129(oAzZK)-Y50 8 K 129 I (oAzZK)-Y50 MA S
8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30 / I129(oAzZK)-Li30 79 H 129 I (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S
8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30 / I129(oAzZK)-Li30 99 S 129 I (oAzZK)-Li30 MHHHHHHHHA S

<Description of Tables 13, 14, and 15>



[0347] 
  • PEGylation site: Position from the N-terminal of SEQ ID NO: 1
  • Modification at position 1: Indicates modification of alanine residue at position1 from the N-terminal in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 MA indicates that methionine is bound to the N-terminal alanine residue, and MHHHHHHHHA indicates that a methionine and polyhistidine sequence (HHHHHHHH) tag are bound to an N-terminal alanine residue.
  • Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation of the amino acid residue is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".


[0348] In the table, the structures described in the column of "Amino acid residues after substitution" are shown below.

[0349] (oAzZK)-PEG (PEG4, Li20, Li30, Li40, V40, V80, W40, W80, Y50, IIII40) indicates a structure represented by (Formula 11) or Formula (12) below in which PEG is introduced into a side chain amino group of lysine via a linker.







[0350] (mAzZK)-PEG (V40) indicates a structure represented by (Formula XX4) or (Formula XX5) below in which PEG is introduced into a side chain amino group of lysine via a linker.







[0351] PEG4 indicates a structure represented by (Formula 13) below.



[0352] Li20 indicates a structure represented by (Formula 15) below in a case where an average molecular weight is about 20 kDa.



[0353] Li30 indicates a structure represented by (Formula 15) above in a case where an average molecular weight is about 30 kDa.

[0354] Li40 indicates a structure represented by (Formula X105) in a case where an average molecular weight is about 40 kDa.



[0355] Y50 indicates a structure represented by (Formula X107) below in which an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)m is 10 kDa and an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)n is 20 kDa.



[0356] V40 indicates a structure represented by (Formula X109) below in which an average molecular weight is 40 kDa.





[0357] V80 indicates a structure represented by (Formula X109) above in which an average molecular weight is 80 kDa.

[0358] W40 indicates a structure represented by (Formula X111) below in which an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)m is 5 kDa and an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)n is 7.5 kDa.



[0359] W80 indicates a structure represented by (Formula X112) below in which an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)m is 5 kDa and an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)n is 17.5 kDa.





[0360] IIII40 indicates a structure represented by (Formula X113) below in which an average molecular weight is 40 kDa.


(Step la) Preparation 1 of PEG-DBCO



[0361] PEG-carboxylic acid (mPEG-AA 40K; manufactured by Creative PEG Works) was dissolved in chloroform, and 1-Ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide Hydrochloride (5 equiv), 4-dimethylaminopyridine (5 equiv), and Dibenzocyclooctyne-amine (5 equiv, A2763; Tokyo Chemical Industry) were added thereto, and stirred at room temperature for 3 hours. Ether/isopropanol = 1/1 was added, and precipitated solid was collected by filtration to obtain PEG-DBCO.

(Step 1b) Synthesis 2 of PEG-DBCO



[0362] PEG-NHS (SUNBRIGHT GL2-400GS2; NOF CORPORATION, SUNBRIGHT GL2-800GS2; NOF CORPORATION, SUNBRIGHT GL4-400GS2; NOF CORPORATION, SUNBRIGHTGL4-800TS; NOF CORPORATION, SUNBRIGHT100GL2-400GS100U; NOF CORPORATION, or SUNBRIGHT XY4-400TS; NOF CORPORATION) were dissolved in chloroform, and Dibenzocyclooctyne-amine (5 equiv, A2763; Tokyo Chemical Industry) was added thereto, and stirred at room temperature for 3 hours. Ether/Isopropanol = 1/1 was added, and precipitated solid was collected by filtration to synthesize PEG-DBCO.

(Step 2) Preparation of PEGylated IL-2 variant



[0363] PEG-DBCO (DBCO-PEG4-FLAG (DYKDDDDK) (manufactured by Jena Bioscience), DBCO-PEG 20 kDa (manufactured by Click Chemistry Tools), DBCO-PEG 30 kDa (manufactured by Click Chemistry Tools), or the PEG-DBCO prepared in Step la or Step 1b was dissolved in D-PBS, and 20 mol equivalents thereof was added to the o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2, the m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2, or the o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2, and allowed to stand at room temperature overnight.

[0364] In the PEGylated IL-2 variant to which DBCO-PEG4-FLAG was bound, target protein was purified using ANTI-FLAG M2 Affinity Agarose Gel (manufactured by Sigma-Aldrich) according to a procedure described in a manufacturer's manual.

[0365] From the PEGylated IL-2 variant to which PEG other than the DBCO-PEG4-FLAG was bonded, first, unreacted PEG was removed by cation exchange chromatography using MonoS 5/50GL (manufactured by GE Healthcare). For the mobile phase, a 50 mmol/L phosphate buffer (pH 3.0) was used. Next, the PEGylated IL-2 variant was fractionated by size exclusion chromatography using Superrose 6 increase 10/30GL (manufactured by GE Healthcare). For the mobile phase, a 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 2 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride was used.

[0366] The obtained PEGylated IL-2 variant was subjected to ultrafiltration using Amicon Ultra-4 (3 kDa), or D-PBS or 10 mM acetate buffer (pH 4.5) containing 5 w/v% trehalose or 10 mM acetate buffer (pH 4.5) containing 0.4 mol/L arginine hydrochloride and 5 w/v% trehalose, by an NAP column.

[0367] A purity of the purified PEGylated IL-2 variant was confirmed by SDS-PAGE. As a result, in all the PEGylated IL-2 variants, a single band, in which a molecular weight was increased as much as PEG attached with respect to the o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2, the m-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2, or the o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced IL-2, was confirmed, and it was confirmed that highly purified PEGylated IL-2 variants were obtained.

[Example 9] Preparation of I129C mutant IL-2 expression vector



[0368] The expression vector was produced based on IL-2 (amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 51, nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence: SEQ ID NO: 52, hereinafter, referred to as IL-2_I129C) consisting of amino acid sequences in which alanine at position 1 in the wild-type mature human IL-2 represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 was deleted, an amino acid residue at position 125 was substituted from cysteine to serine, an amino acid residue at position 129 was substituted from isoleucine to cysteine, and methionine was bound to the N-terminal.

[0369] The nucleotide sequence of IL-2_I129C (SEQ ID NO: 52) was prepared by artificial gene synthesis (Ragass Japan), and inserted between the NdeI restriction enzyme site and a BamHI restriction enzyme sites of pET-22b (+) (manufactured by Novagen) to produce an IL-2_I129C expression vector for Escherichia coli (hereinafter, referred to as pET-22b (+)-hIL-2_I129C).
[Table 16]
Produced Cys-substituted IL-2 expression vector
Variant nameCys substitution positionAmino acid residue before substitutionModification at position 1Mutation at position 125nucleotide sequence
I129C 129 I M S SEQ ID NO: 52

<Description of Table 16>



[0370] 

-Cys mutation position: Position from the N-terminal of SEQ ID NO: 1

• Modification at position 1: Indicates modification of alanine residue at position1 from the N-terminal in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 M indicates that an amino acid residue is substituted from alanine to methionine.

• Mutation at position 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1. A case where no mutation of the amino acid residue is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".


[Example 10] Preparation of IL-2_I129C



[0371] The IL-2_I129C was produced by a method described below. The pET-22b (+)-hIL-2_I129C for Escherichia coli prepared in Example 9 was introduced into Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) (manufactured by Novagen), and an inclusion body was obtained by the method described in Example 5.

[0372] The obtained inclusion body was dissolved in 15 mL of 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 5 mmol/L DTT, and 5 mmol/L EDTA, and then heated at 60°C for 30 minutes. A supernatant was collected by centrifugation (19000 × g, 4°C, 30 minutes) (inclusion body solubilized solution).

[0373] 15 mL of 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) was added to the inclusion body solubilized solution, and allowed to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, and then a precipitate was collected by centrifugation (19000 × g, 4°C, 30 minutes).

[0374] The obtained precipitate was dissolved again in a 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 5 mmol/L DTT, and 5 mmol/L EDTA (precipitate solubilized solution).

[0375] HiPrep 26/60 Sephacryl S-100HR (manufactured by GE Healthcare) was connected to AKTA FPLC, and 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 5 mmol/L DTT, and 5 mmol/L EDTA was sent thereto as a mobile phase. The precipitate solubilized solution was added to a SEC column, and a monomer fraction was collected.

[0376] Refolding was performed by a method below. The prepared monomer IL-2_I129C was buffer-exchanged to a 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 6 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, using a NAP column, then changed to a 100 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.0) containing 2 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride, 10 vol% glycerol, 6.9 mmol/L reduced glutathione, and 0.7 mmol/L oxidized glutathione, and allowed to stand at room temperature overnight. Thereafter, a refolding fraction was collected by reverse phase HPLC using Proteovavi (manufactured by Shiseido Co., Ltd.) and lyophilized.

[0377] A purity of the produced IL-2_I129C was confirmed by SDS-PAGE. As a result, a single band having a molecular weight expected from the amino acid sequence was confirmed.

[Example 11] PEGylation of IL-2_I129C



[0378] A PEGylated form of IL-2_I129C shown in Table 17 (hereinafter, referred to as PEGylated IL-2 variant) was prepared by a method below.
[Table 17]
Produced PEGylated IL-2 variant
Variant namePEGylation siteAmino acid residue before substitutionAmino acid residue after substitutionModification at position 1Mutation at position 125
I129C-V40(Mal) 129 I C-V40(Mal) M S
I129C-V80(Mal) 129 I C-V80(Mal) M S
I129C-W80(Mal) 129 I C-W80(Mal) M S

<Description of Table 17>



[0379] 
  • PEGylation site: Position from the N-terminal of SEQ ID NO: 1
  • Modification at position 1: Indicates modification of alanine residue at position 1 from the N-terminal in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 M indicates that an amino acid residue is substituted from alanine to methionine.
  • Position at 125: Indicating presence or absence of a mutation of amino acid residue at position 125 from the N-terminal of SEQ ID NO: 1 A case where no mutation of the amino acid residue is introduced is described as "-" and a case where a mutation that substitutes an amino acid residue from cysteine to serine is introduced, is described as "S".


[0380] In the table, the structures described in the column of "Amino acid residues after substitution" are shown below.

[0381] C-PEG(Mal) (V40, V80, W80) indicates a structure represented by (Formula X119) below in which PEG is introduced into a cysteine side chain via a 3-(3-thio-2,5-dioxopyrrolidin-1-yl)-propyloxy linker. In this case, C-PEG(Mal) may indicate a structure represented by (Formula X120) or (Formula X121) in which a dioxopyrrolidine ring is opened.









[0382] V40 indicates that, in (Formula X119) to (Formula X121) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X122) below in a case of an average molecular weight of about 40 kDa.



[0383] V80 indicates that, in (Formula X119) to (Formula X121) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X122) above in a case of an average molecular weight of about 80 kDa.

[0384] W80 indicates that, in (Formula X119) to (Formula X121) above, PEG is a structure represented by (Formula X128) below in a case where an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)m is 5 kDa and an average molecular weight of (CH2CH2O)n is 17.5 kDa.





[0385] The lyophilized product of the IL-2_I129C prepared in Example 10 was dissolved in a 20 mmol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 7.0) containing 2 mol/L guanidine hydrochloride and 1 mmol/L EDTA. PEG-maleimide (SUNBRIGHT GL2-400MA; NOF CORPORATION, SUNBRIGHT GL2-800MA; NOF CORPORATION, or SUNBRIGHT GL4-800MA; NOF CORPORATION) is dissolved in D-PBS, and 20 mol equivalents thereof was added to the IL-2_I129C and allowed to stand at room temperature overnight. PEGylated IL-2_I129C was purified by the method described in Example 8. The obtained PEGylated IL-2_I129C was buffer-substituted with a 10 mM acetate buffer (pH 4.5) containing 0.4 mol/L arginine hydrochloride, and 5 w/v% trehalose, using an NAP column.

[0386] A purity of the purified PEGylated IL-2 variant was confirmed by SDS-PAGE. As a result, in all the PEGylated IL-2 variants, a single band in which the molecular weight was increased as much as PEG attached with respect to the IL-2_I129C was confirmed, and it was confirmed that highly purified PEGylated IL-2 variants were obtained.

[Example 12] Evaluation of IL-2Rαβγ selectivity



[0387] A selectivity of the produced IL-2 variant for human IL-2Rαβγ was evaluated by a method below.

[0388] Human IL-2Rαβγ or human IL-2Rβγ was expressed in a mouse pro B cell line Ba/F3 (RCB0805) to produce a human IL-2-dependent survival cell line. Each cell was obtained by gene transfer of p DELTA vector comprising a genetic sequence (SEQ ID NO: 20) encoding an amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO: 19) of human IL-2Rαβγ-Azami green fusion in which human CD25, human CD122, human CD132, and monomeric Azami-Green were fused via furin cleavage sequence (RAKR) and foot-and-mouth-disease virus-derived 2A peptide sequence (APVKQTLNFDLLKLAGDVESNPGP) or a genetic sequence (SEQ ID NO: 22) encoding an amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO: 21) of human IL-2Rβγ-Azami green fusion in which human CD122, human CD132, and monomer azami-Green were fused via a furin cleavage sequence and a foot-and-mouth-disease virus-derived 2A peptide sequence to Ba/F3, by using Nucleofector 2b (manufactured by Lonza), and selecting a clone exhibiting human IL-2 dependency. The obtained cells were named Ba/F3-hIL-2Rαβγ and Ba/F3-hIL-2Rβγ, respectively.

[0389] Ba/F3-hIL-2Rαβγ and Ba/F3-hIL-2Rβγ were collected in a centrifuge tube, centrifuged at 1200 rpm for 3 minutes, and then a supernatant thereof was removed by suction. After washing the resulting product 4 times with D-PBS, and the cells were suspended at 5.0 × 104 cells/mL in an assay medium [medium in which 50 mL of Inactivated FBS (manufactured by GIBCO) and 5 mL of penicillin-streptomycin mixed solution (manufactured by Nacalai Tesque, Inc.) were added to 500 mL of RPMI 1640 medium (manufactured by Nacalai Tesque, Inc.)], and a 96-well white flat bottom plate (manufactured by Sumitomo Bakelite) was seeded with the suspended cells at 100 µL/well.

[0390] An assay medium (0% control), a commercially available IL-2 solution (final concentration 65 nmol/L, 100% control) diluted to 390 nmol/L in an assay medium, IL-2 (manufactured by peprotech) which is commercially available IL-2 diluted to 6-fold a final concentration in an assay medium [hereinafter, referred to as IL-2(P)], and IL-2 (manufactured by Thermo Fisher Scientific) [hereinafter, referred to as IL-2(T)), or various glycosylated IL-2 solutions (maximum final concentration 65nM, 9 conditions in 10-fold dilution series) were added at 20 µL/well and cultured at 37°C under 5% CO2 for 24 to 48 hours.

[0391] A Celltiter-Glo solution (manufactured by Promega) was added at 80 µL/well, and allowed to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, and then a luminescence value was measured using a multimode plate reader ARVO (manufactured by Perkin Elmer).

[0392]  Assuming that a relative fluorescence units (RLU) value of wells to which IL-2 (P) or IL-2 (T) was added at a final concentration of 65 nmol/mL was 100% and the RLU value of wells to which a medium without IL-2 was added was 0%, the IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rates of various variants (% of IL-2-dependent proliferation) were calculated. An EC50 value was calculated using statistical analysis software XLfit5 version 5.3.1.3 (manufactured by IBDS), based on the obtained data.

[0393] For the IL-2 (P) or the IL-2 (T), and various glycosylated IL-2 variants, a ratio (EC50βγ/EC50αβγ) between the EC50 value for Ba/F3-hIL-2Rαβγ (EC50αβγ) and the EC50 value for Ba/F3-hIL-2Rβγ (EC50βγ) was defined as an EC50 ratio value, and used as an index of IL-2Rαβγ selectivity.

[0394] The EC50 ratio values of the various glycosylated IL-2 variants when the EC50 ratio value of the IL-2 (P) or the IL-2 (T) was set as 1 are shown as "Standardized EC50 ratio value" in Tables 18 to 20.
[Table 18]
Standardized EC50 ratio value of glycosylated IL-2 variant
Standardized EC50 ratio valueVariant
<5 T3C-2, T3C-9, T3C-11, S4C-2, S4C-9, S4C-11, S5C-2, S5C-9, S5C-11, Q11C-2, Q11C-9, L12C-2, H16C-11, L18C-9, L19N-11, R38C-2, R38C-9, R38C-11, N88-1, N88C-1, I92C-11, V115C-9, N119C-11, I122C-9, S127C-11
5∼30 Q11C-11, L12C-9, L12C-11, L18C-2, L18C-11, D20C-2, D20C-11, D84C-2, S87C-2, S87C-11, N88C-9, N88C-11, V91C-2, V91C-9, V91C-11, A108C-2, A108C-9, V115C-2, N119C-2, N119C-9, I122C-2, T123C-11
>30 Q13C-2, Q13C-11, E15C-2, E15C-11, H16C-2, H16C-3, H16C-5, H16C-9, L19C-2, L19C-9, L19C-11, L19C-11*, N88C-2, I92C-2, S130C-2, S130C-9
[Table 19]
Standardized EC50 ratio value of glycosylated IL-2 variant
Standardized EC50 ratio valueVariant
  D84C-11, E95C-2, L12C-11 / H16C-2 / L19C-11,
  L12C-11 / L19C-11, L12C-11 / N88C-2,
<5 L12N-11 / V91N-11, E15C-11 / V91C-11,
  E15C-11 / T123C-11, H16C-2 / L19C-11,
  H16C-2 / V91C-11, L19C-11 / V91C-11
  K8C-11 / L19C-11, L12C-11 / H16C-2,
5 to 30 E15C-11 / N119C-11, L19C-11 /M23C-11,
  T3C-11 / L12C-11 / K32C-11 / K76C-11 / V91C-11
  E15C-17, L19C-17, L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  L12C-11 / V115C-11, L12C-11 / N119C-11,
  Q13C-11 / V91C-11, Q13C-11 / V115C-11,
  Q13C-11 / N119C-11, L19C-11 / V115C-11,
>30 V91C-11 / V115C-11, V91C-11 / N119C-11,
  A1C-11 / T3C-11 / S5C-11 / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  T3C-11 / L12C-11 / T51C-11 / V91C-11 / E100C-11,
  T3C-11 / L12C-11 / K76C-11 / V91C-11 / E100C-11,
  L12C-11 / V91C-11 / E100C-11 / T102C-11 / M104C-11
[Table 20]
Standardized EC50 ratio values of N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant and Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant
Standardized EC50 ratio valueVariant
<5 T51C-V40 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  T51C-W40(IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11
  T3C-V40 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  T3C-W40 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  T3C-W80 (Mal) / L12C-11 / V91C-2,
  T3C-V80 (Mal) / L12C-11 / N119C-11,
  T3C-W80 (Mal) / L12C-11 / N119C-11,
5 to 30 T3C-Y50 (IAc) / L12C-11 / N119C-11,
  T51C-Li40 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  T51C-Y50 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  F78C-V40 (IAc) / L12C-11 / N119C-11,
  F78C-V80 (Mal) / L12C-11 / N119C-11,
  F78C-W80 (Mal) / L12C-11 / N119C-11
  Al-Li20 (CHO) / Q11C-9, Al-Li20 (CHO) / L12C-9,
  Al-Li20 (CHO) / R38C-9, Al-Li20 (CHO) / V91C-9,
  AlC-Li40 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  AlC-V80 (Mal) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  AlC-Y50 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  AlC-Y50 (Mal) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  AlC-W80 (Mal) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  AlC-Y50 (IAc) / L19C-11, AlC-V40 (IAc) / L19C-11,
  AlC-Y50 (IAc) / V91C-11 /N119C-11,
>30 T3C-Li20 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  T3C-Li40 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  T3C-Y50 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-2,
  T3C-Y50 (IAc) / L12C-11 / V91C-11,
  T3C-Y50 (Mal) / L12C-11 / V91C-11
  T3C-V40 (IAc) / E15C-11, T3C-V80 (Mal) / E15C-11,
  T3C-Y50 (IAc) / E15C-11, F78C-Li40 (IAc) / L12C-11,
  F78C-V40 (IAc) / L12C-11, F78C-V40(Mal) / L12C-11,
  F78C-V80 (Mal) / L12C-11, F78C-W80 (Mal) / L12C-11,
  F78C-Li40 (IAc) / E15C-11


[0395] In Tables 18 to 20, in the control, a glycosylated IL-2 variant, N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2, and Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 which have a standardized EC50 ratio value of 5 or more, were determined as variants having higher selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ than that of the IL-2 (P) or the IL-2 (T) as control.

[0396] As shown in Tables 18 to 20, it was confirmed that a number of glycosylated IL-2 variants, N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2, and Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 were the variants having higher selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ than that of the IL-2 (P) or the IL-2 (T). Furthermore, it was found that Q13C-2, Q13C-11, E15C-2, E15C-11, H16C-2, H16C-3, H16C-5, H16C-9, L19C-2, L19C-9, L19C-11, L19C-11*, N88C-2, I92C-2, S130C-2, S130C-9, E15C-17, L19C-17, L12C-11/V91C-11, L12C-11/V115C-11, L12C-11/N119C-11, Q13C-11/V91C-11, Q13C-11/V115C-11, Q13C-11/N119C-11, L19C-11/V115C-11, V91C-11/V115C-11, V91C-11/N119C-11, A1C-11/T3C-11/S5C-11/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-11/L12C-11/T51C-11/V91C-11/E100C-11, T3C-11/L12C-11/K76C-11/V91C-11/E100C-11, L12C-11/V91C-11/E100C-11/T102C-11/M104C-11, A1-Li20(CHO)/Q11C-9, A1-Li20(CHO)/L12C-9, A1-Li20(CHO)/R38C-9, A1-Li20(CHO)N91C-9, A1C-Li40(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, A1C-V80(Mal)/L12C-11/V91C-11, A1C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, A1C-Y50(Mal)/L12C-11/V91C-11, A1C-W80(Mal)/L12C-11/V91C-11, A1C-Y50(IAc)/L19C-11, A1C-V40(IAc)/L19C-11, A1C-Y50(IAc)/V91C-11/N119C-11, T3C-Li20(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Li40(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-2, T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(Mal)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-V40(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V80(Mal)/E15C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/E15C-11, F78C-Li40(IAc)/L12C-11, F78C-V40(IAc)/L12C-11, F78C-V40(Mal)/L12C-11, F78C-V80(Mal)/L12C-11, F78C-W80(Mal)/L12C-11, F78C-Li40(IAc)/E15C-11 had a standardized EC50 ratio value of greater than 30, and were a glycosylated IL-2 variant, N-terminal PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2, and Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 which have extremely higher selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ than that of the IL-2 (P) or the IL-2 (T) as control.

[0397] Table 21 and Table 22 show results obtained by measuring the IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of the various PEGylated IL-2 variants and calculating the standardized EC50 ratio values, in the same manner. However, the control of the glycosylated IL-2 variant was IL-2 (P) or IL-2 (T), whereas the control of the PEGylated IL-2 variant was IL-2 (P) or 8His-IL-2 was used.
[Table 21]
Standardized EC50 ratio value of PEGylated IL-2 variant
Standardized EC50 ratio valueVariant
<5 8His-S4 (oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-S5 (oAzZK)-PEG4,
8His-S6 (oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-T7 (oAzZK)-PEG4,
8His-T7 (oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-K8 (oAzZK)-PEG4,
8His-E60 (oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-E60 (oAzZK)-Li20,
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-H79 (oAzZK)-PEG4,
8His-R81 (oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-R81 (oAzZK)-Li20,
8His-R81 (oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-L94 (oAzZK)-PEG4,
8His-L94 (oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-L94 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-S99 (oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-S99 (oAzZK)-Li20,
8His-E100 (oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-E100 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-T101 (oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-Q126 (oAzZK)-PEG4,
8His-Q126 (oAzZK)-Li20
5 to 30 8His-S4 (oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S4 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-S5 (oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S5 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-S6 (oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S6 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-T7 (oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8 (oAzZK)-Li20,
8His-K8 (oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-E60 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-H79 (oAzZK)-Li20,
8His-H79 (oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S99 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-E100 (oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T101 (oAzZK)-Li20,
8His-T101 (oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-Q126 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-I129 (oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-I129 (oAzZK)-Li20
>30 8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-I129 (oAzZK)-Li30
[Table 22]
Standardized EC50 ratio value of PEGylated IL-2 variant
Standardized EC50 ratio valueVariant
<5 -
5 to 30 -
>30 8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-F78 (oAzZK)-V40,
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-W40, 8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Y50,
F78 (oAzZK)-Li40, F78 (oAzZK)-V40, F78 (oAzZK)-W40,
F78 (oAzZK)-IIII40, F78 (oAzZK)-V80, F78 (oAzZK)-W80,
8His-I129 (oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-I129 (oAzZK)-V40,
8His-I129 (mAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129 (oAzZK)-Y50,
I129 (oAzZK)-Li30, I129 (oAzZK)-Li40, I129 (oAzZK)-V40,
I129 (oAzZK)-W40, 1129 (oAzZK)-IIII40, I129 (oAzZK)-V80,
I129 (oAzZK)-W80, desAla-I129 (oAzZK)-V40,
desAla-I129 (oAzZK)-W80, desAla-I129 (oAzZK)-V80,
I129C-V40 (Mal), I129C-V80 (Mal), I129C-W80 (Mal),
8His-S4 (oAzZK)-Li30 / F78 (oAzZK)-Li30,
S4 (oAzZK)-Li40 / F78 (oAzZK)-Li40, S4 (oAzZK)-Y50 / F78 (oAzZK)- Y50,
8His-S5 (oAzZK)-Li30 / F78 (oAzZK)-Li30,
S5 (oAzZK)-Li40 / F78 (oAzZK)-Li40,
8His-K8 (oAzZK)-Li30 / F78 (oAzZK)-Li30,
K8 (oAzZK)-Li40 / F78 (oAzZK)-Li40,
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Li30 / H79 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Li30 / S99 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-F78 (oAzZK)-Li30 / I129 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-S4 (oAzZK)-Li30 / I129 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-S4 (oAzZK)-Y50 / I129 (oAzZK)-Y50,
S4 (oAzZK)-Li40 / I129 (oAzZK)-Li40,
S4 (oAzZK)-Y50 / I129 (oAzZK)-Y50,
8His-S5 (oAzZK)-Li30 / I129 (oAzZK)-Li30,
S5 (oAzZK)-Li40 / I129 (oAzZK)-Li40,
S5 (oAzZK)-Y50 / I129 (oAzZK)-Y50,
8His-K8 (oAzZK)-Li30 / I129 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-K8 (oAzZK)-Y50 / I129 (oAzZK)-Y50,
K8 (oAzZK)-Li40 / I129 (oAzZK)-Li40,
K8 (oAzZK)-Y50 / I129 (oAzZK)-Y50,
8His-H79 (oAzZK)-Li30 / I129 (oAzZK)-Li30,
8His-S99 (oAzZK)-Li30 / I129 (oAzZK)-Li30


[0398] In Tables 21 and 22, a PEGylated IL-2 variant having a standardized EC50 ratio value of 5 or more was determined as a variant having higher selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ than that of the 8His-IL-2 as control.

[0399] As shown in Tables 21 and 22, it was confirmed that a number of PEGylated IL-2 variants were variants having higher selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ than that of the 8His-IL-2. Furthermore, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Y50, F78(oAzZK)-Li40, F78(oAzZK)-V40, F78(oAzZK)-W40, F78(oAzZK)-IIII40, F78(oAzZK)-V80, F78(oAzZK)-W80, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129(mAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50, I129(oAzZK)-Li30, I129(oAzZK)-Li40, I129(oAzZK)-V40, I129(oAzZK)-W40, I129(oAzZK)-IIII40, I129(oAzZK)-V80, I129(oAzZK)-W80, desAla-I129(oAzZK) -V40, desAla-I129(oAzZK)-W80, desAla-I129(oAzZK)-V80, I129C-V40(Mal), I129C-V80(Mal), I129C-W80(Mal), 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, S4(oAzZK)-Li40/F78(oAzZK)-Li40, S4(oAzZK)-Y50/F78(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, S5(oAzZK)-Li40/F78(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, K8(oAzZK)-Li40/F78(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/H79(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/S99(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, S4(oAzZK)-Li40/I129(oAzZK)-Li40, S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S5(oAzZK)-Li40/I129(oAzZK)-Li40, S5(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, K8(oAzZK)-Li40/I129(oAzZK)-Li40, K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 had a standardized EC50 ratio value of greater than 30, and were a PEGylated IL-2 variant having extremely higher selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ than that of the IL-2 (P) or the 8His-IL-2 as control.

[0400] In experiments above, it was confirmed that the EC50 ratio values of the IL-2 (P), the IL-2 (T), wild-type IL-2, and the 8His-IL-2 are comparable. Therefore, the glycosylated IL-2 variants and the PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variants having a standardized EC50 ratio value of 5 or more in Tables 18 to 20, and the PEGylated IL-2 variants having the standardized EC50 ratio values of 5 or more in Tables 21 and 22 are variants having higher selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ than that of wild-type IL-2.

[Example 13] Treg proliferation activity



[0401] Cell proliferation activities of human Tregs by various IL-2 were measured by a method below. For the various IL-2, H16C-2, E15C-11, L19C-9, L19C-11, N88C-2, L12C-11/V91C-11, V91C-11/V115C-11, V91C-11/N119C-11, and A1C-11/T3C-11/S5C-11/L12C-11/V91C-11 were used as the glycosylated IL-2 variants; A1C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Li20(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V40(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V80(Mal)/E15C-11, and F78C-V40(IAc)/L12C-11 were used as Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variants; 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S6(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T7(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E60(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-R81(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-L94(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-Q126(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50, I129(oAzZK)-V40, I129(oAzZK)-W80, I129C-V40(Mal), 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/H79(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/S99(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S5(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 were used as PEGylated IL-2 variants; and the IL-2 (P) and the 8His-IL-2 were used as control.

[0402] After human frozen peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) (manufactured by AllCells) were melted in a warm bath at 37°C, the cells were suspended in 10 mL of a culture medium [X-vivo15 SFM (manufactured by Lonza) 1000 mL, heat-inactivated human AB serum (manufactured by SIGMA) 150 mL], and a T-75 flask for adhesion (manufactured by greiner bio-one) was seeded the cells, and allowed to stand for 24 hours to culture the cells (37°C, under conditions of 95 vol% air/5vol% CO2). A total amount of cells was collected, and CD4+ T cells were enriched using EasySep Human CD4+ Tcells Enrichment kit (manufactured by STEMCELL Technologies).

[0403] After staining (on ice, 30 minutes) with Anti-human CD4-Alexa 488 (manufactured by Biolegend), anti-human CD25-PE (manufactured by BD Pharmingen), and anti-human CD127-BV421 (manufactured by Biolegend), a CD4+ CD25+ CD127low fraction (Treg) was separated using a cell sorter SH800 (manufactured by SONY Biotechnology).

[0404] The separated Treg and CD3/CD28 Dynabeads (manufactured by Thermo Fischer SCIENTIFIC) washed three times with the culture medium were mixed with each other, and suspended in a culture medium at 3.4 × 104 cells/mL, respectively, and a 96-well U bottom plate (manufactured by Corning) was seeded with at 150 µL/well. Various IL-2 solutions diluted to 4-fold the final concentration with a culture medium were added at 50 µL/well, and culture was started at 37°C under 5% CO2.

[0405] After culturing for 5 to 7 days, 50 µL of a total volume of each well was transferred to a 96-well white plate. A Celltiter-Glo solution was added at 50 µL/well, and the mixture was allowed to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, and then a luminescence value was measured using a luminometer (manufactured by TURNER BIOSYSTEMS).

[0406] Assuming that the RLU value of a well to which IL-2 (P) or 8His-IL-2 as control was added at a final concentration of 65 nmol/L was 100% and the RLU value of a well to which a medium without containing IL-2 was added was 0%, the Treg proliferation rates of various IL-2 were calculated.

[0407] Results obtained are shown in FIGS. 1A to 1J. As shown in FIGS. 1A to 1C, IL-2 (P) exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 650 pmol/L, whereas H16C-2, E15C-11, L19C-9, L19C-11*, N88C-2, L12C-11/V91C-11, V91C-11/V115C-11, and V91C-11/N119C-11 as the glycosylated IL-2 variants and T3C-Y50(IAc)/E15C-11 as the Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 650 to 6500 pmol/L.

[0408] In addition, L12C-11/F78C-V40(IAc) as the Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L. A1C-11/T3C-11/S5C-11/L12C-11/V91C-11 as the glycosylated IL-2 variant, and A1C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Li20(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-V40(IAc)/E15C-11, and T3C-V80(Mal)/E15C-11 as the Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant had an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or lower even at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L.

[0409] As shown in FIGS. ID to 1J, 8His-IL-2 as a control exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 6500 pmol/L, whereas 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S6(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T7(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E60(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-R81(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-L94(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-Q126(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50, I129(oAzZK)-V40, I129C-V40(Mal), 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/S99(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 650 to 6500 pmol/L.

[0410] In addition, I129(oAzZK)-W80, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/H79(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, S5(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, and 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L.

[0411] From results above, it was confirmed that all the evaluated IL-2 variants had Treg cell proliferation activity. In addition, in various IL-2 variants, H16C-2, E15C-11, L19C-9, L19C-11*, N88C-2, L12C-11/V91C-11, V91C-11/V115C-11, and V91C-11/N119C-11 as the glycosylated IL-2 variant, T3C-Y50(IAc)/E15C-11 as the Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant, and 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S6(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T7(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E60(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-R81(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-L94(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-Q126(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50, I129(oAzZK)-V40, I129C-V40(Mal), 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/S99(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant had maintained Treg proliferation activity with respect to IL-2 (P) or 8His-IL-2 (P) as control.

[0412] In addition, in various IL-2 variants, A1C-11/T3C-11/S5C-11/L12C-11/V91C-11 as the glycosylated IL-2 variant, A1C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Li20(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-V40(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V80(Mal)/E15C-11, and F78C-V40(IAc)/L12C-11 as the Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant, and I129(oAzZK)-W80, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/H79(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, S5(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, and 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant had lowered Treg proliferation activity, with respect to IL-2 (P) or 8His-IL-2 (P) as control.

[Example 14] NK cell proliferation activity



[0413] The cell proliferation activity of human NK cells of various IL-2 was measured by a method below. For the various IL-2 variants, H16C-2, E15C-11, L19C-9, L19C-11*, N88C-2, L12C-11/V91C-11, V91C-11/V115C-11, V91C-11/N119C-11, and A1C-11/T3C-11/S5C-11/L12C-11/V91C-11 were used as the glycosylated IL-2 variants; A1C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Li20(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V40(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V80(Mal)/E15C-11, and F78C-V40(IAc)/L12C-11 were used as Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variants; 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S6(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T7(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E60(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-R81(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-L94(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-Q126(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50, I129(oAzZK)-V40, I129(oAzZK)-W80, I129C-V40(Mal), 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/H79(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/S99(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S5(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 were used as PEGylated IL-2 variants; and the IL-2 (P) and the 8His-IL-2 were used as control.

[0414] A separation of NK cells from human PBMC was performed by a method below. Frozen human PBMC was thawed according to the method described in Example 13, and CD56+ NK cells were separated using NK Cell Isolation Kit human (manufactured by Miltenyi Biotech). The separated cells were washed three times with a culture medium (1500 rpm, room temperature, 5 minutes) and then subjected to a proliferation assay below.

[0415] The separated NK cells were suspended in a culture medium or X-vivo 10 SFM (manufactured by Lonza) to be 1.3 × 105 cells/mL, and a 96-well U-bottom plate was seeded with the cells at 150 µL/well (2 × 104 cells/well). An IL-2 solution diluted to 4-fold a final concentration with the culture medium or the X-vivo 10 SFM was added at 50 µL/well, and the cells were cultured at 37°C under 5% CO2 for 4 to 6 days. Thereafter, the NK cell proliferation rates of various IL-2 were calculated by the method described in Example 13.

[0416] FIGS. 2A to 2H show results obtained using a proliferation medium, and FIGS. 2I to 2K show results obtained using the X-vivo 10 SFM.

[0417] As shown in FIGS. 2A, 2H, and 2K, in the proliferation medium, IL-2 (P) exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 6500 pmol/L, whereas H16C-2 and L19C-9 as the glycosylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 20% or higher and lower than 80% even at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L, and N88C-2 and L12C-11/V91C-11 as the glycosylated IL-2 variant and A1C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Li20(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V40(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V80(Mal)/E15C-11, and L12C-11/F78C-V40(IAc) as the Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of lower than 20% even at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L.

[0418] In addition, in X-vivo 10 SFM, IL-2 (P) exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 65 pmol/L, whereas E15C-11 as the glycosylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 6500 pmol/L, L19C-11*, V91C-11/V115C-11, and V91C-11/N119C-11 as the glycosylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L, and A1C-11/T3C-11/S5C-11/L12C-11/V91C-11 as the glycosylated IL-2 variant had an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 20% or lower even at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L.

[0419] Then, as shown in FIGS. 2B to 2G, 2I, and 2J, in the proliferation medium, 8His-IL-2 exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 6500 pmol/L as in IL-2 (P), whereas 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S6(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T7(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E60(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-R81(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-L94(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li20, and 8His-Q126(oAzZK)-Li20 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, and 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant had an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 20% or higher and lower than 80% at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L, and I129(oAzZK)-W80, I129C-V40(Mal), 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S5(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant had an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of lower than 20% at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L. In addition, in the X-vivo 10 SFM, IL-2 (P) exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 65 pmol/L, whereas I129(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, and 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/S99(oAzZK)-Li30 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant exhibited an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 80% or higher at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L, 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/H79(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant had an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 20% or higher and lower than 80% even at an IL-2 concentration of 65 nmol/L. 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 had an IL-2-dependent cell proliferation rate of 30% at a maximum addition concentration of 6500 pmol/L.

[0420] From results above, it was confirmed that all evaluated IL-2 variants had reduced cell proliferation activity on NK cells. In particular, it was confirmed that H16C-2, E15C-11, L19C-9, L19C-11*, N88C-2, L12C-11/V91C-11, V91C-11/V115C-11, V91C-11/N119C-11, and A1C-11/T3C-11/S5C-11/L12C-11/V91C-11 as the glycosylated IL-2 variant, A1C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Li20(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/L12C-11/V91C-11, T3C-Y50(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V40(IAc)/E15C-11, T3C-V80(Mal)/E15C-11, and L12C-11/F78C-V40(IAc) as the Cys-PEGylated and glycosylated IL-2 variant, and 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50, I129(oAzZK)-V40, I129(oAzZK)-W80, I129C-V40(Mal), 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/H79(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/S99(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S4(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, S5(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, K8(oAzZK)-Y50/I129(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30, and 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30/I129(oAzZK)-Li30 as the PEGylated IL-2 variant had a greatly reduced cell proliferation activity than those of the IL-2 (P) and 8His-IL-2 as controls.

[0421] Tregs express IL-2Rαβγ, and NK cells express IL-2Rβγ. From results of Examples 13 and 14, it was found that all evaluated IL-2 variants selectively proliferated Tregs expressing IL-2Rαβγ but not NK cells expressing IL-2Rβγ.

[Example 15] Inhibitory activity of IL-2-stimulated Tregs on Tresp proliferation



[0422] The inhibitory activity of Tregs proliferated by being stimulated by various IL-2 on human Tresp proliferation was measured by a method described below. All cells were separated from each other by the same lot of frozen human PBMC. For the various IL-2, the glycosylated IL-2 variants H16C-2, L19C-9, and N88C-2 were used, and IL-2 (P) as control were used.

[0423] Seven days before the assay, Tregs were separated from the frozen human PBMCs as described in Example 13. The obtained Tregs were cultured for 7 days in the presence of CD3/CD28 Dynabeads (Tregs:beads = 1:1) and various IL-2 (final concentration: 65 nM). The obtained cells were used as IL-2-stimulated Tregs.

[0424] The cell preparation on the day of test was performed as follows. Tregs were separated from the frozen human PBMC by the method described in Example 13 and used as unstimulated Tregs. After CD3+ CD25- T cells were separated from the frozen human PBMC, by using EasySep Human T Cell Enrichment Kit (manufactured by STEMCELL Technologies) and EasySep Human Pan-CD25 Positive Selection and Depletion Kit (manufactured by STEMCELL Technologies), the cells were labeled by reacting Celltrace violet (manufactured by Thermo Fischer SCIENTIFIC) diluted to 40 µmol/L with a 10% FBS-containing RPMI1640 medium, at room temperature for 5 minutes.

[0425] The obtained cells were used as responder T cells (Tresp). HLA-DR+ cells were separated from frozen human PBMCs using Anti-HLA-DR MicroBeads, human (manufactured by Miltenyi Biotec). The obtained cells were used as Antigen presenting cell (APC).

[0426] After the obtained cells were suspended in X-vivo 15 SFM to which an anti-CD3 antibody OKT3 (manufactured by Biolegend) was added to obtain a final concentration of 0.5 µg/mL, a 96-well V-bottom plate (manufactured by Sumitomo Bakelite) was seeded with Tresp at 2 × 104 cells/well (50 µL), APC at 1 × 105 cells/well (50 µL), and Tregs at 1.6 × 102 to 5 × 103 cells/well (50 µL) (Tresp:Treg = 4:1 to 128:1), and the cells were cultured at 37°C under 5% CO2 for 4 days.

[0427] Thereafter, the cells were stained with anti-human CD4-APC (manufactured by BD Pharmingen) and anti-human CD8-PE (manufactured by BD Pharmingen) (at room temperature for 15 minutes), and then various fluorescent intensities were measured by flow cytometer FACS Canto II (manufactured by BD Biosciences).

[0428] The obtained data was exported as FCS file, and then analyzed using data analysis software FLowJo (TreeStar, version 7.6.5) for a division index value, which is an average number of cell divisions in CD4+ Tresp or CD8+ Tresp.

[0429] APC and Tresp were added, and assuming that a division index value of the well without adding Treg was set as 100% control, and a division index value of the well with adding only Tresp was set as 0% control, a cell proliferation rate of Tresp when adding unstimulated Treg or IL-2 stimulated Treg was calculated. Results obtained are shown in FIGS. 3(A) and 3(B).

[0430] As shown in FIGS. 3(A) and 3(B), the cell proliferation of CD4+ Tresp and CD8+ Tresp was not inhibited, in a case of using the unstimulated Treg and also in a case of adding Tregs at a maximum amount of 5 × 103 cells/well (Tresp:Treg = 4:1).

[0431] On the other hand, in cases of adding IL-2-stimulated Tregs which was stimulated by IL-2 (P), and the glycosylated IL-2 variants H16C-2, L19C-9, and N88C-2 and proliferated, the proliferation of Tresp was inhibited compared with a case of adding unstimulated Treg was added.

[0432] The proliferation of CD4+ Tresp was inhibited by about 40% to 60% and the proliferation of CD8+ Tresp was inhibited by up to about 30% to 40% by the IL-2 stimulated Tregs. The inhibition rate of Tresp proliferation was comparable between Treg stimulated with commercially available IL-2 and Treg stimulated with the glycosylated IL-2 variant.

[0433] From the results above, it was found that the produced glycosylated IL-2 variant enhanced the Treg inhibitory activity to the same extent as that of IL-2 (P).

[Example 16] Ex vivo assay



[0434] Production amounts of various cytokines of human PBMC stimulated with various IL-2 were measured by a method below. As various IL-2, glycosylated IL-2 variants H16C-2, L19C-9, and N88C-2, and IL-2 (P) were used as positive control.

[0435] After dispensing human peripheral blood into a 15 mL centrifuge tube, the human peripheral blood was centrifuged at 2000 rpm for 10 minutes, and a supernatant thereof was collected to obtain human plasma. The obtained plasma was sterilized by filtration using a 0.22 µm filter. The same amount of PBS as the collected plasma was added to the peripheral blood and diluted, and then human PBMC was obtained by a density gradient centrifugation method using Ficoll Paque plus (manufactured by GE Healthcare).

[0436] The obtained human PBMC was suspended in autologous plasma at 5 × 106 cells/mL, and an anti-CD3 antibody OKT3 was added thereto to obtain a final concentration of 0.5 µg/mL. After seeding a 96-well U-bottom plate therewith at 180 µl/well, various IL-2 diluted to 10-fold the final concentration with 0.1% BSA-PBS were added at 20 µl/well. After culturing at 37°C under 5% CO2 for 5 days, the culture supernatant was collected, and a production amount of cytokine in the supernatant was quantified using Human Th1/2/17 CBA kit (manufactured by BD Biosciences).

[0437] In addition, using the obtained human PBMC, the Treg-selective proliferation activity of various IL-2 was measured by method described below. After reacting the human PBMC with Anti-human CD4-Alexa 488, cells were fixed and permeabilized with PerFix EXPOSE Buffer 1 and PerFix EXPOSE Buffer 2 of PerFix-EXPOSE Phospho Epitope Exposure Kit (manufactured by Beckman Coulter). Then, PerFix EXPOSE Buffer 3 containing anti-human CD25-PE (manufactured by BD Biosciences) and anti-human Foxp3 Alexa 647 (manufactured by Bioregend, Cat # 320214) was added thereto and the cells were stained (shade, room temperature, 60 minutes).

[0438] Furthermore, after adding a PerFix EXPOSE Buffer 4 and washing the cells twice (centrifugation at 2500 rpm for 3 minutes), various fluorescence intensities were measured with a flow cytometer LSRFortessa (manufactured by BD Biosciences).

[0439] The obtained data was exported as FCS file, and then analyzed using data analysis software FLowJo (manufactured by TreeStar, version 7.6.5). Among the CD4 positive fractions, the CD25+ Foxp3high fraction was defined as Treg, and the CD25+ Foxp3low fraction was defined as effector T cells (Teff). An abundance ratio thereof [Treg (%)/Teff (%)] was calculated, and determined as an index of Treg-selective proliferation activity.

[0440] Results of the measured production amount of cytokine are shown in FIGS. 4(A) to 4(E). As shown in FIGS. 4(A) to 4(E), IL-2 (P) promoted the production of all cytokines of IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IFNγ, and TNFα, among the measured cytokines.

[0441] On the other hand, in the glycosylated IL-2 variant, the production amounts of IL-6 and IL-10 were comparable as those of commercially available IL-2, but the production amounts of IL-4, IFNγ, and TNFα were decreased. The production of IL-17A was equal to or less than a detection limit under any culture conditions.

[0442] IL-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine, and IL-6, IL-4, IFNγ, and TNFα are inflammatory cytokines.

[0443] From the results above, it was confirmed that the produced glycosylated IL-2 variant had a significantly lower production activity of proinflammatory cytokines than that of IL-2 (P).

[0444] In addition, FIG. 4F shows the obtained Treg/Teff ratio. As shown in FIG. 4 (F), a Treg/Teff ratio in a case of stimulation with IL-2 (P) was about 0.2 to 0.3. On the other hand, the Treg/Teff ratio in a case of stimulation with the glycosylated IL-2 variants H16C-2, L19C-9, and N88C-2 was about 0.3 to 0.5.

[0445] From the results above, it was found that, under the culture conditions in which various immune cells close to an in vivo environment exist, the produced glycosylated IL-2 variants selectively proliferated Treg rather than Teff, as compared to IL-2 (P). Although both the Treg and the Teff express IL-2Rαβγ, the IL-2 variant has a property of selectively proliferating the Treg rather than the Teff, and is a desirable IL-2 variant for relieving inflammation.

[Example 17] Affinity analysis



[0446] Affinities of various IL-2 for human CD25ECD-Fc and human IL-2RβγECD-Fc were measured by a method below. For the various IL-2, the glycosylated IL-2 variants L12C-2, L12C-9, L12C-11, H16C-2, L19C-9, L12C-11, N88C-2, and V91C-11 were used, and wild-type IL-2, 8His-IL-2, and IL-2 (P) were used as control.

[0447] human CD25ECD-Fc and human IL-2RβγECD-Fc
Human CD25ECD-Fc-Avitag expression vector for mammalian cells was produced by inserting a nucleotide sequence (SEQ ID NO: 24) designed based on an amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO: 23) of CD25ECD-Fc-Avitag consisting of an extracellular region of human CD25 and human IgG1-derived Fc comprising an Avitag sequence (GLNDIFEAQKIEWHE) at a C-terminal into a BglII restriction enzyme site and BamHI restriction enzyme site of INPEP4 vector.

[0448] In addition, human IL-2Rβγ ECD-Fc expression vector for mammalian cells was produced by inserting a nucleotide sequence (SEQ ID NO: 26) designed based on an amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO: 25) of human CD122 ECD-Fc-Avitag-8His_human CD132 ECD-Fc-FLAG in which CD122 ECD-Fc(knob)-Avitag-8His consisting of an extracellular region of human CD122 and human IgG1-derived Fc region comprising Y354C/T366W mutation and an Avitag sequence and a polyhistidine tag sequence (HHHHHHHH) at a C terminal and CD132 ECD-Fc (hole)-FLAG consisting of an extracellular region of human CD132, and human IgG1-derived Fc region comprising Y349C/T366S/L368A/Y407V mutation and FLAG tag sequence at a C-terminal were joined via a furin cleavage sequence and foot-and-mouth-disease virus-derived 2A peptide sequence to a BglII restriction enzyme site and a BamHI restriction enzyme site of INPEP4 vector.

[0449] Using the obtained plasmid and Expi293 Expression System (manufactured by Thermo Fisher SCIENTIFIC), various Fc fusion proteins were expressed in the culture supernatant. CD25ECD-Fc was roughly purified using Mabselect sure (manufactured by GE Healthcare), and then a monomer fraction was collected by size exclusion chromatography using Superdex 200 10/300 GL (manufactured by GE Healthcare) (mobile phase: D-PBS).

[0450] On the other hand, IL-2Rβγ ECD-Fc was roughly purified using Mabselect sure, then a monomer fraction was collected by size exclusion chromatography (mobile phase: D-PBS) using Superdex 200 10/300 GL and futher purification was performed using ANTI-FLAG M2 Affinity Agarose Gel.

[0451] A Series S Sensor chip CM5 (manufactured by GE Healthcare) was set on a Biacore T-100 (manufactured by GE Healthcare), and anti-human Fc was immobilized on a flow cell for affinity measurement and a flow cell for reference, using the Human Anti body Capture Kit (GE healthcare).

[0452] Next, after replacing a flow path with HBS-EP (+) buffer (manufactured by GE Healthcare), CD25ECD-Fc or IL-2RβγECD-Fc diluted with HBS-EP (+) was added as ligand only to the flow cell for the affinity measurement (immobilized amount: 200 to 900 RU).

[0453] Thereafter, IL-2 (P) diluted to an optimum concentration with an HBS-EP (+) buffer was added to the affinity measurement flow cell and the reference flow cell as an analyte to obtain a sensorgram. 3 mol/L MgCl2 was used for the regeneration reaction of the flow cell.

[0454] Biacore T-100 Evaluation software was used to calculate kinetic constants from the obtained sensorgrams. For the analysis of the binding to CD25ECD-Fc, the dissociation constant KD was determined using a steady state model. In the analysis of binding to IL-2Rβγ ECD-Fc, a binding rate constant ka, a dissociation rate constant kd and KD were determined using 1:1 binding model. Table 23 shows the obtained KD.
[Table 23]
Variant nameKD (M)
hCD25ECD-FchIL-2Rβ γECD-Fc
IL-2 (P) 1.30 × 10-8 2.09 × 10-10
8His-IL-2 1.50 × 10-8 2.09 × 10-10
Wild-type IL-2 3.32 × 10-8 2.15 × 10-10
L12C-2 1.33 × 10-8 3.67 × 10-10
L12C-9 1.46 × 10-8 8.31 × 10-10
L12C-11 1.51 × 10-1 7.40 × 10-10
H16C-2 1.25 × 10-8 1.11 × 10-8
L19C-9 2.09 × 10-8 2.10 × 10-9
L19C-11 1.98 × 10-8 3.34 × 10-9
N88C-2 1.12 × 10-8 4.39 × 10-8
V91C-11 1.35 × 10-8 5.84 × 10-10


[0455] As shown in Table 23, the KD value for CD25 was almost the same between the glycosylated IL-2 variant and IL-2 (P). On the other hand, the KD value for IL-2Rβγ was higher in the glycosylated IL-2 variant than in IL-2 (P).

[0456] Combined with the results in Tables 18 to 20, it was confirmed that the higher the KD value for IL-2Rβγ the higher the IL-2Rαβγ selectivity.

[0457] From the results above, it was considered that the glycosylated IL-2 variant maintained the affinity for CD25, while the affinity for IL-2Rβγ was reduced, thereby improving the IL-2Rαβγ selectivity.

[Example 18] Influence of saccharide/PEG structure



[0458] In order to evaluate an effect of amino acid modification to IL-2 or binding the saccharide or PEG on IL-2Rαβγ selectivity, the standardized EC50 ratio values were measured for L19C, L19C-acetamide, and L19N produced in Example 1 and various o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 produced Example 5, in the same manner as the method described in Example 12. Table 24 shows results obtained.
[Table 24]
Standardized EC50 ratio valueVariant
<5 8His-S4 (oAzZK),
8His-S5 (oAzZK),
8His-S6 (oAzZK),
8His-T7 (oAzZK),
8His-K8 (oAzZK),
8His-E60 (oAzZK),
8His-F78 (oAzZK),
8His-H79 (oAzZK),
8His-R81 (oAzZK),
8His-L94 (oAzZK),
8His-S99 (oAzZK),
8His-E100 (oAzZK),
8His-T101 (oAzZK),
8His-I129 (oAzZK)
5 to 30 L19C,
L19C-acetamide,
L19N,
8His-Q126 (oAzZK)
>30 -


[0459] As shown in Table 24, the standardized EC50 ratio values of L19C, L19C-acetamide, and L19N were 5 to 30. As shown in Table 18, since the standardized EC50 ratio values of L19C-2, L19C-9, L19C-11 and L19C-11* were 30 or more, it was found that L19C-2, L19C-9, L19C-11, and L19C -11* have improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ due to glycosylation.

[0460] In addition, as shown in Table 24, the standardized EC50 ratio values of the o-Az-Z-Lys-introduced 8His-IL-2 variants other than 8His-Q126(oAzZK) were 5 or less. As shown in Tables 21 and 22, since the standardized EC50 ratio values of 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S4(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S5(oAzZK)-Li30, S6(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-S6(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-T7(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-K8(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-E60(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-W40, 8His-F78(oAzZK)-Y50, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-H79(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-S99(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-E100(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-T101(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-PEG4, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li20, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li30, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Li40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-V40, 8His-I129(oAzZK)-W40, and 8His-I129(oAzZK)-Y50 were 5 or more, it was found that these PEGylated IL-2 variants have improved selectivity for IL-2Rαβγ due to PEG binding.

[0461] While the present invention has been described in detail and with reference to specific embodiments thereof, it will be apparent to one skill in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. This application is based on Japanese Patent Application (Japanese Patent Application No. 2017-252224) filed on December 27, 2017, the entire contents of which are incorporated hereinto by reference.

Sequence Listing Free Text



[0462] 

SEQ ID NO: 1: Amino acid sequence of wild-type mature human IL-2

SEQ ID NO: 2: Amino acid sequence of 8His-IL-2

SEQ ID NO: 3: nucleotide sequence of 8His-IL-2

SEQ ID NO: 4: nucleotide sequence of 8His-S4(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 5: nucleotide sequence of 8His-S5(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 6: nucleotide sequence of 8His-S6(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 7: nucleotide sequence of 8His-T7(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 8: nucleotide sequence of 8His-K8(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 9: nucleotide sequence of 8His-E60(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 10: nucleotide sequence of 8His-F78(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 11: nucleotide sequence of 8His-H79(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 12: nucleotide sequence of 8His-R81(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 13: nucleotide sequence of 8His-L94(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 14: nucleotide sequence of 8His-S99(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 15: nucleotide sequence of 8His-E100(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 16: nucleotide sequence of 8His-T101(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 17: nucleotide sequence of 8His-Q126(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 18: nucleotide sequences of 8His-I129(oAzZK) and 8His-I129(mAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 19: Amino acid sequence of human IL-2Rαβγ-Azami green fusion

SEQ ID NO: 20: nucleotide sequence of human IL-2Rαβγ-Azami green fusion

SEQ ID NO: 21: Amino acid sequence of human IL-2βγ-Azami green fusion

SEQ ID NO: 22: nucleotide sequence of human IL-2Rβγ-Azami green fusion

SEQ ID NO: 23: Amino acid sequence of human CD25 ECD-Fc-Avitag

SEQ ID NO: 24: nucleotide sequence of human CD25 ECD-Fc-Avitag

SEQ ID NO: 25: Amino acid sequence of human CD122 ECD-Fc-Avitag-8His_human CD132 ECD-Fc-FLAG

SEQ ID NO: 26: nucleotide sequence of human CD122 ECD-Fc-Avitag-8His_human CD132 ECD-Fc-FLAG

SEQ ID NO: 27: nucleotide sequence of 8His-S4(oAzZK)/F78(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 28: nucleotide sequence of 8His-S5(oAzZK)/F78(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 29: nucleotide sequence of 8His-K8(oAzZK)/F78(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 30: nucleotide sequence of 8His-F78(oAzZK)/H79(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 31: nucleotide sequence of 8His-F78(oAzZK)/S99(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 32: nucleotide sequence of 8His-F78(oAzZK)/I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 33: nucleotide sequence of 8His-S4(oAzZK)/I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 34: nucleotide sequence of 8His-S5(oAzZK)/I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 35: nucleotide sequence of 8His-K8(oAzZK)/I129(oAzZK.)

SEQ ID NO: 36: nucleotide sequence of 8His-H79(oAzZK)/I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 37: nucleotide sequence of 8His-S99(oAzZK)/I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 38: Amino acid sequence of N-terminal methionine-added IL-2 C125S

SEQ ID NO: 39: nucleotide sequence ofN-terminal methionine-added IL-2 C125S

SEQ ID NO: 40: Amino acid sequence of desAla_IL-2 C125S

SEQ ID NO: 41: nucleotide sequence of desAla_IL-2 C125S

SEQ ID NO: 42: nucleotide sequence of F78(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 43: nucleotide sequence of I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 44: nucleotide sequence of desAla_I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 45: nucleotide sequence of S4(oAzZK)/F78(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 46: nucleotidesequence of S5(oAzZK)/F78(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 47: nucleotide sequence of K8(oAzZK)/F78(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 48: nucleotide sequence of S4(oAzZK)/I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 49: nucleotide sequence of S5(oAzZK)/I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 50: nucleotide sequence of K8(oAzZK)/I129(oAzZK)

SEQ ID NO: 51: Amino acid sequence of I129C

SEQ ID NO: 52: nucleotide sequence of I129C






























































































Claims

1. An Interleukin-2 (hereinafter abbreviated as IL-2) variant.
 
2. The IL-2 variant according to claim 1, which is a saccharide-bound IL-2 variant and/or a polyethylene glycol (PEG)-bound IL-2 variant.
 
3. The IL-2 variant according to claim 1 or 2, which has improved selectivity for an IL-2 receptor (hereinafter, IL-2R)αβγ.
 
4. The IL-2 variant according to claim 2 or 3,
wherein a saccharide is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of IL-2.
 
5. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2 to 4,
wherein the saccharide is at least one selected from saccharides comprising structures represented by (Formula 4) to (Formula 8), (Formula Y1), (Formula Y2), or (Formula Y3).






















 
6. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2 to 5, which comprises an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a saccahride-bound group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.
 
7. The IL-2 variant according to claim 6, which has an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 12, 15, 16, 19, 88, 91, and 119 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with the dsaccharide-bound group derived from the cysteine residue or the asparagine residue.
 
8. The IL-2 variant according to claim 6 or 7,
wherein the saccharide-bound group derived from the cysteine residue has a structure represented by (Formula 1),

[in (Formula 1), Saccharide indicates a saccharide].
 
9. The IL-2 variant according to claim 6 or 7,
wherein the saccharide-bound group derived from the asparagine residue has a structure represented by (Formula 2),

[in (Formula 2), Saccharide indicates a saccharide].
 
10. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2 to 9, which is an IL-2 variant in which PEG is further bound to the saccharide-bound IL-2 variant.
 
11. The IL-2 variant according to claim 2 or 3,
wherein PEG is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in the amino acid sequence of IL-2.
 
12. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2, 3, and 11, which comprises an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
 
13. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2, 3, 11, and 12,
wherein at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 8, 78, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
 
14. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2, 3, and 11 to 13,
wherein a PEGylated amino acid residue is a PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue.
 
15. The IL-2 variant according to claim 14,
wherein the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue is a PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising a thiol group (-SH) or a PEGylated reisdue derived from an amino acid residue comprising an azide group.
 
16. The IL-2 variant according to claim 14 or 15,
wherein the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue is a group derived from an N6-[{(o-azidobenzyl)oxy}carbonyl]-L-lysine(o-Az-Z-Lys) residue, a group derived from an N6-[{(m-azidobenzyl)oxy}carbonyl]-L-lysine(m-Az-Z-Lys) residue, or a group derived from a cysteine residue.
 
17. The IL-2 variant according to claim 16,
wherein the PEGylated residue derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula 11) and/or (Formula 12).






 
18. The IL-2 variant according to claim 16,
wherein the PEGylated group derived from an m-Az-Z-Lys residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula X4) and/or (Formula X5).






 
19. The IL-2 variant according to claim 16,
wherein the PEGylated group derived from the cysteine residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula X11), (Formula X12), and/or (Formula X13).








 
20. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2, 3, and 10 to 19, wherein PEG is linear.
 
21. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2, 3, and 10 to 19, wherein PEG is branched.
 
22. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2, 3, and 10 to 21, wherein PEG has an average molecular weight of 10 kDa or more.
 
23. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2, 3, and 10 to 22, wherein PEG has an average molecular weight of 10 kDa, 20 kDa, 30 kDa, 40 kDa, 50 kDa, 60 kDa, 70 kDa, or 80 kDa.
 
24. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 2, 3, and 10 to 23, wherein PEG comprises a structure represented by at least one formula of (Formula 13), (Formula 14), (Formula 15), (Formula 16), (Formula X7), (Formula X8), (Formula X9), (Formula X10), (Formula X11), (Formula X13), (Formula X14), or (Formula X15).




























 
25. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 1 to 24,
wherein a methionine residue is further bound to an N-terminal of IL-2.
 
26. The IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 1 to 25,
wherein N-terminal alanine of IL-2 is deleted.
 
27. A method for producing the IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 1 to 26.
 
28. A composition comprising the IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 1 to 26.
 
29. A therapeutic agent for an immune disease, comprising the IL-2 variant according to any one of claims 1 to 26.
 
30. A method for improving selectivity of IL-2 for IL-2Rαβγ.
 
31. The method according to claim 30, comprising:
binding a saccharide and/or PEG to IL-2.
 
32. The method according to claim 31, comprising:
binding a saccharide to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in an amino acid sequence of the IL-2.
 
33. The method according to claim 31 or 32,
wherein the saccharide is at least one selected from saccharides comprising structures represented by (Formula 4) to (Formula 8), (Formula Y1), (Formula Y2), or (Formula Y3).






















 
34. The method according to any one of claims 31 to 33, comprising:
Substituting at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 84, 87, 88, 91, 92, 108, 115, 119, 122, 123, and 130 in the amino acid sequence in IL-2 comprising an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue, , with a saccharide-bound group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.
 
35. The method according to any one of claims 31 to 34, comprising:
substituting at least one amino acid residue among amino acid residues at positions 12, 15, 16, 19, 88, 91, and 119 in an amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or an amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue, with a saccharide-bound group derived from a cysteine residue or an asparagine residue.
 
36. The method according to claim 34 or 35,
wherein the saccharide-boundgroup derived from the cysteine residue has a structure represented by (Formula 1),

[in (Formula 1), Saccharide indicates a saccharide].
 
37. The method according to claim 34 or 35,
wherein the saccharide-bound residue derived from the asparagine residue has a structure represented by (Formula 2),

[in (Formula 2), Saccharide indicates a saccharide].
 
38. The method according to any one of claims 31 to 37, further comprising:
binding the PEG to a saccharide-bound IL-2 variant.
 
39. The method according to claim 31,
wherein the PEG is bound to at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in an amino acid sequence of the IL-2.
 
40. The method according to claim 31 or 39, which comprises an amino acid sequence in which at least one amino acid residue selected from the group consisting of amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 60, 78, 79, 99, 100, 101, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
 
41. The method according to any one of claims 31, 39, and 40,
wherein at least one amino acid residue selected from amino acid residues at positions 4, 5, 8, 78, and 129 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 or the amino acid sequence in which an amino acid residue at position 125 in the amino acid sequence represented by SEQ ID NO: 1 is substituted with a serine residue is substituted with a PEGylated amino acid residue.
 
42. The method according to any one of claims 31, and 39 to 41,
wherein a PEGylated amino acid residue is a PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue.
 
43. The method according to claim 42,
wherein the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue is a PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising a thiol group (-SH) or a PEGylated group derived from an amino acid residue comprising an azide group.
 
44. The method according to claim 42 or 43,
wherein the PEGylated non-natural amino acid residue is a group derived from an N6-[{(o-azidobenzyl)oxy}carbonyl]-L-lysine (o-Az-Z-Lys) residue, a group derived from an N6-[{(m-azidobenzyl)oxy}carbonyl]-L-lysine(m-Az-Z-Lys) residue, or a group derived from a cysteine residue.
 
45. The method according to claim 44,
wherein the PEGylated group derived from an o-Az-Z-Lys residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula 11) and/or (Formula 12).






 
46. The method according to claim 44,
wherein the PEGylated group derived from an m-Az-Z-Lys residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula X4) and/or (Formula X5).






 
47. The method according to claim 44,
wherein the PEGylated group derived from the cysteine residue comprises a structure represented by (Formula X11), (Formula X12), and/or (Formula X13).








 
48. The method according to any one of claims 31, 38 to 47, wherein the PEG is linear.
 
49. The method according to any one of claims 31, 38 to 47,
wherein the PEG is branched.
 
50. The method according to any one of claims 31, 38 to 49,
wherein the PEG has an average molecular weight of 10 kDa or more.
 
51. The method according to any one of claims 31, and 38 to 50,
wherein the PEG has an average molecular weight of 10 kDa, 20 kDa, 30 kDa, 40 kDa, 50 kDa, 60 kDa, 70 kDa, or 80 kDa.
 
52. The method according to any one of claims 31, and 38 to 51,
wherein the PEGcomprises a structure represented by at least one formula of (Formula 13), (Formula 14), (Formula 15), (Formula 16), (Formula X7), (Formula X8), (Formula X9), (Formula X10), (Formula X11), (Formula X13), (Formula X14), or (Formula X15).




























 
53. The method according to any one of claims 30 to 52,
wherein a methionine residue is further bound to an N-terminal of the IL-2.
 
54. The method according to any one of claims 30 to 53,
wherein N-terminal alanine of the IL-2 is deleted.
 
55. A method for selectively activating regulatory T cells.
 
56. A method for reducing an affinity of IL-2 for at least one of an IL-2Rβ subunit and an IL-2Rγ subunit.
 
57. A method for improving an affinity of IL-2 for an IL-2Rα subunit.
 




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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