PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1700524 26.10.2006
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001700524
Titel Zellulase-Enzyme und Expressionssysteme dafür
Anmelder Genencor International, Inc., Palo Alto, Calif., US
Erfinder Fowler, Timothy, Palo Alto California 94304-1013, US;
Clarkson, A., Kathleen, Palo Alto California 94304-1013, US;
Ward, Michael, Palo Alto California 94304-1013, US;
Collier, Katherine, Palo Alto California 94304-1013, US;
Larenas, Edmund, Palo Alto California 94304-1013, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, CH, DE, DK, ES, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 19.12.1994
EP-Aktenzeichen 060090628
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 13.09.2006
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 26.10.2006
IPC-Hauptklasse A23K 1/165(2006.01)A, F, I, 20060816, B, H, EP

Beschreibung[en]
Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a process for producing high levels of novel truncated cellulase proteins in the filamentous fungus Trichoderma longibrachiatum; to fungal transformants produced from Trichoderma longibrachiatum by genetic engineering techniques; and to novel cellulase proteins produced by such transformants.

Backaround of the Invention

Cellulases are enzymes which hydrolyze cellulose (&bgr;-1,4-D-glucan linkages) and produce as primary products glucose, cellobiose, cellooligosaccharides, and the like. Cellulases are produced by a number of microorganisms and comprise several different enzyme classifications including those identified as exo-cellobiohydrolases (CBH), endoglucanases (EG) and &bgr;-glucosidases (BG) ( Schulein, M, 1988 Methods in Enzymology 160: 235-242 ). Moreover, the enzymes within these classifications can be separated into individual components. For example, the cellulase produced by the filamentous fungus, Trichoderma longibrachiatum, hereafter T.longibrachiatum, consists of at least two CBH components, i.e., CBHI and CBHII, and at least four EG components, i.e., EGI, EGII, EGIII and EGV ( Saloheimo, A. et al 1993 in Proceedings of the second TRICEL symposium on Trichoderma reesei Cellulases and Other Hydrolases, Espoo, Finland, ed by P. Suominen & T. Reinikainen. Foundation for Biotechnical and Industrial Fermentation Research 8: 139-146 ) components, and at least one &bgr;-glucosidase. The genes encoding these components are namely cbh1, cbh2, egl1, egl2, egl3, and egl5 respectively.

The complete cellulase system comprising CBH, EG and BG components synergistically act to convert crystalline cellulose to glucose. The two exo-cellobiohyrolases and the four presently known endoglucanases act together to hydrolyze cellulose to small cello-oligosaccharides. The oligosaccharides (mainly cellobioses) are subsequently hydrolyzed to glucose by a major &bgr;-glucosidase (with possible additional hydrolysis from minor &bgr;-glucosidase components).

Protein analysis of the cellobiohydrolases (CBHI and CBHII) and major endoglucanases (EGI and EGII) of T. longibrachiatum have shown that a bifunctional organization exists in the form of a catalytic core domain and a smaller cellulose binding domain separated by a linker or flexible hinge stretch of amino acids rich in proline and hydroxyamino acids. Genes for the two cellobiohydrolases, CBHI and CBHII ( Shoemaker, S et al 1983 Bio/Technology 1, 691-696 , Teeri, T et al 1983, Bio/Technology 1, 696-699 and Teeri, T. et al, 1987, Gene 51, 43-52 ) and two major endoglucansases, EGI and EGII ( Penttila, M. et al 1986, Gene 45, 253-263 , Van Arsdell, J.N/ et al 1987 Bio/Technology 5, 60-64 and Saloheimo, M. et al 1988, Gene 63, 11-21 ) have been isolated from T. longibrachiatum and the protein domain structure has been confirmed.

A similar bifunctional organization of cellulase enzymes is found in bacterial cellulases. The cellulose binding domain (CBD) and catalytic core of Cellulomonas fimi endoglucanase A (C. fimi Cen A) has been studied extensively ( Ong E. et al 1989, Trends Biotechnol. 7:239-243 , Pilz et al 1990, Biochem J. 271:277-280 and Warren et al 1987, Proteins 1:335-341 ). Gene fragments encoding the CBD and the CBD with the linker have been cloned, expressed in E. coli and shown to possess novel activities on cellulose fibers ( Gilkes, N.R. et al 1991, Microbiol Rev. 55:305-315 and Din, N et al 1991, Bio/Technology 9:1096-1099 ). For example, isolated CBD from C. fimi Cen A genetically expressed in E. coli disrupts the structure of cellulose fibers and releases small particles but have no detectable hydrolytic activity. CBD further possess a wide application in protein purification and enzyme immobilization. On the other hand, the catalytic domain of C. fimi Cen A isolated from protease cleaved cellulase does not disrupt the fibril structure of cellulose and instead smooths the surface of the fiber.

These novel activities have potential uses in textile, food and animal feed, detergents and the pulp and paper industries. However, for industrial application, highly efficient expression systems must be procured that produce higher yields of truncated cellulase proteins than are currently available to be of any commercial value. For example, Trichoderma longibrachiatum CBHI core domains have been separated proteolytically and purified but only milligram quantities are isolated by this biochemical procedure ( Offord D., et al 1991, Applied Biochem. and Biotech. 28/29:377-386 ). Similar studies were done in an analysis of the core and binding domains of CBHI, CBHII, EGI and EGII isolated from T. longibrachiatum after biochemical proteolysis, however, only enough protein was recovered for structural and functional analysis ( Tomme, P et al, 1988, Eur.J. Biochem 170:575-581 and Ajo, S, 1991 FEBS 291:45-49 ).

In order to obtain strains which express higher levels of truncated cellulase proteins than previously realized, applicants chose T. longibrachiatum as the microorganism most preferred for expression since it is well known for its capacity to secrete whole cellulases in large quantities. Thus, applicants set out to genetically engineer strains of the above filamentous fungus to express high levels of bioengineered novel protein truncated cellulases.

It remained unknown before Applicants invention whether the DNA encoding truncated cellulase binding and core domain proteins could be transformed into Trichoderma in such a manner as to overexpress novel truncated cellulase genes into functional proteins without deterioration in the host cell and obtained secretion to facilitate identification and purification of the engineered product. Recently, Nakari and Penttila have shown that it is possible to genetically engineer a Trichoderma host to express a truncated form of the Trichoderma EGI cellulase, specifically the catalytic core domain, however the level of expression of EGI core domain was low ( Nakari, T. et al, Abstract P1/63 1st European Conference on Fungal Genetics, Nottingham, England, August 20-23, 1992 ). Moreover, it was unknown whether a Trichoderma cellobiohydrolase catalytic core domain or any Trichoderma cellobiohydrolase or endoglucanase cellulose binding domain could be produced by recombinant genetic methods.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to introduce DNA gene fragments into strains of the fungus, Trichoderma longibrachiatum to produce transformant strains that express high levels of novel truncated protein (grams/liter level) engineered cellulases from the binding and core domains of Trichoderma cellulases. The truncated proteins are correctly processed and secreted extracellularly in an active form. The present invention further relates to the novel truncated proteins isolated from these transformants.

Summary of the Invention

Methods involving recombinant DNA technology and compositions are provided for the production and isolation of novel truncated cellulase proteins, derivatives thereof or covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives derived from the filamentous fungus, Trichoderma sp. The truncated cellulase comprises at least a core or binding domain of a cellobiohydrolases or endoglucanase from the species Trichoderma. Derivatives of truncated cellulases include substitutions, deletions, or additions of one or more amino acids at various sites throughout the core or binding domain of the novel truncated cellulase whereby either the cellulose binding or cellulase catalytic core activity is retained. Covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives comprise truncated cellulases or derivatives thereof that are further attached to each other, and/or enzymes, or domains and/or proteins, and/or chemicals heterologous or homologous to Trichoderma sp.

The present invention also includes the preparation of novel truncated cellulases, derivatives and covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives by transforming into a host cell a DNA construct comprising a DNA fragment or variant thereof encoding the above novel cellulase(s) functionally attached to regulatory sequences that permit the transcription and translation of the structural gene and growing the host cell to express the truncated gene of interest.

The present invention further includes DNA fragments and variants thereof encoding novel truncated cellulases, derivatives and covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives. The present invention also encompasses expression vectors comprising the above DNA fragments or variants thereof and Trichoderma host cells transformed with the above expression vectors.

Brief Detailed Description of the Drawings

Figure 1 depicts the genomic DNA and amino acid sequence of CBHI derived from Trichoderma longibrachiatum. The signal sequence begins at base pair 210 and ends at base pair 260 (Seq ID No. 25). The catalytic core domain begins at base pair 261 through base pair 671 of the first exon, base pair 739 through base pair 1434 of the second exon, and base pair 1498 through base pair 713 of the third exon (Seq ID No. 9). The linker sequence begins at base pair 714 and ends at base pair 1785 (Seq ID No. 17). The cellulase binding domain begins at base pair 1786 and ends at base pair 1888 (Seq ID No. 1). Seq ID Nos. 26, 10, 18 and 2 represent the amino acid sequence of the CBHI signal sequence, catalytic core domain, linker region and binding domain, respectively.

Figure 2 depicts the genomic DNA and amino acid sequence of CBHII derived from Trichoderma longibrachiatum. The signal sequence begins at base pair 614 and ends at base pair 685 (Seq ID No. 27). The cellulose binding domain begins at base pair 686 through base pair 707 of exon one, and base pair 755 through base pair 851 of exon two (Seq ID No. 3). The linker sequence begins at base pair 852 and ends at base pair 980 (Seq ID No. 19). The catalytic core begins at base pair 981 through base pair 1141 of exon two, base pair 1199 through base pair 1445 of exon three and base pair 1536 through base pair 2221 of exon four (Seq ID No. 11). Seq ID Nos. 28, 4, 20 and 12 represent the amino acid sequence of the CBHII signal sequence, binding domain, linker region and catalytic core domain, respectively.

Figure 3 depicts the genomic DNA and amino acid sequence of EGI. The signal sequence begins at base pair 113 and ends at base pair 178 (Seq ID No. 29). The catalytic core domain begins at base pair 179 through 882 of exon one, and base pair 963 through base pair 1379 of the second exon (Seq ID No. 13). The linker region begins at base pair 1380 and ends at base pair 1460 (Seq ID No. 21). The cellulose binding domain begins at base pair 1461 and ends at base pair 1616 (Seq ID No. 5). Seq ID Nos. 30, 14, 22 and 6 represent the amino acid sequence of EGI signal sequence, catalytic core domain, linker region and binding domain, respectively.

Figure 4 depicts the genomic DNA and amino acid sequence of EGII. The signal sequence begins at base pair 262 and ends at base pair 324 (Seq ID No. 31). The cellulose binding domain begins at base pair 325 and ends at base pair 432 (Seq ID No. 7). The linker region begins at base pair 433 and ends at base pair 534 (Seq No. 23). The catalytic core domain begins at base pair 535 through base pair 590 in exon one, and base pair 765 through base pair 1689 in exon two (Seq ID No. 15). Seq ID Nos. 32, 8, 24 and 16 represent the amino acid sequence of EGII signal sequence, binding domain, linker region and catalytic core domain, respectively.

Figure 5 depicts the genomic DNA and amino acid sequence of EGIII. The signal sequence begins at base pair 151 and ends at base pair 198 (Seq ID No. 36). The catalytic core domain begins at base pair 199 through base pair 557 in exon one, base pair 613 through base pair 833 in exon two and base pair 900 through base pair 973 in exon three (Seq ID No. 33). Seq ID Nos. 36 and 34 represent the amino acid sequence of EGIII signal sequence and catalytic core domain, respectively.

Figure 6 illustrates the construction of EGI core domain expression vector (Seq ID No. 37).

Figure 7 depicts the construction of the expression plasmid pTEX (Seq ID Nos. 39-41).

Figure 8 is an illustration of the construction of CBHI core domain expression vector (Seq ID No. 38).

Figure 9 is an illustration of the construction of CBHII cellulase binding domain expression vector (Seq ID Nos. 42 and 43).

Detailed Description

As noted above, the present invention generally relates to the cloning and expression of novel truncated cellulase proteins at high levels in the filamentous fungus, T. longibrachiatum. Further aspects of the present invention will be discussed in further detail following a definition of the terms employed herein.

The term "Trichoderma" or "Trichoderma sp." refers to any fungal strains which have previously been classified as Trichoderma or which are currently classified as Trichoderma. Preferably the species are Trichoderma longibrachiatum, Trichoderma reesei or Trichoderma viride.

The terms "cellulolytic enzymes" or "cellulase enzymes" refer to fungal exoglucanases or exocellobiohydrolases (CBH), endoglucanses (EG) and &bgr;-glucosidases (BG). These three different types of cellulase enzymes act synergistically to convert crystalline cellulose to glucose. Analysis of the genes coding for CBHI, CBHII and EGI and EGII show a domain structure comprising a catalytic core region (CCD), a hinge or linker region (used interchangeably herein) and cellulose binding region (CBD).

The term "truncated cellulases", as used herein, refers to the core or binding domains of the cellobiohydrolases and endoglucanases, for example, EGI, EGII, EGIII, EGV, CBHI and CBHII, or derivatives of either of the truncated cellulase domains.

A "derivative" of the truncated cellulases encompasses the core or binding domains of the cellobiohydrolases, for example, CBHI or CBHII, and the endoglucanases, for example, EGI, EGII, EGIII and EGV from Trichoderma sp, wherein there may be an addition of one or more amino acids to either or both of the C- and N- terminal ends of the truncated cellulase, a substitution of one or more amino acids at one or more sites throughout the truncated cellulase, a deletion of one or more amino acids within or at either or both ends of the truncated cellulase protein, or an insertion of one or more amino acids at one or more sites in the truncated cellulase protein such that exoglucanase and endoglucanase activities are retained in the derivatized CBH and EG catalytic core truncated proteins and/or the cellulose binding activity is retained in the derivatized CBH and EG binding domain truncated proteins. It is also intended by the term "derivative of a truncated cellulase" to include core or binding domains of the exoglucanase or endoglucanase enzymes that have attached thereto one or more amino acids from the linker region.

A truncated cellulase protein derivative further refers to a protein substantially similar in structure and biological activity to a cellulase core or binding domain which comprises the cellulolytic enzymes found in nature, but which has been engineered to contain a modified amino acid sequence. Thus, provided that the two proteins possess a similar activity, they are considered "derivatives" as that term is used herein even if the primary structure of one protein does not possess the identical amino acid sequence to that found in the other.

The term "cellulase catalytic core domain activity" refers herein to an amino acid sequence of the truncated cellulase comprising the core domain of the cellobiohydrolases and endoglucanases, for example, EGI, EGII, EGIII, EGV, CBHI or CBHII or a derivative thereof that is capable of enzymatically cleaving a cellulosic polymers such as pulp or phosphoric acid swollen cellulose.

The activity of the truncated catalytic core proteins or derivatives thereof as defined herein may be determined by methods well known in the art. (See Wood, T.M. et al in Methods in Enzymology, Vol. 160, Editors: Wood, W.A. and Kellogg, S.T., Academic Press, pp. 87-116, 1988 ) For example, such activities can be determined by hydrolysis of phosphoric acid-swollen cellulose and/or soluble oligosaccharides followed by quantification of the reducing sugars released. In this case the soluble sugar products, released by the action of CBH or EG catalytic domains or derivatives thereof, can be detected by HPLC analysis or by use of colorimetric assays for measuring reducing sugars. It is expected that these catalytic domains or derivatives thereof will retain at least 10% of the activity exhibited by the intact enzyme when each is assayed under similar conditions and dosed based on similar amounts of catalytic domain protein.

The term "cellulose binding domain activity" refers herein to an amino acid sequence of the cellulase comprising the binding domain of cellobiohydrolases and endoglucanases, for example, EGI, EGII, CBHI or CHBII or a derivative thereof that non-covalently binds to a polysaccharide such as cellulose. It is believed that cellulose binding domains (CBDs) function independently from the catalytic core of the cellulase enzyme to attach the protein to cellulose.

The performance (or activity) of the truncated binding domain or derivatives thereof as described in the present invention may be determined by cellulose binding assays using a cellulosic substrates such as avicel, pulp or cotton, for example. It is expected that these novel truncated binding domains or derivatives thereof will retain at least 10% of the binding affinity compared to that exhibited by the intact enzyme when each is assayed under similar conditions and dosed based on similar amounts of binding domain protein. The amount of non-bound binding domain may be quantified by direct protein analysis, by chromatographic methods, or possibly by immunological methods.

Other methods well known in the art that measure cellulase catalytic and/or binding activity via the physical or chemical properties of particular treated substrates may also be suitable in the present invention. For example, for methods that measure physical properties of a treated substrate, the substrate is analyzed for modification of shape, texture, surface, or structional properties, modification of the "wet" ability, e.g. substrates ability to absorb water, or modification of swelling. Other parameters which may determine activity include the measuring of the change in the chemical properties of treated solid substrates. For example, the diffusion properties of dyes or chemicals may be examined after treatment of solid substrate with the truncated cellulase binding protein or derivatives thereof described in the present invention. Appropriate substrates for evaluating activity include Avicel, rayon, pulp fibers, cotton or ramie fibers, paper, kraft or ground wood pulp, for example. (See also Wood, T.M. et al in "Methods in Enzymology", Vol. 160, Editors: Wood, W.A. and Kellogg, S.T., Academic Press, pp. 87-116, 1988 )

The term "linker or hinge region" refers to the short peptide region that links together the two distinct functional domains of the fungal cellulases, i.e., the core domain and the binding domain. These domains in T. longibrachiatum cellulases are linked by a peptide rich in Ser Thr and Pro.

A "signal sequence" refers to any sequence of amino acids bound to the N-terminal portion of a protein which facilitates the secretion of the mature form of the protein outside of the cell. This definition of a signal sequence is a functional one. The mature form of the extracellular protein lacks the signal sequence which is cleaved off during the secretion process.

The term "variant" refers to a DNA fragment encoding the CBH or EG core or binding domain that may further contain an addition of one or more nucleotides internally or at the 5' or 3' end of the DNA fragment, a deletion of one or more nucleotides internally or at the 5' or 3' end of the DNA fragment or a substitution of one or moere nucleotides internally or at the 5' or 3' end of the DNA fragment wherein the functional activity of the binding and core domains that encode for a truncated cellulase is retained.

A variant DNA fragment comprising the core or binding domain is further intended to indicate that a linker or hinge DNA sequence or portion thereof may be attached to the core or binding domain DNA sequence at either the 5' or 3' end wherein the functional activity of the encoded truncated binding or core domain protein (derivative) is retained.

The term "host cell" means both the cells and protoplasts created from the cells of Trichoderma sp.

The term "DNA construct or vector" (used interchangeably herein) refers to a vector which comprises one or more DNA fragments or DNA variant fragments encoding any one of the novel truncated cellulases or derivatives described above.

The term "functionally attached to" means that a regulatory region, such as a promoter, terminator, secretion signal or enhancer region is attached to a structural gene and controls the expression of that gene.

The present invention relates to truncated cellulases, derivatives of truncated cellulases and covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives that are prepared by recombinant methods by transforming into a host cell, a DNA construct comprising at least a fragment of DNA encoding a portion or all of the binding or core region of the cellobiohydrolases or endoglucanases, for example, EGI, EGII, EGIII, EGV, CBHI or CBHII functionally attached to a promoter, growing the host cell to express the truncated cellulase, derivative truncated cellulase or covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives of interest and subsequently purifying the truncated cellulase, or derivative thereof to substantial homogeneity.

It is further contemplated by the present invention that one may generate novel derivatives of cellulase enzymes which, for instance, combine a core region derived from a truncated endoglucanase or exocellobiohydrolase of the present invention with a cellulose-binding domain derived from another cellulase enzyme from multiple microbial sources such as fungal and bacterial. Alternatively, it may be possible to combine a core region derived from another cellulase enzyme with a cellulose-binding domains derived from a truncated endoglucanase or exocellobiohydralase of the present invention. In a particular embodiment, the core region may be derived from a cellulase enzyme which does not in nature comprise a cellulose-binding domain, for example, EGIII (Figure 5 and SEQ ID Nos. 33 and 34), and which is N- or C-terminally extended with a truncated cellulase or derivative thereof comprising a cellulose-binding domain described herein. In this way, it may be possible to construct novel cellulase enzymes with altered cellulose binding properties compared to natural intact cellulases.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, it is contemplated that truncated cellulases or derivatives thereof of the present invention may be further attached to each other and/or to intact proteins and/or enzymes and/or portions thereof, for example, hemicellulases, immunoglobulins, and/or binding or core domains from non Trichoderma cellulases, and/or from non-cellulase enzymes using the recombinant methods described herein to form novel covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives. These covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives constructed in this manner may provide even further benefits over the truncated cellulases or derivatives thereof disclosed in the present invention. It is contemplated that these covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives which contain other enzymes, proteins or portions thereof may exhibit bifunctional activity and/or bifunctional binding.

In yet a further aspect, the present invention relates to a method of producing a truncated cellulase or derivative thereof which method comprises cultivating a host cell as described above under conditions such that production of the truncated cellulase or derivative thereof is effected and recovering the truncated cellulase or derivative from the cells or culture medium.

Highly enriched truncated cellulases are prepared in the present invention by genetically modifying microorganisms described in further detail below. Transformed microorganism cultures are grown to stationary phase, filtered to remove the cells and the remaining supernatant is concentrated by ultrafiltration to obtain a truncated cellulase or a derivative thereof.

In a particular aspect of the above method, the medium used to cultivate the transformed host cells may be any medium suitable for cellulase production in Trichoderma. The truncated cellulases or derivatives thereof are recovered from the medium by conventional techniques including separations of the cells from the medium by centrifugation, or filtration, precipitation of the proteins in the supernatant or filtrate with salt, for example, ammonium sulphate, followed by chromatography procedures such as ion exchange chromatography, affinity chromatography and the like.

Alternatively, the final protein product may be isolated and purified by binding to a polysaccharide substrate or antibody matrix. The antibodies (polyclonal or monoclonal) may be raised against cellulase core or binding domain peptides, or synthetic peptides may be prepared from portions of the core domain or binding domain and used to raise polyclonal antibodies.

In a general embodiment of the present method, one or more functionally active truncated cellulases or derivatives thereof is expressed in a Trichoderma host cell transformed with a DNA vector comprising one or more DNA fragments or variant fragments encoding truncated cellulases, derivatives thereof or covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivative proteins. The Trichoderma host cell may or may not have been previously manipulated through genetic engineering to remove any host genes that encode intact cellulases.

In a particular embodiment, truncated cellulases, derivatives thereof or covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives are expressed in transformed Trichoderma cells in which genes have not been deleted therefrom. The truncated proteins listed above are recovered and separated from intact cellulases expressed simultaneously in the host cells by conventional procedures discussed above including sizing chromatography. Confirmation of expression of truncated cellulases or derivatives is determined by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western immunoblot analysis to distinguish truncated from intact cellulase proteins.

In a preferred embodiment, the present invention relates to a method for transforming a Trichoderma sp host cell that is missing one or more cellulase activities and treating the cell using recombinant DNA techniques well known in the art with one or more DNA fragments encoding a truncated cellulase, derivative thereof or covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives. It is contemplated that the DNA fragment encoding a derivative truncated cellulase core or binding domain may be altered such as by deletions, insertions or substitutions within the gene to produce a variant DNA that encodes for an active truncated cellulase derivative.

It is further contemplated by the present invention that the DNA fragment or DNA variant fragment encoding the truncated cellulase or derivative may be functionally attached to a fungal promoter sequence, for example, the promoter of the cbh1 or egl1 gene.

Also contemplated by the present invention is manipulation of the Trichoderma sp. strain via transformation such that a DNA fragment encoding a truncated cellulase or derivative thereof is inserted within the genome. It is also contemplated that more than one copy of a truncated cellulase DNA fragment or DNA variant fragment may be recombined into the strain.

A selectable marker must first be chosen so as to enable detection of the transformed fungus. Any selectable marker gene which is expressed in Trichoderma sp. can be used in the present invention so that its presence in the transformants will not materially affect the properties thereof. The selectable marker can be a gene which encodes an assayable product. The selectable marker may be a functional copy of a Trichoderma sp gene which if lacking in the host strain results in the host strain displaying an auxotrophic phenotype.

The host strains used could be derivatives of Trichoderma sp which lack or have a nonfunctional gene or genes corresponding to the selectable marker chosen. For example, if the selectable marker of pyr4 is chosen, then a specific pyr derivative strain is used as a recipient in the transformation procedure. Other examples of selectable markers that can be used in the present invention include the Trichoderma sp. genes equivalent to the Aspergillus nidulans genes argB, trpC, niaD and the like. The corresponding recipient strain must therefore be a derivative strain such as argB - , trpC - , niaD - , and the like.

The strain is derived from a starting host strain which is any Trichoderma sp. strain. However, it is preferable to use a T. longibrachiatum cellulase over-producing strain such as RL-P37, described by Sheir-Neiss et al. in Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnology, 20 (1984) pp. 46-53 , since this strain secretes elevated amounts of cellulase enzymes. This strain is then used to produce the derivative strains used in the transformation process.

The derivative strain of Trichoderma sp. can be prepared by a number of techniques known in the art. An example is the production of pyr4 - derivative strains by subjecting the strains to fluoroorotic acid (FOA). The pyr4 gene encodes orotidine-5'-monophosphate decarboxylase, an enzyme required for the biosynthesis of uridine. Strains with an intact pyr4 gene grow in a medium lacking uridine but are sensitive to fluoroorotic acid. It is possible to select pyr4 - derivative strains which lack a functional orotidine monophosphate decarboxylase enzyme and require uridine for growth by selecting for FOA resistance. Using the FOA selection technique it is also possible to obtain uridine requiring strains which lack a functional orotate pyrophosphoribosyl transferase. It is possible to transform these cells with a functional copy of the gene encoding this enzyme ( Berges and Barreau, 1991, Curr. Genet. 19 pp359-365 ). Since it is easy to select derivative strains using the FOA resistance technique in the present invention, it is preferable to use the pyr4 gene as a selectable marker.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, Trichoderma host cell strains have been deleted of one or more cellulase genes prior to introduction of a DNA construct or plasmid containing the DNA fragment encoding the truncated cellulase protein of interest. It is preferable to express a truncated cellulase, derivative thereof or covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives in a host that is missing one or more cellulase genes in order to simplify the identification and subsequent purification procedures. Any gene from Trichoderma sp. which has been cloned can be deleted such as cbh1, cbh2, egl1, egl3, and the like. The plasmid for gene deletion is selected such that unique restriction enzyme sites are present therein to enable the fragment of homologous Trichoderma sp. DNA to be removed as a single linear piece.

The desired gene that is to be deleted from the transformant is inserted into the plasmid by methods known in the art. The plasmid containing the gene to be deleted or disrupted is then cut at appropriate restriction enzyme site(s), internal to the coding region, the gene coding sequence or part thereof may be removed therefrom and the selectable marker inserted. Flanking DNA sequences from the locus of the gene to be deleted or disrupted, preferably between about 0.5 to 2.0 kb, remain on either side of the selectable marker gene.

A single DNA fragment containing the deletion construct is then isolated from the plasmid and used to transform the appropriate pyr - Trichoderma host. Transformants are selected based on their ability to express the pyr4 gene product and thus compliment the uridine auxotrophy of the host strain. Southern blot analysis is then carried out on the resultant transformants to identify and confirm a double cross over integration event which replaces part or all of the coding region of the gene to be deleted with the pyr4 selectable markers.

Although specific plasmid vectors are described above, the present invention is not limited to the production of these vectors. Various genes can be deleted and replaced in the Trichoderma sp. strain using the above techniques. Any available selectable markers can be used, as discussed above. Potentially any Trichoderma sp. gene which has been cloned, and thus identified, can be deleted from the genome using the above-described strategy. All of these variations are included within the present invention.

The expression vector of the present invention carrying the inserted DNA fragment or variant DNA fragment encoding the truncated cellulase or derivative thereof of the present invention may be any vector which is capable of replicating autonomously in a given host organism, typically a plasmid. In preferred embodiments two types of expression vectors for obtaining expression of genes or truncations thereof are contemplated. The first contains DNA sequences in which the promoter, gene coding region, and terminator sequence all originate from the gene to be expressed. The gene truncation is obtained by deleting away the undesired DNA sequences (coding for unwanted domains) to leave the domain to be expressed under control of its own transcriptional and translational regulatory sequences. A selectable marker is also contained on the vector allowing the selection for integration into the host of multiple copies of the novel gene sequences.

For example, pEGI&Dgr;3'pyr contains the EGI cellulase core domain under the control of the EGI promoter, terminator, and signal sequences. The 3' end on the EGI coding region containing the cellulose binding domain has been deleted. The plasmid also contains the pyr4 gene for the purpose of selection.

The second type of expression vector is preassembled and contains sequences required for high level transcription and a selectable marker. It is contemplated that the coding region for a gene or part thereof can be inserted into this general purpose expression vector such that it is under the transcriptional control of the expression cassettes promoter and terminator sequences.

For example, pTEX is such a general purpose expression vector. Genes or part thereof can be inserted downstream of the strong CBHI promoter. The Examples disclosed herein are included in which cellulase catalytic core and binding domains are shown to be expressed using this system.

In the vector, the DNA sequence encoding the truncated cellulase or other novel proteins of the present invention should be operably linked to transcriptional and translational sequences, i.e., a suitable promoter sequence and signal sequence in reading frame to the structural gene. The promoter may be any DNA sequence which shows transcriptional activity in the host cell and may be derived from genes encoding proteins either homologous or heterologous to the host cell. The signal peptide provides for extracellular expression of the truncated cellulase or derivatives thereof. The DNA signal sequence is preferably the signal sequence naturally associated with the truncated gene to be expressed, however the signal sequence from any cellobiohydrolases or endoglucanase is contemplated in the present invention.

The procedures used to ligate the DNA sequences coding for the truncated cellulases, derivatives thereof or other novel cellulases of the present invention with the promoter, and insertion into suitable vectors containing the necessary information for replication in the host cell are well known in the art.

The DNA vector or construct described above may be introduced in the host cell in accordance with known techniques such as transformation, transfection, microinjection, microporation, biolistic bombardment and the like.

In the preferred transformation technique, it must be taken into account that since the permeability of the cell wall in Trichoderma sp. is very low, uptake of the desired DNA sequence, gene or gene fragment is at best minimal. There are a number of methods to increase the permeability of the Trichoderma sp. cell wall in the derivative strain (i.e., lacking a functional gene corresponding to the used selectable marker) prior to the transformation process.

The preferred method in the present invention to prepare Trichoderma sp. for transformation involves the preparation of protoplasts from fungal mycelium. The mycelium can be obtained from germinated vegetative spores. The mycelium is treated with an enzyme which digests the cell wall resulting in protoplasts. The protoplasts are then protected by the presence of an osmotic stabilizer in the suspending medium. These stabilizers include sorbitol, mannitol, potassium chloride, magnesium sulfate and the like. Usually the concentration of these stabilizers varies between 0.8 M to 1.2 M. It is preferable to use about a 1.2 M solution of sorbitol in the suspension medium.

Uptake of the DNA into the host Trichoderma sp. strain is dependent upon the calcium ion concentration. Generally between about 10 Mm CaCl2 and 50 Mm CaCl2 is used in an uptake solution. Besides the need for the calcium ion in the uptake solution, other items generally included are a buffering system such as TE buffer (10 Mm Tris, Ph 7.4; 1 Mm EDTA) or 10 Mm MOPS, Ph 6.0 buffer (morpholinepropanesulfonic acid) and polyethylene glycol (PEG). It is believed that the polyethylene glycol acts to fuse the cell membranes thus permitting the contents of the medium to be delivered into the cytoplasm of the Trichoderma sp. strain and the plasmid DNA is transferred to the nucleus. This fusion frequently leaves multiple copies of the plasmid DNA tandemly integrated into the host chromosome.

Usually a suspension containing the Trichoderma sp. protoplasts or cells that have been subjected to a permeability treatment at a density of 108 to 109/ml, preferably 2 x 108/ml are used in transformation. These protoplasts or cells are added to the uptake solution, along with the desired linearized selectable marker having substantially homologous flanking regions on either side of said marker to form a transformation mixture. Generally a high concentration of PEG is added to the uptake solution. From 0.1 to 1 volume of 25% PEG 4000 can be added to the protoplast suspension. However, it is preferable to add about 0.25 volumes to the protoplast suspension. Additives such as dimethyl sulfoxide, heparin, spermidine, potassium chloride and the like may also be added to the uptake solution and aid in transformation.

Generally, the mixture is then incubated at approximately 0°C for a period between 10 to 30 minutes. Additional PEG is then added to the mixture to further enhance the uptake of the desired gene or DNA sequence. The 25% PEG 4000 is generally added in volumes of 5 to 15 times the volume of the transformation mixture; however, greater and lesser volumes may be suitable. The 25% PEG 4000 is preferably about 10 times the volume of the transformation mixture. After the PEG is added, the transformation mixture is then incubated at room temperature before the addition of a sorbitol and CaCl2 solution. The protoplast suspension is then further added to molten aliquots of a growth medium. This growth medium permits the growth of transformants only. Any growth medium can be used in the present invention that is suitable to grow the desired transformants. However, if Pyr + transformants are being selected it is preferable to use a growth medium that contains no uridine. The subsequent colonies are transferred and purified on a growth medium depleted of uridine.

At this stage, stable transformants were distinguished from unstable transformants by their faster growth rate and the formation of circular colonies with a smooth, rather than ragged outline on solid culture medium lacking uridine. Additionally, in some cases a further test of stability was made by growing the transformants on solid non-selective medium (i.e. containing uridine), harvesting spores from this culture medium and determining the percentage of these spores which will subsequently germinate and grow on selective medium lacking uridine.

In a particular embodiment of the above method, the truncated cellulases or derivatives thereof are recovered in active form from the host cell either as a result of the appropriate post translational processing of the novel truncated cellulase or derivative thereof.

The present invention further relates to DNA gene fragments or variant DNA fragments derived from Trichoderma sp. that code for the truncated cellulase proteins or truncated cellulase protein derivatives, respectively. The DNA gene fragment or variant DNA fragment of the present invention codes for the core or binding domains of a Trichoderma sp. cellulase or derivative thereof that additionally retains the functional activity of the truncated core or binding domain, respectively. Moreover, the DNA fragment or variant thereof comprisng the sequence of the core or binding domain regions may additionally have attached thereto a linker, or hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof wherein the encoded truncated cellulase still retains either cellulase core or binding domain activity, respectively. Furthermore, it is contemplated that additional DNA sequences that encode other proteins or enzymes of interest may be attached to the truncated DNA gene fragment or variant DNA fragment such that by following the above method of construction of vectors and expression of proteins, truncated cellulases or derivatives thereof fused to intact enzymes or proteins may be recovered. The expressed truncated cellulase fused to enzyme or protein would still retain active cellulase binding or core activity, depending on the truncated cellulase chosen to complex with the enzyme/protein.

The use of the cellulose binding domains and cellulase catalytic core domains or derivatives thereof versus using the intact cellulase enzyme may be of benefit in multiple applications. Therefore, a further aspect of the present invention is to provide methods that employ novel truncated cellulases or derivatives of truncated cellulases which provide additional benefits to the applied substrate as compared to intact cellulases. Such applications include stonewashing or biopolishing where it is contemplated that dye/colorant/pigment backstraining or redeposition can be reduced or eliminated by employing novel truncated cellulase enzymes which have been modified so as to be devoid of a cellulose binding domain or to possess a binding domain with significantly lower affinity for cellulose, for example. In addition, it is contemplated that activity on certain substrates of interest in the textile, detergent, pulp & paper, animal feed, food, biomass industries, for example, can be significantly enhanced or diminished if the binding domain is removed or modified so as to reduce the binding affinity of the enzyme for cellulose. Also, the use of a truncated cellulase or derivative thereof described in the present invention which comprises a functional binding domain fragment, devoid of a catalytic domain or a functioning catalytic domain, may be of benefit in applications where only selected modification of the cellulosic substrate is desired. Properties which could be modified include, for example, hydration, swelling, dye diffusion and uptake, hand, friction, softness, cleaning, and/or surface or structural modification.

It is further contemplated that expression and use of some catalytic domains of cellulase enzymes would provide improved recoverability of enzyme, selectivity where lower activity on more crystalline substrate is desired or selectivity where high activity on amorphous/soluble substrate is desired.

Furthermore, catalytic domains of cellulase enzymes may be useful to enhance synergy with other cellulase components, cellulase or non-cellulase domains, and/or other enzymes or portions thereof on cellulosics cellulose containing materials in applications such as biomass conversion, cleaning, stonewashing, biopolishing of textiles, softening, pulp/paper processing, animal feed utilization, plant protection and pest control, starch processing, or production of pharmaceutical intermediates, disaccharides, or oligosaccharides.

Moreover, uses of cellulase catalytic core domains or derivatives thereof may reduce some of the detrimental properties associated with the intact enzyme on cellulosics such as pulps, cotton or other fibers, or paper. Properties of interest include fiber/fabric strength loss, fiber/fabric weight loss, lint generation, and fibrillation damage.

It is further contemplated that cellulase catalytic core domains may exhibit less fiber roughing or reduced colorant redeposition/backstaining. Furthermore, these truncated catalytic core cellulases or derivatives thereof may offer an option for improved recovery/recycling of these novel cellulases.

Additionally, it is contemplated that the cellulase catalytic core domains or derivatives thereof in the present invention may contain selective activity advantages where hydrolysis of the soluble or more amorphous cellulosic regions of the substrate is desired but hydrolysis of the more crystalline region is not. This may be of importance in applications such as bioconversion where selective modification of the grain/fibers/plant materials is of interest.

Yet another aspect for applying the novel cellulase catalytic core domains or derivatives is in the generation of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). Furthermore, it is contemplated that the MCC will contain less bound enzyme or that the bound enzyme may be more easibly removed.

It is further contemplated that novel covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives described above may have application in controlling the access of an enzyme or modified enzyme to a substrate. This may include controlling the access of proteases to wool or other materials which contain protease substrates, or controlling the access of cellulose to cellulosics, for example.

Finally, it is contemplated that novel truncated cellulases or derivatives thereof may be applied in unique mono-, dual, or multienzyme systems. As examples this may include linking cellulase domains with each other and/or with one or more protease, cellulase, lipase, and/or amylase enzymes. The enzymes or cellulase domains may be fused with a linker region in between. This linker region may be a peptide of no functional benefit or may contain the cellulose binding domain peptide or a peptide with high affinity for other substrates or substances, such as wool, xylan, mannan, resins, lignins, dyes, colorants, pigments, waxes, plastics, carbohydrate polymers, lipids, amino acid polymers, synthetic polymers, for example.

It is contemplated that novel cellulase domains or derivatives thereof of the present invention may provide some performance properties similar to or in excess of the intact enzyme. The novel truncated cellulases may provide these properties alone or may show synergistic benefits with cellulases or cellulase cores, other enzymes (for example, lipases, proteases, amylases, xylanases, peroxidases, reductases, esterases), other proteins or chemicals. These properties may include roughening or smoothening of the cellulosic surface, modification of the cellulosics for improved response to other enzymes such as in cleaning or pulp processing, animal feed utilization or for improved biochemical/chemical uptake by cellulosics (including plant cell walls).

It is yet further contemplated that truncated cellulase binding domains, derivatives thereof or truncated covalently linked cellulase domain derivatives in the present invention may provide enhanced or synergistic activity on cellulosics with endoglucanases and/or exocellobiohydrolases, modified cellulases or complete cellulase systems. They may also provide adhesive properties in linking cellulosic materials.

Moreover, it is contemplated that novel truncated cellulase binding domains or derivatives or the covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives thereof may find application as new ligands for purification purposes, as reagents or ligands for modification of cellulosics, or other polymers, for example, linking colorants, dyes, inks, finishers, resins, chemicals, biochemicals or proteins to cellulosics. These materials can be removed at any stage, if desired, with proteases or other chemical methods. In addition, it is contemplated that the novel truncated cellulase binding domains or covalently linked truncated cellulose domain derivatives may be used in detection and analysis of trace levels of substances, for example, the truncated domains and derivatives as well as the covalently linked truncated cellulase domain derivatives may contain proteins or chemicals which react with or bind to a substance causing it visualization e.g., dye.

Finally, it is contemplated that novel truncated binding or core domain cellulases or derivatives thereof may be complexed or fused to intact cellulases, other cellulase core or binding domains or other enzymes/proteins to improve stability, or other performance properties such as modification of pH or temperature activity profiles.

All publications and patent applications mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated by reference.

In order to further illustrate the present invention and advantages thereof, the following specific examples are given with the understanding that they are being offered to illustrate the present invention and should not be construed in any way as limiting its scope.

EXAMPLES Example 1.

Cloning and Expression of EG1 Core Domain Using its Own Promoter, Terminator and Signal Sequence.

Part 1. Cloning.

The complete egl1 gene used in the construction of the EG1 core domain expression plasmid, PEG1&Dgr;3'pyr, was obtained from the plasmid PUC218::EG1. (See FIG.6.) The 3' terminator region of egl1 was ligated into PUC218 ( Korman, D. et al Curr Genet 17:203-212, 1990 ) as a 300 bp BsmI-EcoRI fragment along with a synthetic linker designed to replace the 3' intron and cellulose binding domain with a stop codon and continue with the egl1 terminator sequences. The resultant plasmid, PEG1T, was digested with HindIII and BsmI and the vector fragment was isolated from the digest by agarose gel electrophoresis followed by electroelution. The egl1 gene promoter sequence and core domain of egl1 were isolated from PUC218::EG1 as a 2.3kb HindIII-SstI fragment and ligated with the same synthetic linker fragment and the HindIII-BsmI digested PEG1T to form PEG1&Dgr;3'

The net result of these operations is to replace the 3' intron and cellulose binding domain of egl1 with synthetic oligonucleotides of 53 and 55bp. These place a TAG stop codon after serine 415 and thereafter continued with the egl1 terminator up to the BsmI site.

Next, the T. longibrachiatum selectable marker, pyr4, was obtained from a previous clone p219M (Smith et al 1991), as an isolated 1.6kb EcoRI-HindIII fragment. This was incorporated into the final expression plasmid, PEG1&Dgr;3'pyr, in a three way ligation with PUC18 plasmid digested with EcoRI and dephosphorylated using calf alkaline phosphatase and a HindIII-EcoRI fragment containing the egl1 core domain from PEG1&Dgr;3'.

Part 2. Transformation and Expression.

A large scale DNA prep was made of PEG1&Dgr;3'pyr and from this the EcoRI fragment containing the egl1 core domain and pyr4 gene was isolated by preparative gel electrophoresis. The isolated fragment was transformed into the uridine auxotroph version of the quad deleted strain, 1A52 pyr13 (described in U.S. Patent Application Serial Nos. 07/770,049 , 08/048,728 and 08/048,881 , incorporated by reference in its entirety herein), and stable transformants were identified.

To select which transformants expressed egl1 core domain the transformants were grown up in shake flasks under conditions that favored induction of the cellulase genes (Vogels + 1% lactose). After 4-5 days of growth, protein from the supernatants was concentrated and either 1) run on SDS polyacrylamide gels prior to detection of the egl1 core domain by Western analysis using EGI polyclonal antibodies or 2) the concentrated supernatants were assayed directly using RBB carboxy methyl cellulose as an endoglucanase specific substrate and the results compared to the parental strain 1A52 as a control. Transformant candidates were identified as possibly producing a truncated EGI core domain protein. Genomic DNA and total MRNA was isolated from these strains following growth on Vogels + 1% lactose and Southern and Northern blot experiments performed using an isolated DNA fragment containing only the egl1 core domain. These experiments demonstrated that transformants could be isolated having a copy of the egl1 core domain expression cassette integrated into the genome of 1A52 and that these same transformants produced egl1 core domain MRNA.

One transformant was then grown using media suitable for cellulase production in Trichoderma well known in the art that was supplemented with lactose ( Warzymoda, M. et al 1984 French Patent No. 2555603 ) in a 14L fermentor. The resultant broth was concentrated and the proteins contained therein were separated by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and the Egl1 core domain protein identified by Western analysis. (See Example 3 below). It was subsequently estimated that the protein concentration of the fermentation supernatant was about 5-6 g/L of which approximately 1.7-4.4g/L was EGI core domain based on CMCase activity. This value is based on an average of several EGI core fermentations that were performed.

In a similar manner, any other cellulase domain or derivative thereof may be produced by procedures similar to those discussed above.

Example 2.

Purification of EGI and EGII catalytic cores

Part 1. EGI catalytic core

The EGI core was purified in the following manner. The concentrated (UF) broth was filtered using diatomaceous earth and ammonium sulfate was added to the broth to a final concentration of 1M (NH4)2S04. This was then loaded onto a hydrophobic column (phenyl-sepharose fast flow, Pharmacia, cat # 17-0965-02) and eluted with a salt gradient from 1M to OM (NH4)2SO4. The fractions which contained the EGI core were then pooled and exchanged into 10 mM TES pH 7.5. This solution was then loaded onto an anion exchange column (Q-sepharose fast flow, Pharmacia Cat # 17-0510-01) and eluted in a gradient from 0 to 1M NaC1 in 10 mM TES pH 7.5. The most pure fractions were desalted into 10 mM TES pH 7.5 and loaded onto a MONO Q column. The EGI core elution was carried out with a gradient from 0 to 1M NaCl. The resulting fractions were greater than 85% pure. The most pure fraction was sequence verified to be the EGI core.

Part 2. EGII catalytic core

It is contemplated that the purification of the EGII catalytic core is similar to that of EGII cellulase because of its similar biochemical properties. The theoretical pI of the EGII core is less than a half a pH unit lower than that of EGII. Also, EGII core is approximately 80% of the molecular weight of EGII. Therefore, the following purification protocol is based on the purification of EGII. The method may involve filtering the UF concentrated broth through diatomaceous earth and adding (NH4)2S04 to bring the solution to 1M (NH4)2S04. This solution may then be loaded onto a hydrophobic column (phenyl-sepharose fast flow, Pharmacia, cat #17-0965-02) and the EGII may be step eluted with 0.15 M (NH4)2S04. The fractions containing the EGII core may then be buffer exchanged into citrate-phosphate pH 7, 0.18 m0hm. This material may then be loaded onto a anion exchange column (Q-sepharose fast flow, Pharmacia, cat. #17-0510-01) equilibrated in the above citrate-phosphate buffer. It is expected that EGII core will not bind to the column and thus be collected in the flow through.

Example 3.

Cloning and Expression of CBHII Core Domain Using the CBHI Promoter, Terminator and Signal Sequence from CBHII.

Part 1. Construction of the T.longibrachiatum general-purpose expression plasmid-PTEX.

The plasmid, PTEX was constructed following the methods of Sambrook et al. (1989), supra, and is illustrated in FIG. 7. This plasmid has been designed as a multi-purpose expression vector for use in the filamentous fungus Trichoderma longibrachiatum. The expression cassette has several unique features that make it useful for this function. Transcription is regulated using the strong CBH I gene promoter and terminator sequences for T. longibrachiatum. Between the CBHI promoter and terminator there are unique PmeI and SstI restriction sites that are used to insert the gene to be expressed. The T. longibrachiatum pyr4 selectable marker gene has been inserted into the CBHI terminator and the whole expression cassette (CBHI promoter-insertion sites-CBHI terminator-pyr4 gene-CBHI terminator) can be excised utilizing the unique NotI restriction site or the unique NotI and NheI restriction sites.

This vector is based on the bacterial vector, pSL1180 (Pharmacia Inc., Piscataway, New Jersey), which is a PUC-type vector with an extended multiple cloning site. One skilled in the art would be able to construct this vector based on the flow diagram illustrated in FIG 7. (See also U.S. patent application 07/954,113 for the construction of PTEX expression plasmid.)

It would be possible to construct plasmids similar to PTEX-truncated cellulases or derivatives thereof described in the present invention containing any other piece of DNA sequence replacing the truncated cellulase gene.

Part 2. cloning.

The complete cbh2 gene used in the construction of the CBHII core domain expression plasmid, PTEX CBHII core, was obtained from the plasmid PUC219::CBHII ( Korman, D. et al, 1990, Curr Genet 17:203-212 ). The cellulose binding domain, positioned at the 5' end of the cbh2 gene, is conveniently located between an XbaI and SnaBI restriction sites. In order to utilize the XbaI site an additional XbaI site in the polylinker was destroyed. PUC219::CBHII was partially digested with XbaI such that the majority of the product was linear. The XbaI overhangs were filled in using T4 DNA polymerase and ligated together under conditions favoring self ligation of the plasmid. This has the effect of destroying the blunted site which, in 50% of the plasmids, was the XbaI site in the polylinker. Such a plasmid was identified and digested with XbaI and SnaBI to release the cellulose binding domain. The vector-CBHII core domain was isolated and ligated with the following synthetic oligonucleotides designed to join the XbaI site with the SnaBI site at the signal peptidase cleavage site and papain cleavage point in the linker domain.

The resultant plasmid, pUC&Dgr;CBD CBHII, was digested with NheI and the ends blunted by incubation with T4 DNA polymerase and dNTPs. After which the linear blunted plasmid DNA was digested with BglII and the Nhe (blunt) BglII fragment containing the CBHII signal sequence and core domain was isolated.

The final expression plasmid was engineered by digesting the general purpose expression plasmid, pTEX (disclosed in 07/954,113, incorporated in its entirety by references, and described in Part 3 below), with SstII and PmeI and ligating the CBHII NheI (blunt)-BglII fragment downstream of the cbh1 promoter using a synthetic oligonucleotide having the sequence CGCTAG to fill in the BglII overhang with the SstII overhang.

The pTEX-CBHI core expression plasmid was prepared in a similar manner as pTEX-CBHII core described in the above example. Its construction is exemplified in Figure 8.

Part 3. Transformation and Expression.

A large scale DNA prep was made of pTEX CBHIIcore and from this the NotI fragment containing the CBHII core domain under the control of the cbh1 transcriptional elements and pyr4 gene was isolated by preparative gel electrophoresis. The isolated fragment was transformed into the uridine auxotroph version of the quad deleted strain, 1A52 pyr13, and stable transformants were identified.

To select which transformants expressed cbh2 core domain genomic DNA was isolated from strains following growth on Vogels + 1% glucose and Southern blot experiments performed using an isolated DNA fragment containing only the cbh2 core domain. Transformants were isolated having a copy of the cbh2 core domain expression cassette integrated into the genome of 1A52. Total mRNA was isolated from the two strains following growth for 1 day on Vogels + 1% lactose. The mRNA was subjected to Northern analysis using the cbh2 coding region as a probe. Transformants expressing cbh2 core domain mRNA were identified.

Two transformants were grown under the same conditions as previously described in Example 1 in 14L fermentors. The resultant broth was concentrated and the proteins contained therein were separated by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and the CBHII core domain protein identified by Western analysis. One transformant, #15, produced a protein of the correct size and reactivity to CBHII polyclonal antibodies.

It was subsequently estimated that the protein concentration of the fermentation supernatant after purification was 10g/L of which 30-50% was CBHII core domain (See Example 4).

One may obtain any other novel truncated cellulase core domain protein or derivative thereof by employing the methods described above.

Example 4.

Purification of CBHI and CBHII catalytic cores

Part 1. CBHI catalytic core.

The CBHI core was purified from broth obtained from T. longibrachiatum harboring pTEX-CBHI core expression vector in the following manner. The CBHI core ultrafiltered (UF) broth was filtered using diatomaceous earth and diluted in 10 mM TES pH 6.8 to a conductivity of 1.5 mOhm. The diluted CBHI core was then loaded onto an anion exchange column (Q-Sepharose fast flow, Pharmacia cat # 17-0510-01) equilibrated in 10 mM TES pH 6.8 The CBHI core was separated from the majority of the other proteins in the broth using a gradient elution in 10 mM TES pH 6.8 from 0 to 1M NaCl. The fractions containing the CBHI core were then concentrated on an Amicon stirred cell concentrator with a PM 10 membrane (diaflo ultra filtration membranes, Amicon Cat # 13132MEM 5468A). This step concentrated the core as well as separated it from lower molecular weight proteins. The resulting fractions were greater than 85% pure CBHI core. The purest fraction was sequence verified to be the CBHI core.

Part 2. CBHII catalytic core.

It is predicted that CBHII catalytic core will purify in a manner similar to that of CBHII cellulase because of its similar biochemical properties. The theoretical pI of the CBHII core is less than half a pH unit lower than that of CBHII. Additionally, CBHII catalytic core is approximately 80% of the molecular weight of CBHII. Therefore, the following proposed purification protocol is based on the purification method used for CBHII. The diatomaceous earth treated, ultra filtered (UF) CBHII core broth is diluted into 10 mM TES pH 6.8 to a conductivity of <0.7 mOhm. The diluted CBHII core is then loaded onto an anion exchange column (Q-Sepharose fast flow, Pharmacia, cat # 17 0510-01) equilibrated in 10 mM TES pH 6.8. A salt gradient from 0 to 1M NaCl in 10 mM TES pH 6.8 is used to elute the CBHII core off the column. The fractions which contain the CBHII core is then buffer exchanged into 2mM sodium succinate buffer and loaded onto a cation exchange column (SP-sephadex C-50). The CBHII core is next eluted from the column with a salt gradient from 0 to 100mM NaC1.

Example 5.

Cloning and Expression of CBHII Cellulose Binding Domain Using the CBHI Promoter.

Part 1. Cloning.

The complete cbh2 gene used in the construction of the CBHII core domain expression plasmid, pTEX CBHIIcore, was obtained from the plasmid pUC219::CBHII. The cellulose binding domain, positioned at the 5' end of the cbh2 gene, was obtained by digestion of PUC219::CBHII with BglII and NsiI and isolating the 450bp BglII-NsiI restriction fragment. The final expression plasmid, PTEX CBHII CBD was engineered by digesting the general purpose expression plasmid, PTEX (described in 07/954,113 and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety), with SstII and PmeI and ligating the CBHII CBD BglII-NsiI fragment downstream of the cbh1 promoter using a synthetic oligonucleotide having the sequence 3' CGCTAG 5' to fill in the BglII overhang with the SstII overhang and the following synthetic linker to link the NsiI site with the blunt PmeI site of pTEX. (See FIG 9).

When the final expression plasmid, pTEX CBHII CBD, was sequenced across the linker junctions it was discovered that the sticky NsiI site had ligated directly to the blunt PmeI site in pTEX. This means that the reading frame of the CBHII CBD continues on through the PmeI linker and into the cbh1 terminator for a further 12 amino acids as follows;

5' AAA CCC CGG GTG ATT TAT TTT TTT TGT ATC TAC TTC TGA 3'

3'TTT GGG GCC CAC TAA ATA AAA AAA ACA TAG ATG AAG ACT 5' (Seq ID No: 46)

Lys Pro Arg Val Ile Tyr Phe Phe Cys Ile Tyr Phe *** (Seq ID No: 47)

However, the addition of these additional amino acids is not thought to significantly change the properties of the cellulose binding domain.

In a similar fashion, it is contemplated that any one of the other known binding domains may be substituted in the above pTEX construct to provide expression of the substituted binding domains by following the general format disclosed above.

Part 2. Transformation and Expression.

A large scale DNA prep was made of pTEX CBHII CBD and from this the NotI fragment containing the CBHII core domain under the control of the cbh1 transcriptional elements and pyr4 gene was isolated by preparative gel electrophoresis. The isolated fragment was transformed into the uridine auxotroph version of the quad deleted strain, 1A52 pyr13, and stable transformants were identified.

To select which transformants expressed cbh2 cellulose binding domain, genomic DNA was isolated from all stably transformant strains following growth on Vogels + 1% glucose and Southern blot experiments performed using an isolated DNA fragment containing the cbh1 gene to identify the transformants containing the CBHII CBD PTEX expression vector. Total mRNA was isolated from the transformed strains following growth for 1 day on Vogels + 1% lactose. The MRNA was subjected to Northern analysis using the cbh2 coding region as a probe. Most of the transformants expressed cbh2 CBD MRNA at high levels. One transformant was selected and grown under conditions previously described in a 14L fermentor. The resultant broth was concentrated and the proteins contained therein were separated by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and the CBHII CBD protein subjected to Western analysis. A protein of the expected size was identified by reactivity to CBHII CBD polyclonal antibodies raised against the synthetic CBHII CBD peptide having the sequence;

NH2 C-G-G-Q-N-V-S-G-P-T-C-C-A-S-G-S-T-C-COOH (Seq ID No: 48)

Example 6 Purification of Cellulose Binding Domains

The binding domain can ben purified by methods similar to those reported in the literature ( Ong, E., et al 1989 Bio/Technology 7: 604-607 ). In the case of affinity chromatography, the filtered binding domain broth can be contacted with a cellulosic substance, such as avicel or pulp/paper. The cellulosic solids may be separated by centrifugation or filtration. Alternatively, the filtered broth may be passed over a cellulosic-type column. The bound binding domains may then be eluted by treatment with distilled water, guanidinium HCl/other denaturants, surfactants, or other appropriate elution chemicals. Use of temperature modification may also be an option. Affinity chromatography using antibodies generated against the CBD or CBD derivative may also be employed. A particular purification procedure may require several fractionation steps depending upon the sample matrix and upon the chemical properties of the binding domains and modified domains of the present invention. In some cases the modified domains may contain additional charged functional groups which may allow for the use of other methods such as ionic exchange.

While the invention has been described in terms of various preferred embodiments, the skilled artisan will appreciate that various modifications, substitutions, omissions, and changes may be made without departing from the scope and spirit thereof. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of the present invention be limited solely by the scope of the following claims, including equivalents thereof. The following numbered paragraphs contain statements of broad combinations of the inventive technical features herein disclosed: -

  1. 1. A substantially pure truncated fungal cellulase protein derived from Trichoderma comprising a CBHII catalytic core protein or derivatives thereof which exhibit exoglucanase activity.
  2. 2. A substantially pure truncated fungal cellulase protein derived from Trichoderma comprising a CBHI catalytic core protein or derivatives thereof which exhibit exoglucanase activity.
  3. 3. A substantially pure truncated fungal cellulase protein derived from Trichoderma comprising an EGI catalytic core protein or derivatives thereof which exhibit endoglucanase activity.
  4. 4. A substantially pure truncated fungal cellulase protein derived from Trichoderma comprising an EGII catalytic core protein or derivatives thereof which exhibit endoglucanase activity.
  5. 5. A substantially pure truncated fungal cellulase protein derived from Trichoderma comprising the cellulose binding domain derived from CBHI or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  6. 6. A substantially pure truncated fungal cellulase protein derived from Trichoderma comprising the cellulose binding domain derived from CBHII or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  7. 7. A substantially pure truncated fungal cellulase protein derived from Trichoderma comprising the cellulose binding domain derived from EGI or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  8. 8. A substantially pure truncated fungal cellulase protein derived from Trichoderma comprising the cellulose binding domain derived from EGII or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  9. 9. The truncated fungal cellulase protein according to paragraph 1-9 in the alternative wherein said Trichoderma is Trichoderma longibrachiatum.
  10. 10. The truncated fungal cellulase of paragraph 1 wherein said CBHII catalytic core consists essentially of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID:NO 2 and derivatives thereof.
  11. 11. The truncated fungal cellulase of paragraph 2 wherein said CBHI catalytic core consists essentially of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID:NO 1 and derivatives thereof.
  12. 12. The truncated fungal cellulase of paragraph 3 wherein said EGI catalytic core consists essentially of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID:NO 3 and derivatives thereof.
  13. 13. The truncated fungal cellulase of paragraph 4 wherein said EGII catalytic core consists essentially of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID:NO 4 and derivatives thereof.
  14. 14. The truncated fungal cellulase of paragraph 5 wherein said CBHI cellulose binding domain consists essentially of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ:ID NO 5 and derivatives thereof.
  15. 15. The truncated fungal cellulase of paragraph 6 wherein said CBHII cellulose binding domain consists essentially of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID:NO 6 and derivatives thereof.
  16. 16. The truncated fungal cellulase of paragraph 7 wherein said EGI cellulose binding domain consists essentially of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID:NO 7 and derivatives thereof.
  17. 17. The truncated fungal cellulase of paragraph 8 wherein said EGII cellulose binding domain consists essentially of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID:NO 8 and derivatives thereof.
  18. 18. A DNA gene fragment or variant thereof derived from Trichoderma which codes for CBHI catalytic core or derivatives thereof which exhibit exoglucanase activity.
  19. 19. The DNA fragment of paragraph 18 further comprising a hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof operably linked to said fragment coding for CBHI catalytic core.
  20. 20. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 19 further comprising a DNA sequence or portion thereof derived from CBHI binding domain which does not code for a protein that exhibits cellulose binding.
  21. 21. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 18 wherein said DNA sequence coding for the CBHI catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 9.
  22. 22. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 19 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHI catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 9 and the said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 17.
  23. 23. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 20 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHI catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 9,

    said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 17 and said CBHI binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 13.
  24. 24. A DNA gene fragment or variants thereof derived from Trichoderma which codes for CBHII catalytic core or derivatives thereof which exhibit exoglucanase activity.
  25. 25. The DNA fragment of paragraph 24 further comprising a hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof operably linked to said fragment coding for CBHII catalytic core.
  26. 26. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 25 further comprising a DNA sequence or portion thereof derived from CBHII binding domain which does not code for a protein that exhibits cellulose binding.
  27. 27. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 24 wherein said DNA sequence coding for the CBHII catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 10.
  28. 28. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 25 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHII catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 10 and said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 18.
  29. 29. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 26 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHII catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 10, said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 18 and said CBHII binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 14.
  30. 30. A DNA gene fragment or variants thereof derived from Trichoderma which codes for EGI catalytic core or derivatives thereof which exhibit endoglucanase activity.
  31. 31. The DNA fragment of paragraph 30 further comprising a hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof operably linked to said fragment coding for EGI catalytic core.
  32. 32. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 31 further comprising a DNA sequence or portion thereof derived from EGI binding domain which does not code for a protein that exhibits cellulose binding.
  33. 33. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 30 wherein said DNA sequence coding for the EGI catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 11.
  34. 34. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 31 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the EGI catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 11 and said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 19.
  35. 35. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 32 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the EGI catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 11,

    said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 19 and said EGI binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 15.
  36. 36. A DNA gene fragment or variants derived from Trichoderma which codes for EGII catalytic core or derivatives thereof which exhibit endoglucanase activity.
  37. 37. The DNA fragment of paragraph 36 further comprising a hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof operably linked to said fragment coding for EGII catalytic core.
  38. 38. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 37 further comprising a DNA sequence or portion thereof derived from EGII binding domain which does not code for a protein that exhibits cellulose binding.
  39. 39. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 36 wherein said DNA sequence coding for the EGII catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 12.
  40. 40. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 37 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the EGII catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 12 and said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 20.
  41. 41. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 38 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the EGII catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 12,

    said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 20 and said EGII binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 16.
  42. 42. A DNA gene fragment or variants thereof derived from Trichoderma which codes for the CBHI binding domain or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  43. 43. The DNA fragment of paragraph 42 further comprising a hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof operably linked to said fragment coding for the CBHI binding domain.
  44. 44. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 43 further comprising a DNA sequence or portion thereof derived from the CBHI catalytic core domain which does not code for a protein that exhibits exoglucanase activity.
  45. 45. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 42 wherein said DNA sequence coding for the CBHI binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 13.
  46. 46. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 43 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHI binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 13 and said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 17.
  47. 47. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 44 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHI binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 13,

    said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 17 and said CBHI core domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 9.
  48. 48. A DNA gene fragment or variants thereof derived from Trichoderma which codes for the CBHII binding domain or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  49. 49. The DNA fragment of paragraph 48 further comprising a hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof operably linked to said fragment coding for the CBHII binding domain.
  50. 50. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 49 further comprising a DNA sequence or portion thereof derived from the CBHII catalytic core domain which does not code for a protein that exhibits exoglucanase activity.
  51. 51. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 48 wherein said DNA sequence coding for the CBHII binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 14.
  52. 52. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 49 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHII binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 14 and said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 18.
  53. 53. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 50 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHII binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 14, said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 18 and said CBHII core domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 10.
  54. 54. A DNA gene fragment or variants thereof derived from Trichoderma which codes for the EGI binding domain or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  55. 55. The DNA fragment of paragraph 54 further comprising a hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof operably linked to said fragment coding for the EGI binding domain.
  56. 56. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 55 further comprising a DNA sequence or portion thereof derived from the EGI catalytic core domain which does not code for a protein that exhibits endoglucanase activity.
  57. 57. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 54 wherein said DNA sequence coding for the EGI binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 15.
  58. 58. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 55 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the EGI binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 15 and said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 19.
  59. 59. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 56 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the EGI binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 15,

    said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 19 and said EGI core domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 11.
  60. 60. A DNA gene fragment or variants thereof derived from Trichoderma which codes for the EGII binding domain or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  61. 61. The DNA fragment of paragraph 60 further comprising a hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof operably linked to said fragment coding for the EGII binding domain.
  62. 62. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 61 further comprising a DNA sequence or portion thereof derived from the EGII catalytic core domain which does not code for a protein that exhibits endoglucanase activity.
  63. 63. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 60 wherein said DNA sequence coding for the EGII binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 16.
  64. 64. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 61 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the EGII binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 16 and said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 20.
  65. 65. The DNA gene fragment of paragraph 62 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the EGII binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 16,

    said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 20 and said EGII core domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 12.
  66. 66. An expression vector called pTEX having the accession #---.
  67. 67. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase, said DNA gene fragment is operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector.
  68. 68. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase and a selectable marker.
  69. 69. The expression vector according to paragraph 67 wherein said one or more regulatory DNA sequences codes a functionally active promoter and terminator.
  70. 70. The expression vector according to paragraph 67 wherein said at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof carries a signal sequence and said one or more regulatory DNA sequences codes a functionally active promotor and terminator.
  71. 71. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector and a selectable marker, said truncated DNA fragment is derived from paragraph 21, 22 or 23.
  72. 72. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector and a selectable marker, said truncated DNA fragment is derived from paragraph 27, 28 or 29.
  73. 73. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector and a selectable marker, said truncated DNA fragment is derived from paragraph 33, 34 or 35.
  74. 74. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector and a selectable marker, said truncated DNA fragment is derived from paragraph 39, 40 or 41.
  75. 75. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector and a selectable marker, said truncated DNA fragment is derived from paragraph 45, 46 or 47.
  76. 76. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector and a selectable marker, said truncated DNA fragment is derived from paragraph 51, 52 or 53.
  77. 77. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector and a selectable marker, said truncated DNA fragment is derived from paragraph 57, 58 or 59.
  78. 78. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries at least one truncated DNA gene fragment or variant thereof from a Trichoderma cellulase operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector and a selectable marker, said truncated DNA fragment is derived from paragraph 63, 64 or 65.
  79. 79. A transformed fungal cell comprising an expression vector comprising a DNA fragment or variant thereof encoding a truncated cellulase enzyme or derivative thereof derived from Trichoderma with catalytic core activity operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences and a selectable marker.
  80. 80. The transformed fungal cell according to paragraph 79 wherein said DNA fragment codes for CBHI catalytic core or derivatives thereof which exhibit exoglucanase activity.
  81. 81. The transformed fungal cell according to paragraph 79 wherein said DNA fragment codes for CBHII catalytic core or derivatives thereof which exhibit exoglucanase activity.
  82. 82. The transformed fungal cell according to paragraph 79 wherein said DNA fragment codes for EGI catalytic core or derivatives thereof which exhibit endoglucanase activity.
  83. 83. The transformed fungal cell according to paragraph 79 wherein said DNA fragment codes for EGII catalytic core or derivatives thereof which exhibit endoglucanase activity.
  84. 84. A transformed fungal cell comprising an expression vector comprising a DNA fragment or variant thereof encoding a truncated cellulase enzyme or derivative thereof derived from Trichoderma with cellulose binding properties operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences and a selectable marker.
  85. 85. The transformed fungal cell according to paragraph 84 wherein said DNA fragment codes for CBHI cellulose binding domain or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  86. 86. The transformed fungal cell according to paragraph 84 wherein said DNA fragment codes for CBHII cellulose binding domain or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  87. 87. The transformed fungal cell according to paragraph 84 wherein said DNA fragment codes for EGI cellulose binding domain or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  88. 88. The transformed fungal cell according to paragraph 84 wherein said DNA fragment codes for EGII cellulose binding domain or derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.
  89. 89. A process for transforming a Trichoderma host cell such that said host cell is capable of expressing one or more functional active truncated cellulases, comprising the steps of:
    • a) obtaining a Trichoderma host cell which is missing one or more cellulase activities;
    • b) treating said cell with one or more DNA vectors, said DNA vector comprising one or more truncated cellulase DNA fragments or cellulase DNA fragment variants operatively linked to a regulatory DNA sequence under conditions such that said one or more DNA constructs integrate into the genome of said cell and transformed cells are effectuated; and
    • c) isolating said transformed cells from non-transformed cells.
  90. 90. The process according to paragraph 89 wherein the fungal host cell is Trichoderma longibrachiatum.
  91. 91. The process according to paragraph 89 wherein said one or more DNA vectors comprises a predetermined selectable marker gene.
  92. 92. The process according to paragraph 91 wherein the selectable marker gene is selected from the group consisting of pyr4, argB, trpC and amdS.
  93. 93. The process according to paragraph 89 wherein said cellulase DNA fragments encode for a truncated cellulase with exocellobiohydrolase activity or endoglucanase activity.
  94. 94. The process according to paragraph 93 wherein said truncated cellulase DNA fragments is selected from the group consisting of CBHI, CBHII, EGI, EG II, EGIII or EGV.
  95. 95. The transformed fungal cell according to paragraph 79 wherein said DNA fragment is a variant DNA fragment that codes for EGIII catalytic core derivatives thereof which exhibit cellulose binding.


Anspruch[en]
A substantially pure truncated fungal cellulase protein derived from Trichoderma comprising a CBHII catalytic core protein or a derivative thereof which exhibits exoglucanase activity. The truncated fungal cellulase of claim 1 wherein said CBHII catalytic core consists essentially of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID:NO 2 and derivatives thereof. A DNA gene fragment or variants thereof derived from Trichoderma which codes for CBHII catalytic core or a derivative thereof which exhibits exoglucanase activity. The DNA fragment of claim 3 further comprising a hinge region DNA sequence or portion thereof operably linked to said fragment coding for CBHII catalytic core. The DNA gene fragment of claim 4 further comprising a DNA sequence or portion thereof derived from CBHII binding domain which does not code for a protein that exhibits cellulose binding. The DNA gene fragment of claim 3 wherein said DNA sequence coding for the CBHII catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 10. The DNA gene fragment of claim 4 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHII catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 10 and said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 18. The DNA gene fragment of claim 5 wherein said DNA fragment coding for the CBHII catalytic core is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 10, said hinge region DNA sequence is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 18 and said CBHII binding domain is set forth in SEQ ID:NO 14. An expression vector constructed from Trichoderma which carries a DNA gene fragment according to any one of claims 6 to 8 or a variant thereof, operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences in said vector and a selectable marker. A transformed fungal cell comprising an expression vector comprising a DNA fragment or variant thereof encoding a truncated CBHII catalytic core or derivative thereof derived from Trichoderma with catalytic core activity operably linked to one or more regulatory DNA sequences and a selectable marker. A process for transforming a Trichoderma host cell such that said host cell is capable of expressing one or more functional active truncated cellulase, comprising the steps of: a) obtaining a Trichoderma host cell which is missing one or more cellulase activities; b) treating said cell with one or more DNA vectors, said DNA vector comprising a DNA fragment encoding a truncated CBHII catalytic core or derivative thereof operatively linked to a regulatory DNA sequence under conditions such that said one or more DNA constructs integrate into the genome of said cell and transformed cells are effectuated; and c) isolating said transformed cells from non-transformed cells. The process according to claim 11 wherein the fungal host cell is Trichoderma longibrachiatum. The process according to claim 11 wherein said one or more DNA vectors comprises a predetermined selectable marker gene. The process according to claim 13 wherein the selectable marker gene is selected from the group consisting of pyr4, argB, trpC and amdS.






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