US20180002750A1 - Long lifetime alpha-hemolysin nanopores - Google Patents

Long lifetime alpha-hemolysin nanopores Download PDF

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US20180002750A1
US20180002750A1 US15638273 US201715638273A US2018002750A1 US 20180002750 A1 US20180002750 A1 US 20180002750A1 US 15638273 US15638273 US 15638273 US 201715638273 A US201715638273 A US 201715638273A US 2018002750 A1 US2018002750 A1 US 2018002750A1
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amino acid
hemolysin
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variant
acid sequence
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Mark Ambroso
Timothy Craig
Matthew DiPietro
Corissa Harris
Marshall Porter
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Roche Sequencing Solutions Inc
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    • C12BIOCHEMISTRY; BEER; SPIRITS; WINE; VINEGAR; MICROBIOLOGY; ENZYMOLOGY; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING
    • C12QMEASURING OR TESTING PROCESSES INVOLVING ENZYMES, NUCLEIC ACIDS OR MICROORGANISMS; COMPOSITIONS OR TEST PAPERS THEREFOR; PROCESSES OF PREPARING SUCH COMPOSITIONS; CONDITION-RESPONSIVE CONTROL IN MICROBIOLOGICAL OR ENZYMOLOGICAL PROCESSES
    • C12Q1/00Measuring or testing processes involving enzymes, nucleic acids or microorganisms; Compositions therefor; Processes of preparing such compositions
    • C12Q1/68Measuring or testing processes involving enzymes, nucleic acids or microorganisms; Compositions therefor; Processes of preparing such compositions involving nucleic acids
    • C12Q1/6869Methods for sequencing
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
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    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K14/00Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof
    • C07K14/195Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof from bacteria
    • C07K14/305Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof from bacteria from Micrococcaceae (F)
    • C07K14/31Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof from bacteria from Micrococcaceae (F) from Staphylococcus (G)
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    • C12BIOCHEMISTRY; BEER; SPIRITS; WINE; VINEGAR; MICROBIOLOGY; ENZYMOLOGY; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING
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    • C12N15/00Mutation or genetic engineering; DNA or RNA concerning genetic engineering, vectors, e.g. plasmids, or their isolation, preparation or purification; Use of hosts therefor
    • C12N15/01Preparation of mutants without inserting foreign genetic material therein; Screening processes therefor
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    • C07K14/00Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof

Abstract

Described herein are variants of alpha-hemolysin having at least one amino acid substitution at H35G, E111N, M113A, and/or K147N in the mature, wild-type alpha-hemolysin amino acid sequence. In certain examples, the variant may have a substitution at E111S, M113S, T145S, K147S, or L135I in the mature alpha-hemolysin amino acid sequence. The α-hemolysin variants may also include a substitution at H144A and/or a series of glycine residues spanning residues 127 to 131 of the mature, wild-type alpha hemolysin. Also provided are nanopore assemblies including the alpha-hemolysin variants, the assembly having an increased nanopore lifetime. Further, provided are variants that, in addition to providing increased lifetime, provide a decreased time-to-thread. Hence, the variants provided herein both increase nanopore lifetime and improve efficiency and accuracy of DNA sequencing reactions using nanopores comprising the variants.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 62/357,230, filed on Jun. 30, 2016, the contents of which are hereby incorporated in their entirety.
  • SEQUENCE LISTING INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE
  • This application hereby incorporates-by-reference a sequence listing submitted herewith in a computer-readable format, having a file name of 33725_WO_seqlist_ST25, created on Jun. 29, 2017, which is 56,233 bytes in size.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • Disclosed are methods and compositions relating to Staphylococcus aureaus alpha-hemolysin variants that, when assembled into a multi-subunit nanopore, increase the sequencing lifetime of the nanopore during a nucleic acid sequencing reaction. Also disclosed are variants that, when assembled into a multi-subunit nanopore, improve sequencing efficiency and accuracy.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Hemolysins are members of a family of protein toxins that are produced by a wide variety of organisms. Some hemolysins, for example alpha hemolysins, can disrupt the integrity of a cell membrane (e.g., a host cell membrane) by forming a pore or channel in the membrane. Pores or channels that are formed in a membrane by pore forming proteins can be used to transport certain polymers (e.g., polypeptides or polynucleotides) from one side of a membrane to the other.
  • Alpha-hemolysin (α-HL, a-HL or alpha-HL) is a self-assembling hemolysin toxin that forms a channel in the membrane of a host cell. More particularly, seven alpha-hemolysin monomers assemble into a heptameric, beta-barrel pore in biological membranes. Alpha-hemolysin has many advantageous properties including high stability and self-assembly into a nanopore that is wide enough to accommodate single stranded DNA but not double stranded DNA (Kasianowicz et al., 1996). Based on these properties and other properties, alpha-hemolysin has become a principal component for the nanopore sequencing community.
  • Previous work on DNA detection in the a-HL pore has focused on analyzing the ionic current signature as DNA translocates through the pore (Kasianowicz et al., 1996, Akeson et al., 1999, Meller et al., 2001), a very difficult task given the translocation rate (˜1 nt/μs at 100 mV) and the inherent noise in the ionic current signal. Higher specificity has been achieved in nanopore-based sensors by incorporation of probe molecules permanently tethered to the interior of the pore (Howorka et al., 2001a and Howorka et al., 2001b; Movileanu et al., 2000).
  • While the use of nanopores has revolutionized DNA sequencing, nanopores using wild-type alpha-hemolysins are only able to generate sequence data for a short amount of time. Hence, the lifetime of the alpha-hemolysin nanopore during the sequencing reaction often serves as the rate-limiting feature of the sequencing reaction. Further, use of wild-type alpha hemolysin often results in a significant number of deletion errors, i.e., bases that are not measured. Therefore, alpha-hemolysin nanopores with improved properties, including increased sequencing lifetimes, are desired.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Provided herein are mutant staphylococcal alpha hemolysin (αHL) polypeptides that, when incorporated into a nanopore, improve the lifetime of the nanopore during a DNA sequencing reaction. For example, a nanopore including one or more of the variants described herein lasts longer—and hence provides more sequencing data—than a nanopore that consists of wild-type alpha hemolysin.
  • In certain example aspects, the α-hemolysin (α-HL) variants comprise a substitution at a position corresponding to any one of E111N, M113A, K147N, or a combination thereof of SEQ ID NO: 14 (the mature, wild-type alpha hemolysin sequence). The α-hemolysin variant may also include a substitution at H35G or K135G of SEQ ID NO: 14. The α-hemolysin variant may also, in certain aspects, include one or more one or more glycine residues at residues 126-131 of SEQ ID NO: 14, such as a series of glycine residues that span the entire length of residues 126 through 131 of SEQ ID NO: 14. For example, the variant may also include a poly-G substitution corresponding to amino acids 127-129 of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14, resulting in a span of glycine residues from 126 through 131 of SEQ ID NO: 14.
  • In certain example aspects, the α-hemolysin variant includes an amino acid sequence having at least one of the substitutions described herein, while the sequence of the α-hemolysin variant has at least 80%, 90%, 95%, 98%, or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14. In certain example aspects, the α-hemolysin variant includes an amino acid sequence having at least 80%, 90%, 95%, 98%, or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22.
  • In certain example aspects, the alpha-hemolysin variant described herein is bound to a DNA polymerase, such as via a covalent bond. For example, the alpha-hemolysin variant is bound to the DNA polymerase via a SpyTag/SpyCatcher linkage. In certain example aspects, the alpha-hemolysin variant is bound to the DNA polymerase via an isopeptide bond.
  • In certain example aspects, provided is a heptameric nanopore assembly. The assembly, for example, includes at least one or more of the alpha-hemolysin variants described herein. For example, the heptameric nanopore assembly may include one or more alpha-hemolysin proteins having a substitution at E111N, M113A, K147N, or combinations thereof of SEQ ID NO: 14, such as described herein. In certain example aspects, the heptameric nanopore assembly may include one or more alpha-hemolysin proteins having a substitution at E111S, M113S, T145S, K147S or L135I or combinations thereof of SEQ ID NO: 14, such as described herein. In certain example aspects, each of the seven alpha-hemolysin monomers of the heptameric nanopore are alpha-hemolysin variants as described herein. The variant can be the same variant or a combination of different variants described herein. In certain example aspects, the nanopore assembly includes one or more variants having at least 80%, 90%, 95%, 98%, or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22. By using and relying on the alpha-hemolysin variants to assemble the nanopore, in certain example aspects the lifetime of the resultant nanopore is increased by 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% or more when compared to a heptameric nanopore assembly consisting of native alpha-hemolysin.
  • In certain example aspects, also provided are nucleic acids encoding any of the alpha hemolysin variants described herein. For example, the nucleic acid sequence can be derived from Staphylococcus aureus (SEQ ID NO: 1). Also provided, in certain example aspects, are vectors that include an any such nucleic acids encoding any one of the hemolysin variants described herein. Also provided is a host cell that is transformed with the vector.
  • In certain example aspects, provided is a method of producing an alpha-hemolysin variant as descried herein. The method includes, for example, the steps of culturing a host cell including the vector in a suitable culture medium under suitable conditions to produce alpha-hemolysin variant. The variant is then obtained from the culture using methods known in the art.
  • In certain other example aspects, provided is a method of detecting a target molecule. The method includes, for example, providing a chip comprising a nanopore assembly as described herein in a membrane that is disposed adjacent or in proximity to a sensing electrode. The method then includes directing a nucleic acid molecule through the nanopore. The nucleic acid molecule is associated with a reporter molecule and includes an address region and a probe region. The reporter molecule is associated with the nucleic acid molecule at the probe region and is coupled to a target molecule. The method further involves sequencing the address region while said nucleic acid molecule is directed through said nanopore to determine a nucleic acid sequence of said address region. The target molecule is identified, with the aid of a computer processor, based upon a nucleic acid sequence of the determined address region determined.
  • These and other aspects, objects, features and advantages of the example embodiments will become apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of illustrated example embodiments. It should be understood, however, that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the scope and spirit of the invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art from this detailed description.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1A is histogram showing lifetime assessment for a standard H144A nanopore. The y-axis is the number of pores which had a lifetime within the bin on the x-axis. The x-axis is the number of 100 s intervals (reps) in which the current passing through the channel corresponded to that of a single Hemolysin nanopore. This experiment was run for 7200 s, or 72 reps.
  • FIG. 1B is a graph showing an analysis of the failure mechanisms of the H144A nanopore for the same run as FIG. 1A. This experiment was run for 7200 s, or 72 reps. represents an analysis of the failure mechanisms of the nanopore for the same run as FIG. 1A. As shown, individual pores are displayed as dots in a number of categories. The first category is for those pores which survived until the end of the experiment; their mode of failure was that the instrument was shut off. The second category is for cells that were turned off by the Genia FPGA because the current increased very quickly to a level>10× of the current of a single nanopore, which is a general indicator that the lipid bilayer was disrupted. The third category is for when the open channel current increases from that of a single pore to that of a multiple of a single pore, but lower than 10× the current. This typically indicates that 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 nanopores inserted into the bilayer that originally only harbored one. The noisy bin contains pores where some unknown mode of failure occurred, which typically results in an unstable level of current is being measured; these may be due to electrode failure. The last category is bilayer, and corresponds to the situation where current is no longer measured passing through a nanopore, but rather the characteristically low conductance of a lipid bilayer is seen.
  • FIG. 2A is a histogram showing lifetime assessment for an N Rectification nanopore. The y-axis is the number of pores which had a lifetime within the bin on the x-axis. The x-axis is the number of 100 s intervals (reps) in which the current passing through the channel corresponded to that of a single N Rectification Hemolysin nanopore. This experiment was run for 3600 s, or 36 reps.
  • FIG. 2B is a graph showing an analysis of the failure mechanisms of the N Rectification nanopore for the same run as FIG. 2A. This experiment was run for 3600 s, or 36 reps. represents an analysis of the failure mechanisms of the nanopore for the same run as FIG. 1A. In this depiction, individual pores are displayed as dots in a number of categories. The first category is for those pores which survived until the end of the experiment; their mode of failure was that the instrument was shut off. The second category is for cells that were turned off by the Genia FPGA because the current increased very quickly to a level>10× of the current of a single nanopore, which is a general indicator that the lipid bilayer was disrupted. The third category is for when the open channel current increases from that of a single pore to that of a multiple of a single pore, but lower than 10× the current. This typically indicates that 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 nanopores inserted into the bilayer that originally only harbored one. The noisy bin contains pores where some unknown mode of failure occurred, which typically results in an unstable level of current is being measured; this may be due to electrode failure. The last category is bilayer, and corresponds to the situation where current is no longer measured passing through a nanopore, but rather the characteristically low conductance of a lipid bilayer is seen.
  • FIG. 3A is a histogram showing lifetime assessment for an N Rectification nanopore. The y-axis is the number of pores which had a lifetime within the bin on the x-axis. The x-axis is the number of 100 s intervals (reps) in which the current passing through the channel corresponded to that of a single N Rectification Hemolysin nanopore. This experiment was run for 18000 s, or 180 reps.
  • FIG. 3B is a graph showing an analysis of the failure mechanisms of the N Rectification nanopore for the same run as FIG. 3A. This experiment was run for 3600 s, or 36 reps. represents an analysis of the failure mechanisms of the nanopore for the same run as FIG. 1A. In this depiction, individual pores are displayed as dots in a number of categories. The first category is for those pores which survived until the end of the experiment; their mode of failure was that the instrument was shut off. The second category is for cells that were turned off by the Genia FPGA because the current increased very quickly to a level>10× of the current of a single nanopore, which is a general indicator that the lipid bilayer was disrupted. The third category is for when the open channel current increases from that of a single pore to that of a multiple of a single pore, but lower than 10× the current. This typically indicates that 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 nanopores inserted into the bilayer that originally only harbored one. The noisy bin contains pores where some unknown mode of failure occurred, which typically results in an unstable level of current is being measured; this may be due to electrode failure. The last category is bilayer, and corresponds to the situation where current is no longer measured passing through a nanopore, but rather the characteristically low conductance of a lipid bilayer is seen.
  • FIG. 4A is a graph showing the time-to-thread for control heptameric nanopores as compared to heptameric nanopores including one alpha-hemolysin/phi29 DNA Polymerase conjugate and six alpha-hemolysin variants, each variant having substitutions at H35G+V149K+H144A (i.e., a 1:6 ratio), as set forth in SEQ ID NO: 4. The control nanopores (labeled “WT”) include a 1:6 ratio of alpha-hemolysin/phi29 DNA Polymerase conjugate to six wild-type alpha-hemolysins. These data are combined from many pores which were capturing the tagged nucleotides indicating the pore had both a polymerase and a template DNA molecule. As shown for each tag (corresponding to A, C, G, T), the threading rate for a nanopore including the variant alpha hemolysin was significantly increased compared to the control nanopore, thus evidencing an improved (decreased) time-to-thread. In the case of the C-nucleotide tag the threading rate increased from a mean value of 221.62 s−1 (standard deviation 13.6 s−1) to 663.15 (standard deviation 172 s−1). Other nucleotide tags showed similar increases as shown in FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4B is a graph showing the raw data used to generate FIG. 4A. FIG. 2 represents an analog to digital converter (ADC) value for our AC coupled system, which gives rise to an ADC value for open channel when the applied bias is positive (175 ADC units) and when the applied bias is negative (45 ADC units). When a tagged nucleotide is threaded into the pore, the ADC value during the application of positive bias decreases from the open channel level to 145 ADC units. Several examples of this are shown from 1020 to 1040 s in the expanded lower panel of FIG. 4B. When the applied bias is negative, the tagged nucleotide exits the pore, which is why the negative open channel level is not significantly reduced. In order to calculate the threading rate, a distribution of the times required in each positive bias period for the ADC value to reach a threaded level is counted for cycles whose immediately prior cycle ended at a threaded ADC value. This histogram is then fit to a standard single exponential function, whose decay rate is the threading rate.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The embodiments described herein can be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description, examples, and claims, and their previous and following description. Before the present system, devices, compositions and/or methods are disclosed and described, it is to be understood that the embodiments described herein are not limited to the specific systems, devices, and/or compositions methods disclosed unless otherwise specified, as such can, of course, vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only and is not intended to be limiting.
  • Further, the following description is provided as an enabling teaching of the various embodiments in their best, currently known aspect. Those skilled in the relevant art will recognize that many changes can be made to the aspects described, while still obtaining the beneficial results of this disclosure. It will also be apparent that some of the desired benefits of the present invention can be obtained by selecting some of the features of the various embodiments without utilizing other features. Accordingly, those who work in the art will recognize that many modifications and adaptations to the various embodiments described herein are possible and can even be desirable in certain circumstances and are a part of the present disclosure. Thus, the following description is provided as illustrative of the principles of the embodiments described herein and not in limitation thereof.
  • The invention will now be described in detail by way of reference only using the following definitions and examples. All patents and publications, including all sequences disclosed within such patents and publications, referred to herein are expressly incorporated by reference.
  • Unless defined otherwise herein, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Singleton, et al., DICTIONARY OF MICROBIOLOGY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 2D ED., John Wiley and Sons, New York (1994), and Hale & Marham, THE HARPER COLLINS DICTIONARY OF BIOLOGY, Harper Perennial, NY (1991) provide one of skill with a general dictionary of many of the terms used in this invention. Although any methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the present invention, the preferred methods and materials are described. Practitioners are particularly directed to Sambrook et al., 1989, and Ausubel F M et al., 1993, for definitions and terms of the art. It is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the particular methodology, protocols, and reagents described, as these may vary.
  • Numeric ranges are inclusive of the numbers defining the range. The term about is used herein to mean plus or minus ten percent (10%) of a value. For example, “about 100” refers to any number between 90 and 110.
  • Unless otherwise indicated, nucleic acids are written left to right in 5′ to 3′ orientation; amino acid sequences are written left to right in amino to carboxy orientation, respectively.
  • The headings provided herein are not limitations of the various aspects or embodiments of the invention, which can be had by reference to the specification as a whole. Accordingly, the terms defined immediately below are more fully defined by reference to the specification as a whole.
  • Definitions
  • Alpha-hemolysin: As used herein, “alpha-hemolysin,” “α-hemolysin,” “a-HL” and “α-HL” are used interchangeably and refer to the monomeric protein that self-assembles into a heptameric, water-filled transmembrane channel (i.e., nanopore). Depending on context, the term may also refer to the transmembrane channel formed by seven monomeric proteins.
  • Amino acid: As used herein, the term “amino acid,” in its broadest sense, refers to any compound and/or substance that can be incorporated into a polypeptide chain. In some embodiments, an amino acid has the general structure H2N—C(H)(R)—COOH. In some embodiments, an amino acid is a naturally-occurring amino acid. In some embodiments, an amino acid is a synthetic amino acid; in some embodiments, an amino acid is a D-amino acid; in some embodiments, an amino acid is an L-amino acid. “Standard amino acid” refers to any of the twenty standard L-amino acids commonly found in naturally occurring peptides. “Nonstandard amino acid” refers to any amino acid, other than the standard amino acids, regardless of whether it is prepared synthetically or obtained from a natural source. As used herein, “synthetic amino acid” or “non-natural amino acid” encompasses chemically modified amino acids, including but not limited to salts, amino acid derivatives (such as amides), and/or substitutions. Amino acids, including carboxy- and/or amino-terminal amino acids in peptides, can be modified by methylation, amidation, acetylation, and/or substitution with other chemical without adversely affecting their activity. Amino acids may participate in a disulfide bond. The term “amino acid” is used interchangeably with “amino acid residue,” and may refer to a free amino acid and/or to an amino acid residue of a peptide. It will be apparent from the context in which the term is used whether it refers to a free amino acid or a residue of a peptide. It should be noted that all amino acid residue sequences are represented herein by formulae whose left and right orientation is in the conventional direction of amino-terminus to carboxy-terminus.
  • Base Pair (bp): As used herein, base pair refers to a partnership of adenine (A) with thymine (T), adenine (A) with uracil (U) or of cytosine (C) with guanine (G) in a double stranded nucleic acid.
  • Complementary: As used herein, the term “complementary” refers to the broad concept of sequence complementarity between regions of two polynucleotide strands or between two nucleotides through base-pairing. It is known that an adenine nucleotide is capable of forming specific hydrogen bonds (“base pairing”) with a nucleotide which is thymine or uracil. Similarly, it is known that a cytosine nucleotide is capable of base pairing with a guanine nucleotide.
  • Expression cassette: An “expression cassette” or “expression vector” is a nucleic acid construct generated recombinantly or synthetically, with a series of specified nucleic acid elements that permit transcription of a particular nucleic acid in a target cell. The recombinant expression cassette can be incorporated into a plasmid, chromosome, mitochondrial DNA, plastid DNA, virus, or nucleic acid fragment. Typically, the recombinant expression cassette portion of an expression vector includes, among other sequences, a nucleic acid sequence to be transcribed and a promoter.
  • Heterologous: A “heterologous” nucleic acid construct or sequence has a portion of the sequence which is not native to the cell in which it is expressed. Heterologous, with respect to a control sequence refers to a control sequence (i.e. promoter or enhancer) that does not function in nature to regulate the same gene the expression of which it is currently regulating. Generally, heterologous nucleic acid sequences are not endogenous to the cell or part of the genome in which they are present, and have been added to the cell, by infection, transfection, transformation, microinjection, electroporation, or the like. A “heterologous” nucleic acid construct may contain a control sequence/DNA coding sequence combination that is the same as, or different from a control sequence/DNA coding sequence combination found in the native cell.
  • Host cell: By the term “host cell” is meant a cell that contains a vector and supports the replication, and/or transcription or transcription and translation (expression) of the expression construct. Host cells for use in the present invention can be prokaryotic cells, such as E. coli or Bacillus subtilus, or eukaryotic cells such as yeast, plant, insect, amphibian, or mammalian cells. In general, host cells are prokaryotic, e.g., E. coli.
  • Lifetime: As used herein, the term “lifetime” or “nanopore lifetime” is used generally to refer to the overall length of time that a nanopore functions, in a sequencing reaction, to provide useful sequencing data. More particularly, the lifetime of a nanopore can be measured by measuring the time between the start of an experiment and when the nanopore ceases to function properly, as determined by open channel current level.
  • Isolated: An “isolated” molecule is a nucleic acid molecule that is separated from at least one other molecule with which it is ordinarily associated, for example, in its natural environment. An isolated nucleic acid molecule includes a nucleic acid molecule contained in cells that ordinarily express the nucleic acid molecule, but the nucleic acid molecule is present extrachromasomally or at a chromosomal location that is different from its natural chromosomal location.
  • Modified alpha-hemolysin: As used herein, the term “modified alpha-hemolysin” refers to an alpha-hemolysin originated from another (i.e., parental) alpha-hemolysin and contains one or more amino acid alterations (e.g., amino acid substitution, deletion, or insertion) compared to the parental alpha-hemolysin. In some embodiments, a modified alpha-hemolysin of the invention is originated or modified from a naturally-occurring or wild-type alpha-hemolysin. In some embodiments, a modified alpha-hemolysin of the invention is originated or modified from a recombinant or engineered alpha-hemolysin including, but not limited to, chimeric alpha-hemolysin, fusion alpha-hemolysin or another modified alpha-hemolysin. Typically, a modified alpha-hemolysin has at least one changed phenotype compared to the parental alpha-hemolysin.
  • Mutation: As used herein, the term “mutation” refers to a change introduced into a parental sequence, including, but not limited to, substitutions, insertions, deletions (including truncations). The consequences of a mutation include, but are not limited to, the creation of a new character, property, function, phenotype or trait not found in the protein encoded by the parental sequence.
  • Nanopore: The term “nanopore,” as used herein, generally refers to a pore, channel, or passage formed or otherwise provided in a membrane. A membrane may be an organic membrane, such as a lipid bilayer, or a synthetic membrane, such as a membrane formed of a polymeric material. The membrane may be a polymeric material. The nanopore may be disposed adjacent or in proximity to a sensing circuit or an electrode coupled to a sensing circuit, such as, for example, a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) or field effect transistor (FET) circuit. In some examples, a nanopore has a characteristic width or diameter on the order of 0.1 nanometers (nm) to about 1000 nm. Some nanopores are proteins. Alpha-hemolysin is an example of a protein nanopore.
  • Nucleic Acid Molecule: The term “nucleic acid molecule” includes RNA, DNA, and cDNA molecules. It will be understood that, as a result of the degeneracy of the genetic code, a multitude of nucleotide sequences encoding a given protein such as alpha-hemolysin and/or variants thereof may be produced. The present invention contemplates every possible variant nucleotide sequence, encoding variant alpha-hemolysin, all of which are possible given the degeneracy of the genetic code.
  • Promoter: As used herein, the term “promoter” refers to a nucleic acid sequence that functions to direct transcription of a downstream gene. The promoter will generally be appropriate to the host cell in which the target gene is being expressed. The promoter together with other transcriptional and translational regulatory nucleic acid sequences (also termed “control sequences”) are necessary to express a given gene. In general, the transcriptional and translational regulatory sequences include, but are not limited to, promoter sequences, ribosomal binding sites, transcriptional start and stop sequences, translational start and stop sequences, and enhancer or activator sequences.
  • Purified: As used herein, “purified” means that a molecule is present in a sample at a concentration of at least 95% by weight, or at least 98% by weight of the sample in which it is contained.
  • Purifying: As used herein, the term “purifying” generally refers to subjecting transgenic nucleic acid or protein containing cells to biochemical purification and/or column chromatography.
  • Tag: As used herein, the term “tag” refers to a detectable moiety that may be atoms or molecules, or a collection of atoms or molecules. A tag may provide an optical, electrochemical, magnetic, or electrostatic (e.g., inductive, capacitive) signature, which signature may be detected with the aid of a nanopore. Typically, when a nucleotide is attached to the tag it is called a “Tagged Nucleotide.” The tag may be attached to the nucleotide via the phosphate moiety.
  • Time-To-Thread: The term “time to thread” or “TTT” means the time it takes the polymerase-tag complex or a nucleic acid strand to thread the tag into the barrel of the nanopore.
  • Variant: As used herein, the term “variant” refers to a modified protein which displays altered characteristics when compared to the parental protein, e.g., altered ionic conductance.
  • Variant hemolysin: The term “variant hemolysin gene” or “variant hemolysin” means, respectively, that the nucleic acid sequence of the alpha-hemolysin gene from Staphylococcus aureus has been altered by removing, adding, and/or manipulating the coding sequence or the amino acid sequence of the expressed protein has been modified consistent with the invention described herein.
  • Vector: As used herein, the term “vector” refers to a nucleic acid construct designed for transfer between different host cells. An “expression vector” refers to a vector that has the ability to incorporate and express heterologous DNA fragments in a foreign cell. Many prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression vectors are commercially available. Selection of appropriate expression vectors is within the knowledge of those having skill in the art.
  • Wild-type: As used herein, the term “wild-type” refers to a native gene or gene product which has the characteristics of that gene or gene product when isolated from a naturally-occurring source.
  • Percent homology: The term “% homology” is used interchangeably herein with the term “% identity” herein and refers to the level of nucleic acid or amino acid sequence identity between the nucleic acid sequence that encodes any one of the inventive polypeptides or the inventive polypeptide's amino acid sequence, when aligned using a sequence alignment program. For example, as used herein, 80% homology means the same thing as 80% sequence identity determined by a defined algorithm, and accordingly a homologue of a given sequence has greater than 80% sequence identity over a length of the given sequence. Exemplary levels of sequence identity include, but are not limited to, 80, 85, 90, 95, 98% or more sequence identity to a given sequence, e.g., the coding sequence for any one of the inventive polypeptides, as described herein.
  • Exemplary computer programs which can be used to determine identity between two sequences include, but are not limited to, the suite of BLAST programs, e.g., BLASTN, BLASTX, and TBLASTX, BLASTP and TBLASTN, publicly available on the Internet. See also, Altschul, et al., 1990 and Altschul, et al., 1997.
  • Sequence searches are typically carried out using the BLASTN program when evaluating a given nucleic acid sequence relative to nucleic acid sequences in the GenBank DNA Sequences and other public databases. The BLASTX program is preferred for searching nucleic acid sequences that have been translated in all reading frames against amino acid sequences in the GenBank Protein Sequences and other public databases. Both BLASTN and BLASTX are run using default parameters of an open gap penalty of 11.0, and an extended gap penalty of 1.0, and utilize the BLOSUM-62 matrix. (See, e.g., Altschul, S. F., et al., Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389-3402, 1997.)
  • A preferred alignment of selected sequences in order to determine “% identity” between two or more sequences, is performed using for example, the CLUSTAL-W program in MacVector version 13.0.7, operated with default parameters, including an open gap penalty of 10.0, an extended gap penalty of 0.1, and a BLOSUM 30 similarity matrix.
  • Nomenclature
  • In the present description and claims, the conventional one-letter and three-letter codes for amino acid residues are used.
  • For ease of reference, variants of the application are described by use of the following nomenclature: Original amino acid(s); position(s); substituted amino acid(s). According to this nomenclature, for instance, the substitution of a glutamic acid by an asparagine in position 111 is shown as:
      • Glu111Asn or E111N
  • Multiple mutations are separated by plus signs, such as:
      • His35Gly+Glu111Asn or H35G+E111N
        representing mutations in positions 35 and 149 substituting glycine for histidine and asparagine for glutamic acid, respectively. Spans of amino acid substitutions and/or spans of residues are represented by a dash, such as a span of glycine residues from residue 126 to 131 being: 126-131Gly or 126-131G. Variations in specific substitutions are represented with a forward slash. For example, an E111N/E111S means that the E residue at position 111 may be substituted to either an N residue or S residue, respectively.
    Site-Directed Mutagenesis of Alpha-Hemolysin
  • Staphylococcus aureus alpha hemolysin wild type sequences are provided herein (SEQ ID NO:1, nucleic acid coding region; SEQ ID NO:14, protein sequence) and available elsewhere (National Center for Bioinformatics or GenBank Accession Numbers M90536 and AAA26598).
  • Point mutations may be introduced by any method known in the art. For example, a point mutation may be made using QuikChange Lightning 2 kit (Stategene/Agilent) following manufacturer's instructions.
  • Primers can be ordered from commercial companies, e.g., IDT DNA.
  • Alpha-Hemolysin Variants
  • The alpha-hemolysin variants provided herein include specific substitutions—or one or more combination of substitutions—such that nanopores incorporating the variants have improved nanopore lifetime with stable, open channels during a nucleic acid sequencing reaction. By improving nanopore lifetime, sequencing reactions using such long-lifetime nanopores are able to generate more usable sequencing data over the course of a longer sequencing reaction.
  • In certain example embodiments, the variants include a particular mutation or series of mutations. For example, the variant may include an amino acid substitution of any one of E111N/E111S, M113A/M113S, L135I, T145S, K147N/K147S or a combination thereof of SEQ ID NO: 14. Further, in certain example embodiments, the variant may also include a H35G substitution of SEQ ID NO: 14.
  • Additionally, the variant may include a poly-G substitution at residues 127-129 of SEQ ID NO: 14. The variant may further include a K131G mutation. As such, in certain example embodiments, the E111N/E111S, M113A/M113S, L135I, T145S, K147N/K147S, and/or H35G substitutions described herein are accompanied by a series of poly-G amino acids at residues 126-131 of SEQ ID NO: 14. To improve nanopore stability, in certain example embodiments the alpha-hemolysin variants described herein may additionally include an amino acid substitution at H144A of SEQ ID NO: 14.
  • In certain example embodiments, the alpha-hemolysin variants include specific combinations of substitutions. For example, the alpha hemolysin variant may include an E111N+K147N substitution or an E111S+K147S substitution. Additionally or alternatively, the alpha-hemolysin variant may include an E111N+K147N+M113A substitution or an E111S+K147S+M113S substitution. In certain example embodiments, the alpha hemolysin variants include one of the following combinations of substitutions/residues:
      • E111N+126−131G+H144A+K147N;
      • H35G+E111N+H144A+K147N;
      • H35G+E111N+M113A+126−131G+H144A+K147N;
      • E111N+M113A+127−131G+K147N; or
      • E111S+M113S+T145S+K147S+L135I.
  • In certain example embodiments, the variant includes one or more of the substitutions described herein, while the overall sequence of the variant retains up to 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 2. Similarly, in other example embodiments, the variant includes one or more of the substitutions described herein, while the overall sequence of the variant retains up to 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14. In certain example embodiments, the variant has 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22.
  • Without wishing to be bound by any particular theory, it is believed that—when a nanopore includes the variants described herein—the constriction site of the pore is widened, thereby allowing more ions to flow across the pore during a nucleic acid sequencing reaction. As a result, it is believed that nanopores including such variants have less net salt movement across the pore when the nanopore is subjected to an alternating current. By decreasing the net salt movement, the osmotic imbalance across the pore is decreased, thereby improving the overall stability of the nanopore. Hence, the resultant nanopore has an improved lifetime compared to, for example, a nanopore consisting of wild-type (native) alpha-hemolysins.
  • In certain example embodiments, the alpha-hemolysin variants described herein that improve nanopore lifetime may also improve Time-To-Thread during a sequencing reaction. That is, when the variant is incorporated into a nanopore, both the lifetime of the nanopore and the Time-To-Thread are improved, thus resulting in a superior nanopore. For example, any of the H35G, E111N, M113A, K147N, or 127-129G substitutions may improve both lifetime of the nanopore and Time-To-Thread. Likewise, any of the E111S, M113S, T145S, K147S, or L135I mutations may improve both lifetime of the nanopore and Time-To-Thread.
  • In certain example embodiments, additional substitutions may be incorporated into the variants to improve Thread-To-Thread of a resultant nanopore, thereby improving the overall functioning of the nanopore (both the lifetime and Thread-To-Thread). A list of the residues that may be mutated, for example, to improve Time-to-Thread, is provided in Table 1. In certain example embodiments, a variant resulting in improved nanopore lifetime and improved time to formed from muting one or more of the amino acids of SEQ ID NO:14 identified in Table 1 has 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more sequence identity to the sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14. In certain example embodiments, the mutation results in the addition of a positive charge. For example, the mutation may result in a substitution of an amino acid residue identified in Table 1 to an arginine, lysine, histidine, asparagine, or other amino acid that can carry a positive charge.
  • In certain example embodiments, in addition to a H35G, E111N/E111S, M113A/M113S, L135I, T145S, K147N/K147S, and/or 127-129G substitution (or combination thereof) to improve nanopore lifetime, the mutation may include a particular, additional substitution to also improve Time-To-Thread. For example, the variant may additionally include an amino acid substitution of any one of V149K, E287R, T109K, P151K, or combinations thereof of SEQ ID NO: 14. In other example embodiments, the variant may include one or more these same substitutions, while the overall sequence can have up to 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14. In certain example embodiments, one or more of the first 17 amino acids of SEQ ID NO: 14 mutated to either an A, N, K, or combinations thereof. Additionally or alternatively, any of the variants may include a series of glycine residue substitutions spanning from residue 127 to residue 131 of the sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14, as described herein.
  • TABLE 1
    Residues of mature alpha-hemolysin that can be
    mutated to form alpha-hemolysin variant.
    Position* Residue
    1 ALA
    2 ASP
    3 SER
    4 ASP
    5 ILE
    6 ASN
    8 LYS
    9 THR
    10 GLY
    11 THR
    13 ASP
    14 ILE
    15 GLY
    16 SER
    17 ASN
    18 THR
    19 THR
    20 VAL
    21 LYS
    22 THR
    24 ASP
    25 LEU
    26 VAL
    27 THR
    28 TYR
    29 ASP
    30 LYS
    31 GLU
    32 ASN
    33 GLY
    35 HIS
    36 LYS
    37 LYS
    40 TYR
    44 ASP
    45 ASP
    46 LYS
    47 ASN
    48 HIS
    49 ASN
    50 LYS
    51 LYS
    56 ARG
    62 ALA
    64 GLN
    65 TYR
    66 ARG
    67 VAL
    68 TYR
    69 SER
    70 GLU
    71 GLU
    72 GLY
    73 ALA
    74 ASN
    75 LYS
    79 ALA
    82 SER
    83 ALA
    85 LYS
    87 GLN
    89 GLN
    90 LEU
    91 PRO
    92 ASP
    93 ASN
    94 GLU
    95 VAL
    97 GLN
    102 TYR
    103 PRO
    104 ARG
    105 ASN
    106 SER
    107 ILE
    108 ASP
    109 THR
    110 LYS
    111 GLU
    112 TYR
    113 MET
    114 SER
    115 THR
    116 LEU
    117 THR
    118 TYR
    120 PHE
    121 ASN
    122 GLY
    123 ASN
    124 VAL
    125 THR
    126 GLY
    127 ASP
    128 ASP
    129 THR
    130 GLY
    131 LYS
    132 ILE
    134 GLY
    135 LEU
    136 ILE
    137 GLY
    138 ALA
    139 ASN
    140 VAL
    141 SER
    142 ILE
    143 GLY
    144 HIS
    145 THR
    146 LEU
    147 LYS
    148 TYR
    149 VAL
    150 GLN
    151 PRO
    152 ASP
    153 PHE
    154 LYS
    155 THR
    156 ILE
    158 GLU
    159 SER
    160 PRO
    161 THR
    162 ASP
    163 LYS
    164 LYS
    168 LYS
    170 ILE
    171 PHE
    172 ASN
    173 ASN
    174 MET
    175 VAL
    176 ASN
    177 GLN
    178 ASN
    179 TRP
    180 GLY
    181 PRO
    182 TYR
    183 ASP
    184 ARG
    185 ASP
    186 SER
    187 TRP
    188 ASN
    189 PRO
    190 VAL
    191 TYR
    193 ASN
    194 GLN
    197 MET
    198 LYS
    199 THR
    200 ARG
    201 ASN
    202 GLY
    203 SER
    204 MET
    205 LYS
    207 ALA
    208 ASP
    210 PHE
    211 LEU
    212 ASP
    213 PRO
    214 ASN
    215 LYS
    216 ALA
    218 SER
    221 SER
    222 SER
    224 PHE
    225 SER
    226 PRO
    227 ASP
    228 PHE
    229 ALA
    235 ASP
    236 ARG
    237 LYS
    238 ALA
    239 SER
    240 LYS
    241 GLN
    244 ASN
    246 ASP
    250 GLU
    252 VAL
    253 ARG
    255 ASP
    257 GLN
    259 HIS
    260 TRP
    261 THR
    262 SER
    263 THR
    264 ASN
    266 LYS
    268 THR
    269 ASN
    270 THR
    271 LYS
    272 ASP
    273 LYS
    274 TRP
    275 THR
    276 ASP
    277 ARG
    278 SER
    280 GLU
    281 ARG
    282 TYR
    283 LYS
    285 ASP
    286 TRP
    287 GLU
    288 LYS
    289 GLU
    291 MET
    292 THR
    293 ASN
    *Position corresponds to the specific amino acid position in SEQ ID NO: 14.
  • While the α-hemolysin variant can include various combinations of substitutions as described herein, in certain example embodiments the α-hemolysin variant includes particular combinations of substitutions to improve Time-to-Thread. For example, an α-hemolysin variant may include the following combinations of amino acid substitutions of the sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14:
      • H35G+V149K;
      • V149K+E287R+H35G;
      • V149K+E287R;
      • T109K+H35G;
      • P151 K+H35G;
      • V149K+P151K+H35G;
      • T109K+V149K+H35G;
      • V149K+K147N+E111N+127−131G+M113A+H35G;
      • V149K+K147N+E111N+127−131G+M113A; or,
      • T109K+V149K+P151K+H35G.
        Such combinations may also include, for example, a substitution at H144A of SEQ ID NO: 14 and/or a series of glycine residues at amino acids 127-131 of SEQ ID NO: 14. In certain example embodiments, the α-hemolysin variant includes an amino acid sequence having at least 80%, 90%, 95%, 98%, or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 4, SEQ ID NO: 5, SEQ ID NO: 6, SEQ ID NO: 7, SEQ ID NO: 8, SEQ ID NO: 9, SEQ ID NO: 10, SEQ ID NO: 11, SEQ ID NO: 12, or SEQ ID NO: 13, with the substitution(s) identified in each sequence, for example, being preserved in the variant.
  • In certain example embodiments, the amino acid substitution described herein allows the addition of heterologous molecules, such as polyethylene glycol (PEG). In certain example aspects, the a-HL variant has one or more post-translational modifications. In certain example aspects, the substitution is a non-native amino acid that is basic or positively charged at a pH from about 5 to about 8.5.
  • In certain example embodiments, the amino acids forming all or a part of the variants described herein may be stereoisomers. Additionally or alternatively, the amino acids forming all or a part of the variants described herein may be modifications of naturally occurring amino acids, non-naturally occurring amino acids, post-translationally modified amino acids, enzymatically synthesized amino acids, derivatized amino acids, constructs or structures designed to mimic amino acids, and the like. The amino acids forming the variants described herein may be one or more of the 20 common amino acids found in naturally occurring proteins, or one or more of the modified and unusual amino acids. In certain example embodiments, the amino acids may be D- or L-amino acids.
  • In certain example embodiments, the variants may also include one or more modified amino acids. The modified amino acid may be a derivatized amino acid or a modified and unusual amino acid. Examples of modified and unusual amino acids include but are not limited to, 2-Aminoadipic acid (Aad), 3-Aminoadipic acid (Baad), β-Amino-propionic acid (Bala, β-alanine), 2-Aminobutyric acid (Abu, piperidinic acid), 4-Aminobutyric acid (4Abu), 6-Aminocaproic acid (Acp), 2-Aminoheptanoic acid (Ahe), 2-Aminoisobutyric acid (Aib), 3-Aminoisobutyric acid (Baib), 2-Aminopimelic acid (Apm), 2,4-Diaminobutyric acid (Dbu), Desmosine (Des), 2,2′-Diaminopimelic acid (Dpm), 2,3-Diaminopropionic acid (Dpr), N-Ethylglycine (EtGly), N-Ethylasparagine (EtAsn), Hydroxylysine (Hyl), allo-Hydroxylysine (AHyl), 3-Hydroxyproline (3Hyp), 4-Hydroxyproline (4Hyp), Isodesmosine (Ide), allo-Isoleucine (Alle), N-Methylglycine (MeGly, sarcosine), N-Methylisoleucine (MeIle), 6-N-Methyllysine (MeLys), N-Methylvaline (MeVal), Norvaline (Nva), Norleucine (Nle), and Ornithine (Orn). Other examples of modified and unusual amino acids are described generally in Synthetic Peptides: A User's Guide, Second Edition, April 2002, Edited Gregory A. Grant, Oxford University Press; Hruby V J, Al-obeidi F and Kazmierski W: Biochem J 268:249-262, 1990; and Toniolo C: Int J Peptide Protein Res 35:287-300, 1990; the teachings of all of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.
  • In certain example embodiments, the amino acid sequence of the variant is sequential, without any modified and unusual amino acids interrupting the sequence of D- or L-amino acids. In other embodiments, the sequence may include one or more modified and unusual amino acids as noted above. For example, the sequence of the variant may be interrupted by one or more modified and unusual amino acids. Accordingly, provided are pseudopeptides and peptidomimetics, including structures that have a non-peptidic backbone. In certain example embodiments, the variants include dimers or multimers of peptides.
  • So that the variants and WT alpha-hemolysin can be manipulated, in certain example embodiments any of the amino acid sequences described herein, such as those set forth as SEQ ID NO: 4-14, and 17-20, and 22, may also include a linker sequences or affinity tags, and further may include sequences for removing such tags (e.g., protease cleavage sites). For example, in some embodiments of the amino acid sequences described herein, the sequences may include a linker/TEV/HisTAG sequence at the C-terminal end having the sequence GLSAENLYFQGHHHHHH (SEQ ID NO: 16, where the TEV sequence is underlined). As those skilled in the art will appreciate, such a sequence allows for the purification of the variant.
  • Nanopore Assembly and Insertion
  • The alpha-hemolysin peptides described herein can be assembled into a multimeric protein assembly (i.e., a nanopore). Hence, the resultant nanopore will include multiple, alpha-hemolysin subunits. For example, a heptameric alpha-hemolysin nanopore includes seven subunits.
  • Any of the alpha-hemolysin variants described herein can be used in nanopore assembly. The subunits of a given nanopore, for example, can be identical copies of the same polypeptide or they can be different polypeptides. For example, each of the seven subunits of a heptameric assembly may have an amino acid sequence corresponding to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22. In other example embodiments, the subunits may include the substitutions identified in SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22, but may only have 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22, respectively.
  • In other example embodiments, each of the subunits may include the same series of substitutions, with one or more of each of subunits of the nanopore having a different overall amino acid sequence. That is, while a particular substitution or combination of substitutions may be conserved among all subunits in a given nanopore, the overall amino acid sequences of the various subunits may be different. In certain example embodiments, a nanopore including variant alpha-hemolysin subunits that are the same or substantially the same provide an improved lifetime as compared to a nanopore having a mixture of different alpha-hemolysin subunits. For example, a nanopore including only alpha-hemolysin variant subunits having 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more sequence identity to one of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22 may have a greater lifetime than a nanopore that includes variant subunits along with wild-type (native) subunits.
  • In certain example embodiments, one or more of the subunits may additionally include substitutions that improve Time-To-Thread as described herein. Hence, resultant nanopore has both improved lifetime and increased Time-to-Thread. In certain example embodiments, the nanopore may include a mixture of the variants described herein and other alpha-hemolysin polypeptides, such as wild-type (native) alpha-hemolysins. In certain example embodiments, the nanopores have a defined ratio of modified subunits (e.g., a-HL variants) to un-modified subunits (e.g., a-HL). In certain example embodiments and as described further below, the nanopore has a polymerase attached to one of the subunits to form a nanopore assembly.
  • Also provided herein are methods for producing multimeric proteins (e.g., nanopores or nanopore assemblies) having a defined ratio of modified subunits to un-modified subunits. With reference to FIG. 27 of WO2014/074727, a method for assembling a protein having a plurality of subunits includes providing a plurality of first subunits 2705 and providing a plurality of second subunits 2710, where the second subunits are modified when compared with the first subunits. In some cases, the first subunits are wild-type (e.g., purified from native sources or produced recombinantly). The second subunits can be modified in any suitable way. In some cases, the second subunits have a protein (e.g., a polymerase) attached (e.g., as a fusion protein).
  • In certain example embodiments, the modified subunits can comprise a chemically reactive moiety (e.g., an azide or an alkyne group suitable for forming a linkage). In some cases, the method further comprises performing a reaction (e.g., a Click chemistry cycloaddition) to attach an entity (e.g., a polymerase) to the chemically reactive moiety.
  • In certain example embodiments, the method can further include contacting the first subunits with the second subunits 2715 in a first ratio to form a plurality of proteins 2720 having the first subunits and the second subunits. For example, one part modified aHL subunits having a reactive group suitable for attaching a polymerase can be mixed with six parts wild-type aHL subunits (i.e., with the first ratio being 1:6). The plurality of proteins can have a plurality of ratios of the first subunits to the second subunits. For example, the mixed subunits can form several nanopores having a distribution of stoichiometries of modified to un-modified subunits (e.g., 1:6, 2:5, 3:4).
  • In certain example embodiments, the proteins are formed by simply mixing the subunits. In the case of aHL nanopores for example, a detergent (e.g., deoxycholic acid) can trigger the aHL monomer to adopt the pore conformation. The nanopores can also be formed, for example, using a lipid (e.g., 1,2-diphytanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPhPC) or 1,2-di-0-phytanyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DoPhPC)) and moderate temperature (e.g., less than about 100° C.). In some cases, mixing DPhPC with a buffer solution creates large multi-lamellar vesicles (LMV), and adding aHL subunits to this solution and incubating the mixture at 40° C. for 30 minutes results in pore formation.
  • If two different types of subunits are used (e.g., the natural wild type protein and a second aHL monomer which can contain a single point mutation), the resulting proteins can have a mixed stoichiometry (e.g., of the wild type and mutant proteins). The stoichiometry of these proteins can, in certain example embodiments, follow a formula which is dependent upon the ratio of the concentrations of the two proteins used in the pore forming reaction. This formula is as follows:

  • 100P m=100[n!/m!(n−m)!]·f mut m ·f wt n˜m, where
      • Pm=probability of a pore having m number of mutant subunits
      • n=total number of subunits (e.g., 7 for aHL)
      • m=number of “mutant” subunits
      • fmut=fraction or ratio of mutant subunits mixed together
      • fwt=fraction or ratio of wild-type subunits mixed together
  • The method can further comprise fractionating the plurality of proteins to enrich proteins that have a second ratio of the first subunits to the second subunits 2725. For example, nanopore proteins can be isolated that have one and only one modified subunit (e.g., a second ratio of 1:6). However, any second ratio is suitable. A distribution of second ratios can also be fractionated such as enriching proteins that have either one or two modified subunits. The total number of subunits forming the protein is not always 7 (e.g., a different nanopore can be used or an alpha-hemolysin nanopore can form having six subunits) as depicted in FIG. 27 of WO2014/074727. In some embodiments, proteins having only one modified subunit are enriched. In such cases, the second ratio is 1 second subunit per (n−1) first subunits where n is the number of subunits comprising the protein.
  • The first ratio can be the same as the second ratio, however this is not required. In some embodiments, proteins having mutated monomers can form less efficiently than those not having mutated subunits. If this is the case, the first ratio can be greater than the second ratio (e.g., if a second ratio of 1 mutated to 6 non-mutated subunits are desired in a nanopore, forming a suitable number of 1:6 proteins may require mixing the subunits at a ratio greater than 1:6).
  • Proteins having different second ratios of subunits can behave differently (e.g., have different retention times) in a separation. In certain example embodiments, the proteins are fractionated using chromatography, such as ion exchange chromatography or affinity chromatography. Since the first and second subunits can be identical apart from the modification, the number of modifications on the protein can serve as a basis for separation. In some cases, either the first or second subunits have a purification tag (e.g., in addition to the modification) to allow or improve the efficiency of the fractionation. In some embodiments, a poly-histidine tag (His-tag), a streptavidin tag (Strep-tag), or other peptide tag is used. In some embodiments, the first and second subunits each comprise different tags and the fractionation step fractionates on the basis of each tag. In the case of a His-tag, a charge is created on the tag at low pH (Histidine residues become positively charged below the pKa of the side chain). With a significant difference in charge on one of the aHL molecules compared to the others, ion exchange chromatography can be used to separate the oligomers which have 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 of the “charge-tagged” aHL subunits. In principle, this charge tag can be a string of any amino acids which carry a uniform charge. FIG. 28 and FIG. 29 show examples of fractionation of nanopores based on a His-tag. FIG. 28 shows a plot of ultraviolet absorbance at 280 nanometers, ultraviolet absorbance at 260 nanometers, and conductivity. The peaks correspond to nanopores with various ratios of modified and unmodified subunits. FIG. 29 of WO2014/074727 shows fractionation of aHL nanopores and mutants thereof using both His-tag and Strep-tags.
  • In certain example embodiments, an entity (e.g., a polymerase) is attached to the protein following fractionation. The protein can be a nanopore protein and the entity can be a polymerase. In some instances, the method further comprises inserting the proteins having the second ratio subunits into a bilayer.
  • As described herein, a nanopore can comprise a plurality of subunits. A polymerase can be attached to one of the subunits and at least one and less than all of the subunits comprise a first purification tag. In some instances, all of the subunits comprise a first purification tag or a second purification tag. The first purification tag can, for example, be a poly-histidine tag (e.g., on the subunit having the polymerase attached).
  • Attachment of Polymerase to Nanopore
  • As described herein, a polymerase (e.g., DNA polymerase) is attached to and/or is located in proximity to the nanopore. Any DNA polymerase capable of synthesizing DNA during a DNA synthesis reaction may be used in accordance with the methods and compositions described herein. Example DNA polymerases include, but are not limited to, phi29 (Bacillus bacteriophage φ29), pol6 (Clostridium phage phiCPV4; GenBank: AFH27113.1) or po17 (Actinomyces phage Av-1; GenBank: ABR67671.1). In certain example embodiments, attached to the nanopore assembly is a DNA-manipulating or modifying enzyme, such as a ligase, nuclease, phosphatase, kinase, transferase, or topoisomerase.
  • In certain example embodiments, the polymerase is a polymerase variant. For example, the polymerase variant may include any of the polymerase variants identified in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/012,317 (published as the US 2016/0222363 A1, also referred to herein as the “317 application”). Such variants include, for example, one or more amino acid substitutions at H223A, N224Y/L, Y225L/T/I/F/A, H227P, 1295 W/F/M/E, Y342L/F, T343N/F, 1357G/L/Q/H/W/M/A/E/Y/P, S360G, L361M/W/V, 1363V, S365Q/W/M/A/G, S366A/L, Y367L/E/M/P/N, P368G, D417P, E475D, Y476V, F478L, K518Q, H527 W/R/L, T529M/F, M531H/Y/A/K/R/W/T/L/V, N535L/Y/M/K/I, G539Y/F, P542E/S, N545K/D/S/L/R, Q546 W/F, A547M/Y/W/F/V/S, L549Q/Y/H/G/R, I550A/W/T/G/F/S, N552L/M/S, G553S/T, F558P/T, A596S, G603T, A610T/E, V615A/T, Y622A/M, C623G/S/Y, D624F, I628Y/V/F, Y629 W/H/M, R632L/C, N635D, M641 L/Y, A643L, I644H/M/Y, T647G/A/E/K/S, I648K/R/V/N/T, T651Y/F/M, I652Q/G/S/N/F/T, K655G/F/E/N, W656E, D657R/P/A, V658L, H660A/Y, F662I/L, L690M, or combinations thereof of SEQ ID NO: 15 (which corresponds to SEQ ID NO: 2 of the '317 application). In certain example embodiments, the polymerase includes one or more such substitutions and has 80%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 15. As described in the '317 application, the polymerase variant may have altered enzyme activity, fidelity, processivity, elongation rate, sequencing accuracy, long continuous read capability, stability, or solubility relative to the parental polymerase.
  • The polymerase can be attached to the nanopore assembly in any suitable way known in the art. See, for example, PCT/US2013/068967 (published as WO2014/074727; Genia Technologies), PCT/US2005/009702 (published as WO2006/028508), and PCT/US2011/065640 (published as WO2012/083249; Columbia Univ). In certain example embodiments, the polymerase is attached to the nanopore (e.g., hemolysin) protein monomer and then the full nanopore heptamer is assembled (e.g., in a ratio of one monomer with an attached polymerase to 6 nanopore (e.g., hemolysin) monomers without an attached polymerase). The nanopore heptamer can then be inserted into the membrane.
  • Another method for attaching a polymerase to a nanopore involves attaching a linker molecule to a hemolysin monomer or mutating a hemolysin monomer to have an attachment site and then assembling the full nanopore heptamer (e.g., at a ratio of one monomer with linker and/or attachment site to 6 hemolysin monomers with no linker and/or attachment site). A polymerase can then be attached to the attachment site or attachment linker (e.g., in bulk, before inserting into the membrane). The polymerase can also be attached to the attachment site or attachment linker after the (e.g., heptamer) nanopore is formed in the membrane. In some cases, a plurality of nanopore-polymerase pairs are inserted into a plurality of membranes (e.g., disposed over the wells and/or electrodes) of the biochip. In some instances, the attachment of the polymerase to the nanopore complex occurs on the biochip above each electrode.
  • The polymerase can be attached to the nanopore with any suitable chemistry (e.g., covalent bond and/or linker). In some cases, the polymerase is attached to the nanopore with molecular staples. In some instances, molecular staples comprise three amino acid sequences (denoted linkers A, B and C). Linker A can extend from a hemolysin monomer, Linker B can extend from the polymerase, and Linker C then can bind Linkers A and B (e.g., by wrapping around both Linkers A and B) and thus the polymerase to the nanopore. Linker C can also be constructed to be part of Linker A or Linker B, thus reducing the number of linker molecules.
  • In certain example embodiments, the polymerase is linked to the nanopore using Solulink™ chemistry. Solulink™ can be a reaction between HyNic (6-hydrazino-nicotinic acid, an aromatic hydrazine) and 4FB (4-formylbenzoate, an aromatic aldehyde). In some instances, the polymerase is linked to the nanopore using Click chemistry (available from LifeTechnologies for example). In some cases, zinc finger mutations are introduced into the hemolysin molecule and then a molecule is used (e.g., a DNA intermediate molecule) to link the polymerase to the zinc finger sites on the hemolysin.
  • Additionally or alternatively, the SpyTag/SpyCatcher system, which spontaneously forms covalent isopeptide linkages under physiological conditions, may be used to join an alpha-hemolysin monomer to the polymerase. See, for example, Li et al, J Mol Biol. 2014 Jan. 23; 426(2):309-17. For example, an alpha-hemolysin protein can be expressed having a SpyTag domain. Further, the DNA polymerase to be joined to the alpha-hemolysin may be separately expressed as fusion protein having a SpyCatcher domain. By mixing the alpha-hemolysin/SpyTag fusion protein with the DNA Polymerase/SpyCatcher protein, the SpyTag and SpyCatcher proteins interact to form the alpha-hemolysin monomer that is linked to a DNA polymerase via a covalent isopeptide linkage. In certain example embodiments, the SpyTag domain is attached to the alpha-hemolysin via a linker sequence. For example, the linker-SpyTag protein may include the sequence GGSSGGSSGGAHIVMVDAYKPTK (SEQ ID NO: 21), with the underlined portion being the linker sequence and the bolded portion being the SpyTag sequence. In certain example embodiments, a HisTag is attached to the SpyTag sequence of the SpyTag sequence. For example, the HisTag may be linked to the SpyTag via a KG linker.
  • In certain example embodiments, the polymerase may be attached to a nanopore monomer before the nanopore monomer is incorporated into a nanopore assembly. For example, following expression and purification of the alpha-hemolysin/SpyTag fusion protein, the purified alpha-hemolysin/SpyTag fusion protein is mixed with purified polymerase/SpyCatcher fusion protein, thus allowing the SpyTag and SpyCatcher proteins bind each other to form an alpha-hemolysin/polymerase monomer. The monomer can then be incorporated into the nanopore assembly as described herein to form a heptameric assembly.
  • In certain example embodiments, the polymerase is attached to the nanopore assembly after formation of the nanopore assembly. For example, following expression and purification of the alpha-hemolysin/SpyTag fusion protein, the fusion protein is incorporated into the nanopore assembly to form the heptameric nanopore assembly. The polymerase/SpyCatcher fusion protein is then mixed with the heptameric assembly, thus allowing the SpyTag and SpyCatcher proteins bind each other, which in turn results in binding of the polymerase to the nanopore assembly.
  • Because of the nature of nanopore-based sequencing reaction, those skilled in the art will appreciate that it is beneficial to have only a single polymerase associated with each nanopore assembly (rather than multiple polymerases). To achieve such assemblies, the nanopore assembly may be configured, for example, to have only a single SpyTag, which therefore allows the attachment of a single polymerase/SpyCatcher.
  • In the case of alpha-hemolysin, for example, mixing the alpha-hemolysin/SpyTag proteins with additional alpha-hemolysin proteins results in heptamers having 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 alpha-hemolysin/SpyTag subunits. Yet because of the different number of SpyTag sequences (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7) associated with each heptamer, the heptamers have different charges. Hence, in certain example embodiments, the heptamers can be separated by methods known in the art, such as via elution with cation exchange chromatography. The eluted fractions can then be examined to determine which fraction includes an assembly with a single SpyTag. The fraction with a single SpyTag can then be used to attach a single polymerase to each assembly, thereby creating a nanopore assemblies with a single polymerase attached thereto.
  • While a variety of methods may be suitable for determining which heptamer fraction contains a single SpyTag (and that is hence capable of binding a only single polymerase/SpyCatcher fusion protein per heptamer), in certain example embodiments the different heptamer fraction can be separated based on molecular weight, such as via SDS-PAGE. A reagent can then be used to confirm the presence of SpyTag associated with each fraction. For example, a SpyCatcher-GFP (green fluorescent protein) can be added to the fractions before separation via SDS-PAGE.
  • Because heptamers with fewer numbers of SpyTags are smaller than the heptamers with greater number of SpyTags, the fraction with a single SpyTag can be identified, as evidenced by the furthest band migration and the presence of GFP fluorescence in the SDS-PAGE gel corresponding to the band. For example, a fraction containing seven alpha-hemolysin monomers and zero SpyTag fusion proteins will migrate the furthest, but will not fluoresce when mixed with SpyCatcher-GFP because of the absence of the SpyTag bound to the heptamers. The fraction containing a single SpyTag, however, will both migrate the next furthest (compared to other fluorescent bands) and will fluoresce, thereby allowing identification of the fraction with a single SpyTag bound to the heptamer. Following identification of the fraction with a single SpyTag bound to the heptamer, the polymerase/SpyCatcher fusion protein can then be added to this fraction, thereby linking the polymerase to the nanopore assembly.
  • By using the methods and compositions described herein, a nanopore assembly tethered to a single DNA polymerase—and including one or more of the alpha hemolysin variants as described herein—can be achieved. For example, a heptameric nanopore may include seven variant subunits, with each subunit having a sequence corresponding to one of the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22 or to an amino acid sequence that is, respectively, 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more identical thereto, with a DNA polymerase attached to one of the subunits.
  • Apparatus Set-Up
  • The nanopore described herein may be formed or otherwise embedded in a membrane disposed adjacent to a sensing electrode of a sensing circuit, such as an integrated circuit. The integrated circuit may be an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). In some examples, the integrated circuit is a field effect transistor or a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS). The sensing circuit may be situated in a chip or other device having the nanopore, or off of the chip or device, such as in an off-chip configuration. The semiconductor can be any semiconductor, including, without limitation, Group IV (e.g., silicon) and Group III-V semiconductors (e.g., gallium arsenide). See, for example, WO 2013/123450, for the apparatus and device set-up for sensing a nucleotide or tag.
  • Pore based sensors (e.g., biochips) can be used for electro-interrogation of single molecules. A pore based sensor can include a nanopore of the present disclosure formed in a membrane that is disposed adjacent or in proximity to a sensing electrode. The sensor can include a counter electrode. The membrane includes a trans side (i.e., side facing the sensing electrode) and a cis side (i.e., side facing the counter electrode).
  • In certain example embodiments, a nanopore including one or more of the alpha-hemolysin variants described herein, will have an improved nanopore lifetime relative to a nanopore including wild-type alpha-hemolysin (i.e., a nanopore without any of the substitutions described herein). In certain example embodiments, the greater the number of variants included in the nanopore corresponds to a greater level of improvement in nanopore lifetime. For example, a heptameric nanopore where each of the seven alpha-hemolysin subunits corresponds to one of the sequences set forth as SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22 or a sequence that is, respectively, 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 98% or more identical thereto, may have a longer lifetime than a nanopore including only wild-type (native) alpha-hemolysin or fewer than seven variants. That is, in certain example embodiments, the greater of number of variants included in the nanopore corresponds to a longer nanopore lifetime. In certain example embodiments, all seven of the subunits of a heptameric nanopore include substitutions, such as the same substitution or overlapping substitutions that improve nanopore lifetime. The variants in a given nanopore may be the same variant or a combination of different variants.
  • In certain example embodiments, the lifetime of a nanopore including one or more alpha-hemolysin variants as described herein, such as those provided in SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, and 22, is increased by about 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% or more as compared to a nanopore including only wild-type (native) alpha-hemolysin. In certain example embodiments, the lifetime of a nanopore including one or more alpha-hemolysin variants as described herein is doubled or tripled as compared to a nanopore including only wild-type (native) alpha-hemolysin.
  • In certain example embodiments, in addition to an improved nanopore lifetime, the time for a tag to thread through the pore (the time-to-thread or TTT) may be decreased. For example, the TTT for a nanopore comprising one or more of the variants described herein may be decreased by about 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% or more as compared to a heptameric nanopore assembly consisting of wild-type (native) alpha-hemolysin. As such, a nanopore including one or more of the variants described herein may having an increased lifetime of 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% or more—as well as a decreased TTT of 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% or more—as compared to a heptameric nanopore assembly consisting of wild-type (native) alpha-hemolysin.
  • In the experimental disclosure that follows, the following abbreviations apply: eq (equivalents); M (Molar); μM (micromolar); N (Normal); mol (moles); mmol (millimoles); μmol (micromoles); nmol (nanomoles); g (grams); mg (milligrams); kg (kilograms); μg (micrograms); L (liters); ml (milliliters); μl (microliters); cm (centimeters); mm (millimeters); μm (micrometers); nm (nanometers); ° C. (degrees Centigrade); h (hours); min (minutes); sec (seconds); msec (milliseconds).
  • EXAMPLES
  • The present invention is described in further detain in the following examples which are not in any way intended to limit the scope of the invention as claimed. The attached Figures are meant to be considered as integral parts of the specification and description of the invention. All references cited are herein specifically incorporated by reference for all that is described therein. The following examples are offered to illustrate, but not to limit the claimed invention.
  • Example 1 Expression and Recovery
  • This example illustrates the expression and recovery of protein from bacterial host cells, e.g., E. coli.
  • DNA encoding the wild-type a-HL was purchased from a commercial source. The sequence was verified by sequencing.
  • Plasmid Construction.
  • The gene encoding either a wild-type or variant α-hemolysin was inserted into a pPR-IBA2 plasmid (IBA Life Sciences, Germany) under the control of T7 promoter.
  • Transformation.
  • E. coli BL21 DE3 (from Life Technologies) cells were transformed with the expression vector comprising the DNA encoding the wild-type or variant α-hemolysin using techniques well-known in the art. Briefly, the cells were thawed on ice (if frozen). Next, the desired DNA (in a suitable vector/plasmid) was added directly into the competent cells (should not exceed 5% of that of the competent cells) and mixed by flicking the tube. The tubes were placed on ice for 20 minutes. Next, the cells were placed in a 42° C. water bath for 45 seconds without mixing, followed by placing the tubes on ice for 2 min. The cells were then transferred to a 15 ml sterilized culture tube containing 0.9 ml of SOC medium (pre-warmed at room temperature) and cultured at 37° C. for 1 hr in a shaker. Finally, an aliquot of the cells were spread onto a LB agar plate containing the appropriate antibiotic and the plates incubated at 37° C. overnight.
  • Protein Expression.
  • Following transformation, colonies were picked and inoculated into a small volume (e.g., 3 ml) of growth medium (e.g., LB broth) containing the appropriate antibiotic with shaking at 37° C., overnight.
  • The next morning, transfer 1 ml of the overnight culture to a new 100 ml of autoinduction medium, e.g., Magic Media (Life Technologies) containing an appropriate antibiotic to select the expression plasmid. Grow the culture with shaking at 25° C. approximately 16 hrs but this depended on the expression plasmids. Cells were harvested by centrifugation at 3,000 g for 20 min at 4° C. and stored at −80° C. until used.
  • Purification.
  • Cells were lysed via sonication. The alpha-hemolysin was purified to homogeneity by affinity column chromatography.
  • Example 2 Alpha-Hemolysin Variants
  • The following example details the introduction of a mutation at a desired residue.
  • Mutations.
  • Site-directed mutagenesis is carried out using a QuikChange Multi Site-Directed Mutagenesis kit (Stratagene, La Jolla, Calif.) to prepare the example H35G+V149K+H144A (SEQ ID NO: 4) and H35G+E111N+M113A+126−131G+H144A+K147N (SEQ ID NO: 19), with the sequences including a C-terminal linker/TEV/HisTag for purification. QuikChange Multi Site-Directed Mutagenesis kit (Stratagene, La Jolla, Calif.) is also carried out to prepare a variant (E111N+M113A+126−131G+K147N, SEQ ID NO: 20) for Polymerase attachment, with the variant including a C-terminal SpyTag, KG linker, and HisTag. The variants were expressed and purified as in Example 1.
  • Example 3 Assembly of Nanopore Including Variants
  • This example describes the assembly of a 1:6 heptameric nanopore including one subunit having a SpyTag sequence for subsequent polymerase attachment (the “α-HL-variant-SpyTag” subunit) and six α-HL-variant subunits with no SpyTag (the “α-HL-variant” subunits).
  • The α-HL-variant-SpyTag (E111N+M113A+126−131G+K147N, SEQ ID NO: 20)) was prepared and expressed as described in Examples 1 and 2 with a C-terminal SpyTag, KG linker, and HisTag. The α-HL-variant-SpyTag protein was then then purified on a cobalt affinity column using a cobalt elution buffer (200 mM NaCl, 300 mM imidazole, 50 mM tris, pH 8). The protein was stored at 4° C. if used within 5 days, otherwise 8% trehalose was added and stored at −80° C.
  • For the α-HL-variant subunits, variants of H35G+E111N+M113A+126-131G+H144A+K147N (SEQ ID NO: 19) were prepared and expressed as described in Examples 1 and 2 with a linker/TEV/HisTag and purified on a cobalt affinity column using a cobalt elution buffer (200 mM NaCl, 300 mM imidazole, 50 mM tris, pH 8). The α-HL-variant protein was then incubated with 1 mg of TEV protease for every 5 mg of protein at 4 C for 4 hours. After incubation with TEV protease the mixture is purified on a cobalt affinity column to remove TEV protease and undigested protein. The proteins were stored at 4° C. if used within 5 days, otherwise 8% trehalose was added and stored at −80° C.
  • Using approximately 10 mg of total protein, the α-HL-variant-SpyTag to desired α-HL-variant protein solutions were mixed together at a 1:9 ratio to ultimately facilitate the formation of a mixture of heptamers at the desired ratio. It is expected that such a mixture heptamers will result in various fractions that include varying ratios of α-HL-variant-SpyTag to α-HL-variant protein (0:7; 1:6, 2:5, 3:4, etc.), where the α-HL-variant-SpyTag component is present as 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or seven monomeric subunits of the heptamer.
  • Diphytanoylphosphatidylcholine (DPhPC) lipid was solubilized in either 50 mM Tris, 200 mM NaCl, pH 8 or 150 mM KCl, 30 mM HEPES, pH 7.5 to a final concentration of 50 mg/ml and added to the mixture of α-HL monomers to a final concentration of 5 mg/ml. The mixture of the α-HL monomers was incubated at 37° C. for at least 60 min. Thereafter, n-Octyl-β-D-Glucopyranoside (130G) was added to a final concentration of 5% (weight/volume) to solubilize the resulting lipid-protein mixture. The sample was centrifuged to clear protein aggregates and left over lipid complexes and the supernatant was collected for further purification.
  • The mixture of α-HL heptamers was then subjected to cation exchange purification and the elution fractions collected. For each fraction, two samples were prepared for SDS-PAGE. The first sample included 15 uL of α-HL eluate alone and the second sample was combined with 3 ug of SpyCatcher-GFP. The samples were then incubated and sheltered from light and at room temperature for 1-16 hours. Following incubation, 5 uL of 4× Laemmli SDS-PAGE buffer (Bio-Rad™) was added to each sample. The samples and a PrecisionPlus™ Stain-Free protein ladder were then loaded onto a 4-20% Mini-PROTEAN Stain-Free protein precast gel (Bio-Rad). The gels were ran at 200 mV for 30 minutes. The gels were then imaged using a Stain-Free filter.
  • The conjugation of SpyCatcher-GFP to heptameric α-HL/SpyTag can be observed through molecular weight band shifts during SDS-PAGE. Heptamers containing a single SpyTag will bind a single SpyCatcher-GFP molecular and will thus have a shift that corresponds to the molecular weight of the heptameric pore plus the molecular weight of a single SpyCatcher-GFP, while heptamers with two or more SpyTags should have correspondingly larger molecular weight shifts. Therefore, the peaks eluted off of the cation exchange column during heptameric α-HL purification above can be analyzed for the ratio of α-HL/SpyTag to α-HL-variant. In addition, the presence of SpyCatcher-GFP attachment can be observed using a GFP-fluorescence filter when imaging the SDS-PAGE gels.
  • Based on this rationale, the fraction whose molecular weight shift corresponded to a single addition of SpyCatcher-GFP was determined using a molecular weight standard protein ladder. Bio-Rad's stain-free imaging system was used to determine the molecular weight shift. The presence of GFP fluorescence was determined using a blue filter. The presence of fluorescence was used to confirm the presence of the SpyTag protein. The elution fraction corresponding to the 1:6 ratio, i.e., one α-HL-variant-SpyTag to six α-HL-variants, was then used for further experiments.
  • Using these same or similar procedures, a 1:6 heptamer was also produced having a V149K substitution added to each of the H35G+E111N+M113A+126−131G+H144A+K147N (SEQ ID NO: 19) α-HL-variants. That is, the “six” component of the 1:6 heptamer included a V149K substitution, with the α-HL-variant-SpyTag “one” component being E111N+M113A+126−131G+K147N denoted as N rectification in Table 1 (SEQ ID NO: 20).
  • In addition to the 1:6 heptamers described above, these same or similar procedures were used to create a 1:6 heptamer having six H35G+V149K+H144A (SEQ ID NO: 4) α-HL-variants. More particularly, such 1:6 heptamers have a wild-type α-HL-SpyTag as the “one” component of the 1:6 ratio and a “six” component including six H35G+V149K+H144A (SEQ ID NO: 4) α-HL-variants.
  • Example 4 Attachment of a Polymerase
  • This example provides for the attachment of a polymerase to a nanopore.
  • The polymerase may be coupled to the nanopore by any suitable means. See, for example, PCT/US2013/068967 (published as WO2014/074727; Genia Technologies), PCT/US2005/009702 (published as WO2006/028508), and PCT/US2011/065640 (published as WO2012/083249; Columbia Univ).
  • The polymerase, e.g., phi29 DNA Polymerase, was coupled to a protein nanopore (e.g. alpha-hemolysin), through a linker molecule. Specifically, the SpyTag and SpyCatcher system, which spontaneously forms covalent isopeptide linkages under physiological conditions, was used. See, for example, Li et al, J Mol Biol. 2014 Jan. 23; 426(2):309-17.
  • Briefly, the Sticky phi29 SpyCatcher HisTag was expressed according to Example 1 and purified using a cobalt affinity column. The SpyCatcher polymerase and the SpyTag oligomerized protein were incubated at a 1:1 molar ratio overnight at 4° C. in 3 mM SrCl2. The 1:6-polymerase-template complex is then purified using size-exclusion chromatography.
  • Example 5 Activity of the Variants
  • This example shows the activity of the nanopores as provided by Examples 1-4 (nanopores with an attached polymerase).
  • The variant nanopores were assayed to determine the effect of the substitutions. More particularly, the 1:6 ratio nanopores with the “one” component of the nanopore including the α-HL-variant-SpyTag (with the polymerase attached) and the “six” component including the α-HL-variants were assayed to determine the effect of the substitutions on nanopore lifetime. Nanopores also including the V149K substitution were similarly assayed to determined nanopore lifetime (see Table 1, below). Further, nanopores having the 1:6 wild-type α-HL-SpyTag (with polymerase attached) as the “one” component and six H35G+V149K+H144A (SEQ ID NO: 4) α-HL-variants as the “six” component were analyzed for the effect of the substitutions on Time-To-Thread.
  • To perform the assays, the bilayers were formed and pores were inserted as described in PCT/US14/61853 filed 23 Oct. 2014. The nanopore device (or sensor) used to detect a molecule (and/or sequence a nucleic acid) was set-up as described in WO2013123450.
  • Assessment of Nanopore Lifetime
  • This assay was designed to measure the time a nanopore is able to function properly in a lipid bilayer under the effect of alternating voltages, i.e., squarewaves.
  • To measure the nanopore lifetime we have devised an assay that uses alternating positive and negative voltages (squarewaves) to pore lifetime. Our sequencing complex is comprised of a protein nanopore (αHL) which is attached to a single DNA polymerase (see Example 4). Current passes differently through the pore in the positive and negative applied voltages. Nanopores may pass ions differently under positive compared to negative voltages. This leads to a pumping of salt and water ions out of the well. Over the lifetime of the pore, this process gradually deforms the bilayer, and causes the nanopore to no longer conduct ions across the bilayer. When this happens, it marks the end of the pore lifetime. These times are then recorded and plotted as a histogram, as shown in FIG. 1A, FIG. 2A, and FIG. 3A.
  • To carry out the “lifetime” assay, the Genia Sequencing device is used with a Genia Sequencing Chip. The electrodes are conditioned and phospholipid bilayers are established on the chip as explained in PCT/US2013/026514. Genia's sequencing complex is inserted to the bilayers following the protocol described in PCT/US2013/026514 (published as WO2013/123450). The pore lifetime data was collected using a buffer system comprised of 20 mM HEPES pH 8, 300 mM KGlu, 3 uM tagged nucleotide, 3 mM Mg2+, with a voltage applied of 235 mV peak to peak with a modulation rate of 80 Hz.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1A-1B, 2A-2B, and 3A-3B, nanopores including 1:6 ratios of α-HL-variant-SpyTag (E111N+M113A+126−131G+K147N, SEQ ID NO: 20) and α-HL-variant subunits (H35G+E111N+M113A+126−131G+H144A+K147N (SEQ ID NO: 19)) showed significantly improved lifetimes. And, while addition V149K substitution did reduce the overall level of improved lifetime of the nanopores, the lifetime was nevertheless improved by 5.4% to ˜26% of pores lasting at least 1 hour (as compared to controls) (see Table 1).
  • TABLE 1
    Assessment of V149K on improved nanopore lifetime. Briefly,
    Different pore types were tested for both Time-to-Thread and Pore
    Lifetime under different conditions. E111N + M113A + 126-131G +
    K147N are referred to as “N Rectification” in order to conserve
    space. N Rectification pores have a longer pore lifetime than their H144A
    or V149K counterparts. When V149K and N Rectification mutations are
    combined, the resulting mutant has >2x the pore lifetime of V149K
    alone when diluted to 0.0001 uM.
    Average Percent
    Pore Buffer of Single Pores
    Concentration Conditions that Lasted at
    Pore Type on Chip (uM) (mM KGlu) Least 1 Hour
    H144A* — enriched 300/380 17.9
    V149K* — enriched 300/380 13.4
    N Rectification 0.0001 380/380 88
    V149K + 0.001 380/380 5.4
    N Rectification
    V149K + 0.0001 380/380 27.8
    N Rectification
    V149K + 0.00005 380/380 24.7
    N Rectification
  • Assessment of Time-to-Thread
  • This assay was designed to measure the time it takes to capture a tagged molecule by a DNA polymerase attached to the nanopore using alternating voltages, i.e., squarewaves.
  • To measure the time it takes to capture a tagged nucleotide by a DNA polymerase in our sequencing complex we have devised an assay that uses alternating positive and negative voltages (squarewaves) to determine the amount of time this takes. Our sequencing complex is comprised of a protein nanopore (αHL) which is attached to a single DNA polymerase (see Example 4). The tagged nucleotides are negatively charged, and are therefore attracted to the nanopore when the voltage applied is positive in nature, and repelled when the voltage applied to the nanopore sequencing complex is negative. So we can measure the time it takes for a tag to thread into the pore by cycling the voltage between positive and negative potentials and determine how much time the nanopore's current is unobstructed (open channel) verses when the tag is threaded (reduced current flux).
  • To carry out the “time-to-thread” assay, the Genia Sequencing device is used with a Genia Sequencing Chip. The electrodes are conditioned and phospholipid bilayers are established on the chip as explained in PCT/US2013/026514. Genia's sequencing complex is inserted to the bilayers following the protocol described in PCT/US2013/026514 (published as WO2013/123450). The time-to-thread data was collected using a buffer system comprised of 20 mM HEPES pH 8, 300 mM KGlu, 3 uM tagged nucleotide, 3 mM Mg2+, with a voltage applied of 235 mV peak to peak with a duty cycle of 80 Hz.
  • After the data was collected, it was analyzed for squarewaves that showed the capture of a tagged nucleotide (threaded level) which lasted to the end of the positive portion of the squarewave, and was followed by another tag capture on the subsequent squarewave. The time-to-thread was measured by determining how long the second squarewave reported unobstructed open channel current. As an example, if 10 consecutive squarewaves showed tagged nucleotide captures that lasted to the end of the positive portion of the squarewave then the time-to-thread parameter would be calculated from squarewaves 2-10 (the first squarewave does not factor into the calculation because the polymerase did not have a tag bound to it in the previous squarewave). These time-to-thread numbers were then collected for all of the pores in the experiment and statistical parameters extracted from them (such as a mean, median, standard deviation etc.).
  • Results for the H35G+V149K+H144A variant, as compared to controls, are shown in FIGS. 4A-4B.
  • It is understood that the examples and embodiments described herein are for illustrative purposes only and that various modifications or changes in light thereof will be suggested to persons skilled in the art and are to be included within the spirit and purview of this application and scope of the appended claims. All publications, patents, and patent applications cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
  • The sequences disclosed in this application are set forth as follows:
  • SEQUENCE LISTING FREE TEXT
    SEQ ID NO: 1 (WT aHL DNA)
    ATGGCAGATC TCGATCCCGC GAAATTAATA CGACTCACTA TAGGGAGGCC 50
    ACAACGGTTT CCCTCTAGAA ATAATTTTGT TTAACTTTAA GAAGGAGATA 100
    TACAAATGGA TTCAGATATT AATATTAAAA CAGGTACAAC AGATATTGGT 150
    TCAAATACAA CAGTAAAAAC TGGTGATTTA GTAACTTATG ATAAAGAAAA 200
    TGGTATGCAT AAAAAAGTAT TTTATTCTTT TATTGATGAT AAAAATCATA 250
    ATAAAAAATT GTTAGTTATT CGTACAAAAG GTACTATTGC AGGTCAATAT 300
    AGAGTATATA GTGAAGAAGG TGCTAATAAA AGTGGTTTAG CATGGCCATC 350
    TGCTTTTAAA GTTCAATTAC AATTACCTGA TAATGAAGTA GCACAAATTT 400
    CAGATTATTA TCCACGTAAT AGTATTGATA CAAAAGAATA TATGTCAACA 450
    TTAACTTATG GTTTTAATGG TAATGTAACA GGTGATGATA CTGGTAAAAT 500
    TGGTGGTTTA ATTGGTGCTA ATGTTTCAAT TGGTCATACA TTAAAATATG 550
    TACAACCAGA TTTTAAAACA ATTTTAGAAA GTCCTACTGA TAAAAAAGTT 600
    GGTTGGAAAG TAATTTTTAA TAATATGGTT AATCAAAATT GGGGTCCTTA 650
    TGATCGTGAT AGTTGGAATC CTGTATATGG TAATCAATTA TTTATGAAAA 700
    CAAGAAATGG TTCTATGAAA GCAGCTGATA ATTTCTTAGA TCCAAATAAA 750
    GCATCAAGTT TATTATCTTC AGGTTTTTCT CCTGATTTTG CAACAGTTAT 800
    TACTATGGAT AGAAAAGCAT CAAAACAACA AACAAATATT GATGTTATTT 850
    ATGAACGTGT AAGAGATGAT TATCAATTAC ATTGGACATC AACTAATTGG 900
    AAAGGTACAA ATACTAAAGA TAAATGGACA GATAGAAGTT CAGAAAGATA 950
    TAAAATTGAT TGGGAAAAAG AAGAAATGAC AAATGGTCTC AGCGCTTGGA 1000
    GCCACCCGCA GTTCGAAAAA TAA 1023
    SEQ ID NO: 2 (WT aHL amino acids) [as expressed in E. coli]
    MADSDINIKT GTTDIGSNTT VKTGDLVTYD KENGMHKKVF YSFIDDKNHN 50
    KKLLVIRTKG TIAGQYRVYS EEGANKSGLA WPSAFKVQLQ LPDNEVAQIS 100
    DYYPRNSIDT KEYMSTLTYG FNGNVTGDDT GKIGGLIGAN VSIGHTLKYV 150
    QPDFKTILES PTDKKVGWKV IFNNMVNQNW GPYDRDSWNP VYGNQLFMKT 200
    RNGSMKAADN FLDPNKASSL LSSGFSPDFA TVITMDRKAS KQQTNIDVIY 250
    ERVRDDYQLH WTSTNWKGTN TKDKWTDRSS ERYKIDWEKE EMTNGLSAWS 300
    HPQFEK 306
    SEQ ID NO: 3 (Mature WT aHL, with purification tag)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGMHKKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIGHTLKYVQ 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTNGLSAWSH 300
    PQFEK 305
    SEQ ID NO: 4 (H35G + V149K + H144A)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM G KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIG A TLKY K Q 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 5 (H35G + H144A + V149K + E287R)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM G KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIG A TLKY K Q 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDW R KEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 6 (V149K + E287R)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGMGKKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIGHTLKY K Q 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDW R KEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 7 (T109K + H35G)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM G KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSID K K EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIGATLKYVQ 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 8 (P151K + H35G)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM G KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIGATLKYVQ 150
    K DFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 9 (V149K + P151K + H35G)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM G KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIGATLKY K Q 150
    K DFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 10 (T109K + V149K + H35G)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM G KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSID K K EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIGATLKY K Q 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 11 (V149K + K147N + E111N + 127 - 131G +
    M113A + H35G)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM G KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK  N Y A STLTYGF NGNVTG GGGG G IGGLIGANV SIGATL N Y K Q 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 12 (V149K + K147N + E111N + 127 - 131G + M113A)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGMHKKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK  N Y A STLTYGF NGNVTG GGGG G IGGLIGANV SIGHTL N Y K Q 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 13 (T109K + V149K + P151K + H35G)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM G KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSID K K EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIGATLKY K Q 150
    K DFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 14 (Mature WT aHL; AAA26598)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGMHKKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK EYMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIGHTLKYVQ 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 15 (Pol6 with His Tag)
    MHHHHHHHHS GGSDKHTQYV KEHSFNYDEY KKANFDKIEC LIFDTESCTN 50
    YENDNTGARV YGWGLGVTRN HNMIYGQNLN QFWEVCQNIF NDWYHDNKHT 100
    IKITKTKKGF PKRKYIKFPI AVHNLGWDVE FLKYSLVENG FNYDKGLLKT 150
    VFSKGAPYQT VTDVEEPKTF HIVQNNNIVY GCNVYMDKFF EVENKDGSTT 200
    EIGLCLDFFD SYKIITCAES QFHNYVHDVD PMFYKMGEEY DYDTWRSPTH 250
    KQTTLELRYQ YNDIYMLREV IEQFYIDGLC GGELPLTGMR TASSIAFNVL 300
    KKMTFGEEKT EEGYINYFEL DKKTKFEFLR KRIEMESYTG GYTHANHKAV 350
    GKTINKIGCS LDINSSYPSQ MAYKVFPYGK PVRKTWGRKP KTEKNEVYLI 400
    EVGFDFVEPK HEEYALDIFK IGAVNSKALS PITGAVSGQE YFCTNIKDGK 450
    AIPVYKELKD TKLTTNYNVV LTSVEYEFWI KHFNFGVFKK DEYDCFEVDN 500
    LEFTGLKIGS ILYYKAEKGK FKPYVDHFTK MKVENKKLGN KPLTNQAKLI 550
    LNGAYGKFGT KQNKEEKDLI MDKNGLLTFT GSVTEYEGKE FYRPYASFVT 600
    AYGRLQLWNA IIYAVGVENF LYCDTDSIYC NREVNSLIED MNAIGETIDK 650
    TILGKWDVEH VFDKFKVLGQ KKYMYHDCKE DKTDLKCCGL PSDARKIIIG 700
    QGFDEFYLGK NVEGKKQRKK VIGGCLLLDT LFTIKKIMF* 739
    SEQ ID NO: 16 (Linker/TEV/HisTag (TEV portion underlined))
    GLSAENLYFQGHHHHHH
    SEQ ID NO: 17 (E111N + 126 - 131G + H144A + K147N)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGMHKKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK  N YMSTLTYGF NGNVTG GGG G  G IGGLIGANV SIG A TL N YVQ 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 18 (H35G + E111N + H144A + K147N)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00001
    KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK
    50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK 
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00002
    YMSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGLIGANV SIG
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00003
    TL
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00002
    YVQ
    150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 19 (H35G + E111N + M113A + 126 - 131G +
    H144A + K147N)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGM
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00001
    KKVFY SFIDDKNHNK
    50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK 
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00004
    Y
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00003
    STLTYGF NGNVTG
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00005
    G 
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00001
    IGGLIGANV SIG
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00003
    TL
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00004
    YVQ
    150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 20 (E111N + M113A + 126 - 131G + K147N)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGMHKKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK 
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00004
    Y
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00003
    STLTYGF NGNVTG
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00005
    G 
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00001
    IGGLIGANV SIGHTL
    Figure US20180002750A1-20180104-P00004
    YVQ
    150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
    SEQ ID NO: 21 (linker-SpyTag protein, with linker underlined
    and SpyTag in bold)
    GGSSGGSSGG AHIVMVDAYKPTK
    SEQ ID NO: 22 (E111S - M113S - T145S - K147S - L135I)
    ADSDINIKTG TTDIGSNTTV KTGDLVTYDK ENGMHKKVFY SFIDDKNHNK 50
    KLLVIRTKGT IAGQYRVYSE EGANKSGLAW PSAFKVQLQL PDNEVAQISD 100
    YYPRNSIDTK SYSSTLTYGF NGNVTGDDTG KIGGIIGANV SIGASLSYVQ 150
    PDFKTILESP TDKKVGWKVI FNNMVNQNWG PYDRDSWNPV YGNQLFMKTR 200
    NGSMKAADNF LDPNKASSLL SSGFSPDFAT VITMDRKASK QQTNIDVIYE 250
    RVRDDYQLHW TSTNWKGTNT KDKWTDRSSE RYKIDWEKEE MTN 293
  • CITATION LIST Patent Literature
    • [1] PCT/US2013/026514 (published as WO2013/123450) entitled “Methods for Creating Bilayers for Use with Nanopore Sensors”
    • [2] PCT/US2013/068967 (published as WO 2014/074727) entitled “Nucleic Acid Sequencing Using Tags”
    • [3] PCT/US14/61853 filed 23 Oct. 2014 entitled “Methods for Forming Lipid Bilayers on Biochips”
    Non-Patent Literature
    • [4] Aksimentiev and Schulten, Imaging a-Hemolysin with Molecular Dynamics: Ionic Conductance, Osmotic Permeability, and the Electrostatic Potential Map, Biophysical Journal (2005) 88: 3745-3761.
    • [5] Butler et al., Single-molecule DNA detection with an engineered MspA protein nanopore, PNAS (2008) 105(52): 20647-20652.
    • [6] Korchev et al., Low Conductance States of a Single Ion Channel are not ‘Closed’, J. Membrane Biol. (1995) 147:233-239.
    • [7] Krasilnikov and Sabirov, Ion Transport Through Channels Formed in Lipid Bilayers by Staphylococcus aureus Alpha-Toxin, Gen. Physiol. Biophys. (1989) 8:213-222.
    • [8] Nakane et al., A Nanosensor for Transmembrane Capture and Identification of Single Nucleic Acid Molecules, Biophys. J. (2004) 87:615-621.
    • [9] Rhee and Burns, Nanopore sequencing technology: nanopore preparations, TRENDS in Biotech. (2007) 25(4):174-181.
    • [10] Song et al., Structure of Staphylococcal a-Hemolysin, a Heptameric Transmembrane Pore, Science (1996) 274:1859-1866.
    • [11] Kasianowicz et al., Nanometer-scale pores: potential applications for analyte detection and DNA characterization, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (1996) 93:13770-13773.
    • [12] Akeson et al., Microsecond timescale discrimination among polycytidylic acid, polyadenylic acid, and polyuridylic acid as homopolymers or as segments within single RNA molecules, Biophys. J. (1999) 77:3227-3233.
    • [13] Meller et al., Voltage-driven DNA translocations through a nanopore, Phys. Rev. Lett., 86 (2001), pp. 3435-3438.
    • [14] Howorka et al., Sequence-specific detection of individual DNA strands using engineered nanopores, Nat. Biotechnol., 19 (2001a), pp. 636-639.
    • [15] Howorka et al., Kinetics of duplex formation for individual DNA strands within a single protein nanopore, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 98 (2001b), pp. 12996-13001.
    • [16] Movileanu et al., Detecting protein analytes that modulate transmembrane movement of a polymer chain within a single protein pore, Nat. Biotechnol., 18 (2000), pp. 1091-1095.
  • The entirety of each patent, patent application, publication, document, GENBANK sequence, website and other published material referenced herein hereby is incorporated by reference, including all tables, drawings, and figures. All patents and publications are herein incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference. Citation of the above patents, patent applications, publications and documents is not an admission that any of the foregoing is pertinent prior art, nor does it constitute any admission as to the contents or date of these publications or documents. All patents and publications mentioned herein are indicative of the skill levels of those of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention pertains.

Claims (26)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. An α-hemolysin (α-HL) variant of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14, wherein the variant has at least 80%, 90%, 95%, 98%, or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14 and wherein the variant comprises an amino acid substitution at a position corresponding to any one of E111N/E111S, M113A/M113S, K147N/K147S, T145S, L135I, or combinations thereof of SEQ ID NO: 14.
  2. 2. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, wherein the variant further comprises an amino acid substitution corresponding to H144A of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14.
  3. 3. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, wherein the variant further comprises a substitution corresponding to H35G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14.
  4. 4. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, wherein the variant further comprises a poly-G substitution corresponding to amino acids 127-129 of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14.
  5. 5. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, wherein the variant further comprises a substitution corresponding to K131G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14.
  6. 6. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, further comprising an amino acid substitution at a position corresponding to any one of V149K, E287R, T109K, or P151K, or combinations thereof of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14.
  7. 7. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, wherein the variant has a sequence having at least 80%, 90%, 95%, 98%, or more sequence identity to the sequence set forth as SEQ ID NOs: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22.
  8. 8. A heptameric nanopore assembly comprising at least one α-hemolysin (α-HL) variant according to claim 1.
  9. 9. The heptameric nanopore assembly of claim 8, wherein the heptameric nanopore assembly comprises seven of the α-hemolysin variants according to claim 1.
  10. 10. The heptameric nanopore assembly of claim 9, wherein each of the seven α-hemolysin variants is the same variant.
  11. 11. The heptameric nanopore assembly of claim 8, further comprising a DNA polymerase that is bound to one of the alpha-hemolysin variants.
  12. 12. The heptameric nanopore assembly of claim 11, wherein the variant is bound to the DNA polymerase via an isopeptide bond.
  13. 13. The heptameric nanopore assembly of claim 11, wherein the nanopore assembly has an increased lifetime relative to a nanopore assembly consisting of native alpha-hemolysin.
  14. 14. The heptameric nanopore assembly of claim 13, wherein the lifetime is increased by about 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% or more as compared to a heptameric nanopore assembly consisting of native alpha-hemolysin.
  15. 15. A nucleic acid encoding an α-hemolysin variant according to any one of claim 1.
  16. 16. The nucleic acid molecule of claim 15, wherein the nucleic acid molecule is derived from Staphylococcus aureus (SEQ ID NO: 1).
  17. 17. A vector comprising a nucleic acid encoding an α-hemolysin variant according to claim 15.
  18. 18. A host cell transformed with the vector of claim 17.
  19. 19. A method of producing an α-hemolysin variant comprising the steps of:
    (a) culturing the host cell according to claim 18 in a suitable culture medium under suitable conditions to produce the α-hemolysin variant;
    (b) obtaining said produced α-hemolysin variant.
  20. 20. A method for detecting a target molecule, comprising:
    (a) providing a chip comprising a heptameric nanopore according to claim 8 in a membrane that is disposed adjacent or in proximity to a sensing electrode;
    (b) directing a nucleic acid molecule through said nanopore, wherein said nucleic acid molecule is associated with a reporter molecule, wherein said nucleic acid molecule comprises an address region and a probe region, wherein said reporter molecule is associated with said nucleic acid molecule at said probe region, and wherein said reporter molecule is coupled to a target molecule;
    (c) sequencing said address region while said nucleic acid molecule is directed through said nanopore to determine a nucleic acid sequence of said address region; and
    (d) identifying, with the aid of a computer processor, said target molecule based upon a nucleic acid sequence of said address region determined in (c).
  21. 21. A heptameric nanopore assembly for nucleic acid sequencing, the heptameric nanopore assembly comprising:
    seven α-hemolysin monomers, wherein each monomer comprises an amino acid sequence having at least 80%, 90%, 95%, 98%, or more sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22;
    a DNA polymerase, wherein the DNA polymerase is bound to at least one of the seven α-hemolysin monomers;
    wherein the nanopore assembly has an increased lifetime relative to a nanopore consisting of native α-hemolysin.
  22. 22. The heptameric nanopore assembly of claim 21, further comprising a V149K substitution of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NOS: 17, 18, 19, 20, or 22 wherein the V149K substitution decreases Time-To-Thread.
  23. 23. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, wherein the variant further comprises at least two amino acid substitutions selected from the group consisting of: a substitution corresponding to H144A of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a substitution corresponding to H35G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a poly-G substitution corresponding to amino acids 127-129 of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a substitution corresponding to K131G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; and a substitution at a position corresponding to any one of V149K, E287R, T109K, or P151K of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14.
  24. 24. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, wherein the variant further comprises at least three amino acid substitutions selected from the group consisting of: a substitution corresponding to H144A of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a substitution corresponding to H35G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a poly-G substitution corresponding to amino acids 127-129 of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a substitution corresponding to K131G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; and a substitution at a position corresponding to any one of V149K, E287R, T109K, or P151K of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14.
  25. 25. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, wherein the variant further comprises at least four amino acid substitutions selected from the group consisting of: a substitution corresponding to H144A of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a substitution corresponding to H35G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a poly-G substitution corresponding to amino acids 127-129 of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a substitution corresponding to K131G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; and a substitution at a position corresponding to any one of V149K, E287R, T109K, or P151K of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14.
  26. 26. The α-hemolysin variant of claim 1, wherein the variant further comprises at least five amino acid substitutions selected from the group consisting of: a substitution corresponding to H144A of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a substitution corresponding to H35G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a poly-G substitution corresponding to amino acids 127-129 of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; a substitution corresponding to K131G of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14; and a substitution at a position corresponding to any one of V149K, E287R, T109K, or P151K of the amino acid sequence set forth as SEQ ID NO: 14.
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