Title:
Novel orphan receptors
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides for nucleic acid sequences that encode novel mammalian receptor polypeptides, designated OCR1. The invention also provides assay systems that may be used to detect and/or measure ligands that bind the MAMMALIAN OCR1 gene product. The present invention also provides for diagnostic and therapeutic methods based on the interaction between MAMMALIAN OCR1 and agents that initiate signal transduction through binding to MAMMALIAN OCR1. In a specific embodiment, the MAMMALIAN OCR1 may HUMAN OCR1 or MOUSE OCR1.



Inventors:
Masiakowski, Piotr J. (Pleasant Valley, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/074901
Publication Date:
11/07/2002
Filing Date:
02/12/2002
Assignee:
MASIAKOWSKI PIOTR J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
536/23.5
International Classes:
C07K14/715; C07K16/28; C12N15/09; C07K19/00; C12N1/19; C12N1/21; C12N5/10; C12N15/12; C12P21/08; A61K38/00; (IPC1-7): C12N15/00; C07H21/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BUNNER, BRIDGET E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Linda O. Palladino (Tarrytown, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An isolated nucleic acid molecule encoding HUMAN OCR1.

2. An isolated nucleic acid molecule according to claim 1, having a sequence selected from the group consisting of: (a) the nucleotide sequence comprising the coding region of the HUMAN OCR1 as set forth in SEQ. NO. 3; (b) a nucleotide sequence that hybridizes under stringent conditions to the nucleotide sequence of (a) and which encodes a molecule having the biological activity of the HUMAN OCR1; or (c) a nucleotide sequence which, but for the degeneracy of the genetic code would hybridize to a nucleotide sequence of (a) or (b), and which encodes a molecule having the biological activity of the HUMAN OCR1.

3. A vector which comprises a nucleic acid molecule of claim 1.

4. A vector according to claim 3, wherein the nucleic acid molecule is operatively linked to an expression control sequence capable of directing its expression in a host cell.

5. An isolated nucleic acid molecule encoding a MAMMALIAN OCR1.

6. Isolated MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide.

7. Isolated HUMAN OCR1 polypeptide encoded by the nucleic acid molecule of claim 2.

8. A host-vector system for the production of HUMAN OCR1 polypeptide which comprises a vector of claim 4, in a host cell.

9. A host-vector system according to claim 8, wherein the host cell is a bacterial, yeast, insect or mammalian cell.

10. A method of producing HUMAN OCR1 polypeptide which comprises growing cells of a host-vector system of claim 9, under conditions permitting the production of HUMAN OCR1 polypeptide and recovering the HUMAN OCR1 polypeptide so produced.

11. An antibody which specifically binds OCR1 polypeptide of claim 6.

12. An antibody according to claim 11, which is a monoclonal antibody.

13. A composition comprising HUMAN OCR1 polypeptide according to claim 7 and a carrier.

14. A composition comprising an antibody according to claim 11, and a carrier.

15. A polypeptide comprising the extracellular portion of the MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide fused to an immunoglobuin constant region.

16. The polypeptide of claim 15, wherein the constant region is the human immunoglobulin gamma-1 constant region.

17. A polypeptide comprising the extracellular portion of the MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide fused to an immunoglobulin Fc region.

18. The polypeptide of claim 17, wherein the Fc region is the human immunoglobulin gamma-1 Fc region.

Description:
[0001] Throughout this application various publications are referenced. The disclosures of these publications in their entireties are hereby incorporated by reference into this application.

INTRODUCTION

[0002] The field of this invention is polypeptide molecules which regulate cell function, nucleic acid sequences encoding the polypeptides, and methods of using the nucleic acid sequences and the polypeptides. The present invention provides for novel receptor molecules, their use and assay systems useful for identifying novel ligands that interact with these receptors.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The ability of ligands to bind cells and thereby elicit a phenotypic response such as development, differentiation, growth, proliferation, survival and regeneration in such cells is often mediated through transmembrane receptors. The extracellular portion of each receptor is generally the most distinctive portion of the molecule, as it provides the protein with its ligand-recognizing characteristic. In the case of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), binding of a ligand to the extracellular domain results in signal transduction via an intracellular tyrosine kinase catalytic domain which transmits a biological signal to intracellular target proteins. The particular array of sequence motifs of this intracellular tyrosine kinase catalytic domain determines its access to potential kinase substrates (Mohammadi, et al., 1990, Mol. Cell. Biol. 11:5068-5078; Fantl, et al., 1992, Cell 69:413-413). For instance, growth hormone (GH) and prolactin (PRL) receptor signal transduction is mediated by a signaling system that links activation of the GH or PRL receptor at the cell surface to changes in gene transcription in the nucleus. This pathway utilizes the Jak/Stat (Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription) pathway used by many growth factors and cytokines (See Watson, et al., 1996, Rev. Reprod. 1:1-5).

[0004] The tissue distribution of a particular receptor within higher organisms provides relevant data as to the biological function of the receptor. The RTKs for some growth and differentiation factors, such as fibroblast growth factor (FGF), are widely expressed and therefore appear to play some general role in tissue growth and maintenance. Members of the Trk RTK family (Glass & Yancopoulos, 1993, Trends in Cell Biol. 3:262-268) of receptors are more generally limited to cells of the nervous system, and the neurotrophins which bind these receptors promote the differentiation of diverse groups of neurons in the brain and periphery (Lindsay, R. M, 1993, in Neurotrophic Factors, S. E. Loughlin & J. H. Fallon, eds., pp. 257-284 (San Diego, Calif., Academic Press). Prolactin (PRL), an anterior pituitary hormone, is encoded by a member of the growth hormone/prolactin/placental lactogen gene family. In mammals, it is primarily responsible for the development of the mammary gland and lactation. In addition to its classical effects in the mammary gland, PRL has been shown to have a number of other actions, all of which are initiated by an interaction with transmembrane receptors located on the cell surface and widely distributed in a number of tissues. Studies have shown that PRL receptor expression levels are differentially regulated in different tissues (Zhuang and Dufau, 1996, J. Biol. Chem. 271:10242-10246; Moldrup, et al., 1996, Mol. Endocrinol. 10:661-671; Borg, et al., 1996, Eur J. Endocrinol. 134:751-757). For example, in rat liver, a tissue with a relatively high level of PRL binding, receptor levels vary during the different phases of the estrous cycle, increase during pregnancy, and are markedly stimulated by estrogens. Furthermore, PRL plays a major role in the regulation of expression of the PRL receptor, inducing both up- and down-regulation depending on PRL concentration and duration of exposure (See, for example, Di Carlo, et al., 1995, Endocrinology 136:4713-4716; Matsuda and Mori, 1996, Zoolog. Sci. 13:435-441; Matsuda and Mori, 1997, Zoolog. Sci. 14:159-165).

[0005] The cellular environment in which a receptor is expressed may influence the biological response exhibited upon binding of a ligand to the receptor. Thus, for example, when a neuronal cell expressing a Trk receptor is exposed to a neurotrophin which binds that receptor, neuronal survival and differentiation results. When the same receptor is expressed by a fibroblast, exposure to the neurotrophin results in proliferation of the fibroblast (Glass, et al., 1991, Cell 66:405-413). Thus, it appears that the extracellular domain provides the determining factor as to the ligand specificity, and once signal transduction is initiated the cellular environment will determine the phenotypic outcome of that signal transduction.

[0006] Comparison of the rat PRL receptor sequence with that of the mammalian GH receptor sequence has demonstrated some regions of identity between the two receptors, suggesting that the receptors originate from a common ancestry and may actually belong to a larger family of receptors, all of which share certain sequence homologies and perhaps related biological function. Because ligands and their receptors appear to mediate a number of important biological functions during development (e.g., bone growth, sexual maturation) as well as in the adult (e.g., homeostasis, reproduction), the identification and isolation of novel receptors may be used as a means of identifying new ligands or to study intracellular signalling pathways that may play a crucial role during development and in the maintenance of the adult phenotype. Often such novel receptors are identified and isolated by searching for additional members of known families of receptors using, for example, PCR-based screens involving known regions of homology among receptor family members. (See, for example, Maisonpierre, et al., 1993, Oncogene 8:1631-1637). Isolation of such so called “orphan” receptors, for which no ligand is known, and subsequent determination of the tissues in which such receptors are expressed, provides insight into the regulation of the development, differentiation, growth, proliferation, survival and regeneration of cells in target tissues. Further, such receptors may be used to isolate their cognate ligand, which may then be used to regulate the development, differentiation, growth, proliferation, survival and regeneration of cells expressing the receptor.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention provides for a novel mammalian receptor, termed orphan cytokine receptor-1 (OCR1), which is expressed at high levels in heart, brain, placenta, skeletal muscle, and pancreas, and at moderate levels in lung, prostate, testis, uterus, small intestine and colon. Specifically, the present invention provides for a novel human receptor termed HUMAN OCR1. The present invention further provides for a novel mouse receptor termed MOUSE OCR1. Throughout this description, reference to MAMMALIAN OCR1 includes, but is not limited to, the specific embodiments of HUMAN OCR1 and MOUSE OCR1 as described herein. The protein appears to be related to the cytokine family of receptors which includes, but is not limited to, the prolactin/growth hormone receptors. The present invention further provides for an isolated nucleic acid molecule encoding MAMMALIAN OCR1.

[0008] The present invention also provides for a protein or polypeptide that comprises the extracellular domain of MAMMALIAN OCR1 and the nucleic acid which encodes such extracellular domain.

[0009] The invention further provides for vectors comprising an isolated nucleic acid molecule encoding MAMMALIAN OCR1 or its extracellular domain, which can be used to express MAMMALIAN OCR1 in bacteria, yeast, insect or mammalian cells.

[0010] The present invention further provides for use of the MAMMALIAN OCR1 receptor or its extracellular or intracellular domain in screening for drugs that interact with MAMMALIAN OCR1. Novel agents that bind to the receptor(s) described herein may mediate survival and differentiation in cells naturally expressing the receptor, but also may confer survival and proliferation when used to treat cells engineered to express the receptor. In particular embodiments, the extracellular domain (soluble receptor) of MAMMALIAN OCR1 is utilized in screens for cognate ligands.

[0011] The invention also provides for a nucleic acid probe capable of hybridizing with a sequence included within the nucleic acid sequence encoding MAMMALIAN OCR1 useful for the detection of MAMMALIAN OCR1 expressing tissue in humans and animals.

[0012] The invention further provides for antibodies directed against MAMMALIAN OCR1.

[0013] The present invention also has diagnostic and therapeutic utilities. In particular embodiments of the invention, methods of detecting aberrancies in the function or expression of the receptor described herein may be used in the diagnosis of endocrine or other disorders. In other embodiments, manipulation of the receptor or agonists which bind this receptor may be used in the treatment of, for example, endocrine disorders. In further embodiments, the extracellular domain of the receptor is utilized as a blocking agent which blocks the binding of ligand to target cells.

[0014] In a further embodiment of the invention, patients that suffer from an excess of HUMAN OCR1 may be treated by administering an effective amount of anti-sense RNA or anti-sense oligodeoxyribonucleotides corresponding to the HUMAN OCR1 gene coding region, thereby decreasing expression of HUMAN OCR1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The invention provides MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides which include isolated MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides and recombinant polypeptides comprising a MAMMALIAN OCR1 amino acid sequence, or a functional MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide domain thereof having an assay-discernable MAMMALIAN OCR1-specific activity. Accordingly, the polypeptides may be deletion mutants of the disclosed MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide and may be provided as fusion products, e.g., with non-MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides. The subject MAMMALIAN OCRI polypeptides have MAMMALIAN OCR1-specific activity or function.

[0016] A number of applications for MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides are suggested from their properties. MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides may be useful in the study and treatment of conditions similar to those which are treated using cytokines and/or hormones. Furthermore, the MAMMALIAN OCR1 cDNA may be useful as a diagnostic tool, such as through the use of oligonucleotides as primers in a PCR test to amplify those sequences having similarities to the oligonucleotide primer, and to see how much MAMMALIAN OCR1 mRNA is present in a particular tissue or sample. The isolation of MAMMALIAN OCR1, of course, also provides the key to isolate its putative ligand, other MAMMALIAN OCR1 binding polypeptides, and/or study its properties.

[0017] MAMMALIAN OCR1-specific activity or function may be determined by convenient in vitro, cell based or in vivo assays. In vitro or cell based assays include but are not limited to binding assays and cell culture assays. In vivo assays include but are not limited to immune response, gene therapy and transgenic animals. Binding assays encompass any assay where the specific molecular interaction of a MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide with a binding target is evaluated. The binding target may be a natural binding target, or a nonnatural binding target such as a specific immune polypeptide such as an antibody, or a MAMMALIAN OCR1-specific binding agent.

[0018] The claimed MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides may be isolated or pure—an “isolated” polypeptide is one that is no longer accompanied by some of the material with which it is associated in its natural state, and that preferably constitutes at least about 0.5%, and more preferably at least about 5% by weight of the total polypeptide in a given sample; a “pure” polypeptide constitutes at least about 90%, and preferably at least about 99% by weight of the total polypeptide in a given sample. The subject polypeptides may be synthesized, produced by recombinant technology, or purified from cells. A wide variety of molecular and biochemical methods are available for biochemical synthesis, molecular expression and purification of the subject compositions, see e.g., Molecular Cloning, A Laboratory Manual (Sambrook, et al., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.), Current Protocols in Molecular Biology (Eds. Ausubel, et al., Greene Publ. Assoc., Wiley-Interscience, NY).

[0019] The subject polypeptides find a wide variety of uses including but not limited to use as immunogens, targets in screening assays, bioactive reagents for modulating cell growth, differentiation and/or function. For example, the invention provides methods for modifying the physiology of a cell comprising contacting the extracellular surface of the cell or medium surrounding the cell with an exogenous MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide under conditions whereby the added polypeptide specifically interacts with a component of the medium and/or the extracellular surface to effect a change in the physiology of the cell. According to these methods, the extracellular surface includes plasma membrane-associated molecules. The term “exogenous MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide” refers to polypeptides not made by the cell or, if so, expressed at non-natural levels, times or physiologic locales. Media, include, but are not limited to, in vitro culture media and/or physiological fluids such as blood, synovial fluid and lymph. The polypeptides may be introduced, expressed, or repressed in specific populations of cells by any convenient way, including but not limited to, microinjection, promoter-specific expression of recombinant protein or targeted delivery of lipid vesicles.

[0020] The invention provides MAMMALIAN OCR1-specific binding agents, methods of identifying and making such agents, and their use in diagnosis, therapy and pharmaceutical development. MAMMALIAN OCR1-specific binding agents include MAMMALIAN OCR1-specific antibodies (See, e.g., Harlow and Lane (1988) Antibodies, A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) and also includes other binding agents identified with assays such as one-, two- and three-hybrid screens, and non-natural binding agents identified in screens of chemical libraries such as described below. Agents of particular interest modulate MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide function.

[0021] The invention further provides for the production of secreted polypeptides consisting of the entire extracellular domain of MAMMALIAN OCR-1 fused to the human immunoglobulin gamma-1 constant region (IgG1 constant) or the human immunoglobulin gamma-1 Fc region (IgG1 Fc). This fusion polypeptide is called a MAMMALIAN OCRA1 “receptorbody” (RB), and would be normally expected to exist as a dimer in solution based on formation of disulfide linkages between individual IgG1 constant region or IgG1 Fc region tails. MAMMALIAN OCR1 RB encoding nucleic acids may be part of expression vectors and may be incorporated into recombinant host cells, e.g., for expression and screening, for transgenic animals, or for functional studies such as the efficacy of candidate drugs for diseases associated with MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide-mediated signal transduction. Expression systems are selected and/or tailored to effect MAMMALIAN OCR1 RB polypeptide structural and functional variants through alternative post-translational processing.

[0022] The invention provides MAMMALIAN OCR1 nucleic acids, which find a wide variety of applications, including but not limited to, use as translatable transcripts, hybridization probes, PCR primers, or diagnostic nucleic acids, as well as use in detecting the presence of MAMMALIAN OCR1 genes and gene transcripts and in detecting or amplifying nucleic acids encoding additional MAMMALIAN OCR1 homologs and structural analogs.

[0023] The subject nucleic acids are of synthetic/non-natural sequences and/or are isolated, i.e., no longer accompanied by some of the material with which it is associated in its natural state, preferably constituting at least about 0.5%, more preferably at least about 5% by weight of total nucleic acid present in a given fraction, and usually recombinant, meaning they comprise a non-natural sequence or a natural sequence joined to a nucleotide(s) other than that to which it is joined on a natural chromosome. Nucleic acids comprising the nucleotide sequence disclosed herein and fragments thereof, contain such sequence or fragment at a terminus, immediately flanked by a sequence other than that to which it is joined on a natural chromosome, or flanked by a native flanking region fewer than 10 kb, preferably fewer than 2 kb, which is immediately flanked by a sequence other than that to which it is joined on a natural chromosome. While the nucleic acids are usually RNA or DNA, it is often advantageous to use nucleic acids comprising other bases or nucleotide analogs to provide, example, modified stability.

[0024] The sequence of the disclosed MAMMALIAN OCR1 nucleic acid is used to obtain the deduced MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide sequence. Further, the sequence of the disclosed MAMMALIAN OCR1 nucleic acid is optimized for selected expression systems (Holler, et al., (1993) Gene 136:323-328; Martin, et al., (1995) Gene 154:150-166) or used to generate degenerate oligonucleotide primers and probes for use in the isolation of natural MAMMALIAN OCR1 encoding nucleic acid sequences (“GCG” software, Genetics Computer Group, Inc., Madison, Wis.). MAMMALIAN OCR1 encoding nucleic acids may be part of expression vectors and may be incorporated into recombinant host cells, e.g., for expression and screening, for transgenic animals, or for functional studies such as the efficacy of candidate drugs for diseases associated with MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide-mediated signal transduction. Expression systems are selected and/or tailored to effect MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide structural and functional variants through alternative post-translational processing.

[0025] The invention also provides for nucleic acid hybridization probes and replication/amplification primers having a MAMMALIAN OCR1 cDNA-specific sequence and sufficient to effect specific hybridization with SEQ. NO. 1 or SEQ. NO. 3. Demonstrating specific hybridization generally requires stringent conditions, for example, hybridizing in a buffer comprising 30% formamide in 5×SSPE (0.18 M NaCl, 0.01 M NaPO4, pH 7.7, 0.001 M EDTA) buffer at a temperature of 42° C. and remaining bound when subject to washing at 42° C. with 0.2×SSPE; preferably hybridizing in a buffer comprising 50% formamide in 5×SSPE buffer at a temperature of 42° C. and remaining bound when subject to washing at 42° C. with 0.2×SSPE buffer at 42° C. MAMMALIAN OCR1 cDNA homologs can also be distinguished from one another using alignment algorithms, such as BLASTX (Altschul, et al., (1990) Basic Local Alignment Search Tool, J. Mol. Biol. 215:403-410).

[0026] MAMMALIAN OCR1 hybridization probes find use in identifying wild-type and mutant alleles in clinical and laboratory samples. Mutant alleles are used to generate allele-specific oligonucleotide (ASO) probes for high-throughput clinical diagnoses. MAMMALIAN OCR1 nucleic acids are also used to modulate cellular expression or intracellular concentration or availability of active MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides. MAMMALIAN OCR1 inhibitory nucleic acids are typically antisense- single stranded sequences comprising complements of the disclosed MAMMALIAN OCR1 coding sequences. Antisense modulation of the expression of a given MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide may employ antisense nucleic acids operably linked to gene regulatory sequences. Cells are transfected with a vector comprising a MAMMALIAN OCR1 sequence with a promoter sequence oriented such that transcription of the gene yields an antisense transcript capable of binding to endogenous MAMMALIAN OCR1 encoding mRNA. Transcription of the antisense nucleic acid may be constitutive or inducible and the vector may provide for stable extrachromosomal maintenance or integration. Alternatively, single-stranded antisense nucleic acids that bind to genomic DNA or mRNA encoding a given MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide may be administered to the target cell, in or temporarily isolated from a host, at a concentration that results in a substantial reduction in expression of the targeted polypeptide. An enhancement in MAMMALIAN OCR1 expression is effected by introducing into the targeted cell type MAMMALIAN OCR1 nucleic acids which increase the functional expression of the corresponding gene products. Such nucleic acids may be MAMMALIAN OCR1 expression vectors, vectors which upregulate the functional expression of an endogenous allele, or replacement vectors for targeted correction of mutant alleles. Techniques for introducing the nucleic acids into viable cells are known in the art and include, but are not limited to, retroviral-based transfection or viral coat protein-liposome mediated transfection.

[0027] The invention provides efficient methods of identifying agents, compounds or lead compounds for agents active at the level of MAMMALIAN OCR1 modulatable cellular function. Generally, these screening methods involve assaying for compounds which modulate the interaction of MAMMALIAN OCR1 with a natural MAMMALIAN OCR1 binding target. A wide variety of assays for binding agents are provided including, but not limited to, protein-protein binding assays, immunoassays, or cell based assays. Preferred methods are amenable to automated, cost-effective, high throughput screening of chemical libraries for lead compounds.

[0028] In vitro binding assays employ a mixture of components including a MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide, which may be part of a fusion product with another peptide or polypeptide, e.g., a tag for detection or anchoring. The assay mixtures comprise a natural MAMMALIAN OCR1 binding target. While native binding targets may be used, it is frequently preferred to use portions thereof as long as the portion provides binding affinity and avidity to the subject MAMMALIAN OCR1 conveniently measurable in the assay. The assay mixture also comprises a candidate pharmacological agent. Candidate agents encompass numerous chemical classes, though typically they are organic compounds, preferably small organic compounds, and are obtained from a wide variety of sources including libraries of synthetic or natural compounds. A variety of other reagents such as salts, buffers, neutral proteins, e.g., albumin, detergents, protease inhibitors, nuclease inhibitors, or antimicrobial agents may also be included. The mixture components can be added in any order that provides for the requisite bindings and incubations may be performed at any temperature which facilitates optimal binding. The mixture is incubated under conditions whereby, but for the presence of the candidate pharmacological agent, the MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide specifically binds the binding target, portion or analog with a reference binding affinity. Incubation periods are chosen for optimal binding but are also minimized to facilitate rapid, high throughput screening.

[0029] After incubation, the agent-biased binding between the MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide and one or more binding targets is detected by any convenient way. For cell-free binding type assays, a separation step is often used to separate bound from unbound components. Separation may be effected by any number of methods that include, but are not limited to, precipitation or immobilization followed by washing by, e.g., membrane filtration or gel chromatography. For cell-free binding assays, one of the components usually comprises or is coupled to a label. The label may provide for direct detection as radioactivity, luminescence, optical or electron density, or indirect detection such as an epitope tag or an enzyme. A variety of methods may be used to detect the label depending on the nature of the label and other assay components, including but not limited to, through optical or electron density, radiative emissions, nonradiative energy transfers, or indirectly detected with, as a nonlimiting example, antibody conjugates. A difference in the binding affinity of the MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide to the target in the absence of the agent as compared with the binding affinity in the presence of the agent indicates that the agent modulates the binding of the MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide to the corresponding binding target. A difference, as used herein, is statistically significant and preferably represents at least a 50%, more preferably at least a 90% difference.

[0030] The invention provides for a method for modifying the physiology of a cell comprising an extracellular surface in contact with a medium, said method comprising the step of contacting said medium with an exogenous MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide under conditions whereby said polypeptide specifically interacts with at least one of the components of said medium to effect a change in the physiology of said cell.

[0031] The invention further provides for a method for screening for biologically active agents, said method comprising the steps of a) incubating a MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide in the presence of a MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide-specific binding target and a candidate agent, under conditions whereby, but for the presence of said agent, said polypeptide specifically binds said binding target at a reference affinity; b) detecting the binding affinity of said polypeptide to said binding target to determine an agent-biased affinity, wherein a difference between the agent-biased affinity and the reference affinity indicates that said agent modulates the binding of said polypeptide to said binding target.

[0032] One embodiment of the invention is an isolated MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide comprising the amino acid sequence as set forth herein or a fragment thereof having MAMMALIAN OCR1-specific activity.

[0033] Another embodiment of the invention is a recombinant nucleic acid encoding MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide comprising the amino acid sequence as set forth herein or a fragment thereof having MAMMALIAN OCR1-specific activity.

[0034] Still another embodiment is an isolated nucleic acid comprising a nucleotide sequence as set forth herein in SEQ. NO. 3 or a fragment thereof having at least 18 consecutive bases and which can specifically hybridize with a nucleic acid having the sequence of native MAMMALIAN OCR1.

[0035] The present invention also provides for antibodies to the MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides described herein which are useful for detection of the polypeptides in, for example, diagnostic applications. For preparation of monoclonal antibodies directed toward MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides, any technique which provides for the production of antibody molecules by continuous cell lines in culture may be used. For example, the hybridoma technique originally developed by Kohler and Milstein (1975, Nature 256:495-497), as well as the trioma technique, the human B-cell hybridoma technique (Kozbor et al., 1983, Immunology Today 4:72), and the EBV-hybridoma technique to produce human monoclonal antibodies (Cole et al., 1985, in “Monoclonal Antibodies and Cancer Therapy”, Alan R. Liss, Inc. pp. 77-96) and the like are within the scope of the present invention.

[0036] The monoclonal antibodies for diagnostic or therapeutic use may be human monoclonal antibodies or chimeric human-mouse (or other species) monoclonal antibodies. Human monoclonal antibodies may be made by any of numerous techniques known in the art (e.g., Teng et al., 1983, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 80:7308-7312; Kozbor et al., 1983, Immunology Today 4:72-79; Olsson et al., 1982, Meth. Enzymol. 92:3-16). Chimeric antibody molecules may be prepared containing a mouse antigen-binding domain with human constant regions (Morrison et al., 1984, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 81:6851, Takeda et al., 1985, Nature 314:452).

[0037] Various procedures known in the art may be used for the production of polyclonal antibodies to the MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides described herein. For the production of antibody, various host animals can be immunized by injection with the MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptides, or fragments or derivatives thereof, including but not limited to rabbits, mice and rats. Various adjuvants may be used to increase the immunological response, depending on the host species, including but not limited to Freund's (complete and incomplete), mineral gels such as aluminum hydroxide, surface active substances such as lysolecithin, pluronic polyols, polyanions, peptides, oil emulsions, keyhole limpet hemocyanins, dinitrophenol, and potentially useful human adjuvants such as BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) and Corynebacterium parvum.

[0038] A molecular clone of an antibody to a selected MAMMALIAN OCR1 polypeptide epitope can be prepared by known techniques. Recombinant DNA methodology (see e.g., Maniatis et al., 1982, Molecular Cloning, A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) may be used to construct nucleic acid sequences which encode a monoclonal antibody molecule, or antigen binding region thereof.

[0039] The present invention provides for antibody molecules as well as fragments of such antibody molecules. Antibody fragments which contain the idiotype of the molecule can be generated by known techniques. For example, such fragments include, but are not limited to, the F(ab′)2 fragment which can be produced by pepsin digestion of the antibody the Fab′ fragments which can be generated by reducing the disulfide bridges of the F(ab′)2 fragment, and the Fab fragments which can be generated by treating the antibody molecule with papain and a reducing agent. Antibody molecules may be purified by known techniques including, but not limited to, immunoabsorption or immunoaffinity chromatography, chromatographic methods such as HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography), or a combination thereof.

[0040] The following example is offered by way of illustration and not by way of limitation.

EXAMPLE 1

Cloning and Sequencing of Nucleic Acid Encoding MOUSE OCR-1

[0041] Amino acid sequences of known human and mouse members of the cytokine receptor family were used as tblastn queries to search the NIH EST database of random fragments of mRNA sequences (Altschul et al., (1990), Basic local alignment search tool J. Mol. Biol. 215:403-10). Each query generated a list of hits, i.e. EST sequences with a substantial sequence similarity to the query sequence. Typically, the hits on top of the list corresponded to mRNA copies of the query protein, followed by ESTs derived from other members of the family and random-chance similarities.

[0042] A parser program was used to combine and sort all the hits from searches with all the members of the family. This allowed rapid subtraction of all the hits corresponding to known proteins. The remaining hits were analyzed for conservation of sequence motifs characteristic for the family. Additional database searches were performed to identify overlapping ESTs. Two cDNA clone(s) from the I.M.A.G.E. consortium were discerned to contain homologous sequence. Clone #387741 (the '741 clone) (GeneBank Accession No. W66776) and clone #479043 (the '043 clone) (GeneBank Accession No. AA049280) were obtained from Research Genetics, Inc. (Huntsville, Ala.) and sequenced using the ABI 373A DNA sequencer and Taq Dideoxy Terminator Cycle Sequencing Kit (Applied Biosystems, Inc., Foster City, Calif.).

[0043] The '043 clone contained a partial sequence of MOUSE OCR1 and clone '741 contained a 1215 bp nucleotide sequence (SEQ. NO. 1) that translated into a full length single coding frame encoding a 406 amino acid protein (SEQ. NO. 2) designated MOUSE OCR1 as set forth below. MOUSE OCR1 revealed sequence similarity to members of the cytokine receptor family.

EXAMPLE 2

Cloning and Sequencing of Nucleic Acid Encoding HUMAN OCR1

[0044] Amino acid sequences of known human and mouse members of the cytokine receptor family were used as tblastn queries to search the NIH EST database of random fragments of mRNA sequences (Altschul et al., (1990), Basic local alignment search tool J. Mol. Biol. 215:403-10). Each query generated a list of hits, i.e. EST sequences with a substantial sequence similarity to the query sequence. Typically, the hits on top of the list corresponded to mRNA copies of the query protein, followed by ESTs derived from other members of the family and random-chance similarities.

[0045] A parser program was used to combine and sort all the hits from searches with all the members of the family. This allowed rapid subtraction of all the hits corresponding to known proteins. The remaining hits were analyzed for conservation of sequence motifs characteristic for the family. Additional database searches were performed to identify overlapping ESTs. Three cDNA clones from the I.M.A.G.E. consortium were discerned to contain homologous sequence. Clone #324067 (the '067 clone) (GeneBank Accession No. W466040), clone #490004 (the '004 clone) (GeneBank Accession No. AA127694), and clone #302666 (the '666 clone) (GeneBank Accession No. W37175). All three were obtained from Genome Systems Inc. (St. Louis, Mo.) and sequenced using the ABI 373A DNA sequencer and Taq Dideoxy Terminator Cycle Sequencing Kit (Applied Biosystems, Inc., Foster City, Calif.).

[0046] Both the '004 clone and the '067 clone contained partial sequence and the '666 clone contained a 1302 bp nucleotide sequence (SEQ. NO. 3) that translated into a full length single coding frame encoding a 435 amino acid protein (SEQ. NO. 4) designated HUMAN OCR1 as set forth below. HUMAN OCR1 revealed sequence similarity to members of the cytokine receptor family.

[0047] The present invention is not to be limited in scope by the specific embodiments described herein. Indeed, various modifications of the invention in addition to those described herein will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description and accompanying figures. Such modifications are intended to fall within the scope of the appended claims.