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Title:
VARIANTS OF CHYMOSIN WITH IMPROVED PROPERTIES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/037092
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Variants of chymosin with improved α S1-casein cleavage and C/P properties.

Inventors:
JAECKEL, Christian (Ny Hjortespringvej 3, 3500 Vaerloese, 3500, DK)
LUND, Martin (Holsteinsgade 29D 2, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, 2100, DK)
HANSEN, Enikö Fodor (Skovgaardsvej 10, 3000 Helsingoer, 3000, DK)
RIISBERG, Lone (Nivaadal 147, 2990 Nivaa, 2990, DK)
JEPPESEN, Iben (Naurhegnet 5, 3450 Alleroed, 3450, DK)
VAN DEN BRINK, Johannes Maarten (Skelhoejen 1, 2730 Herlev, 2730, DK)
Application Number:
EP2016/070468
Publication Date:
March 09, 2017
Filing Date:
August 31, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CHR. HANSEN A/S (Boege Alle 10-12, 2970 Hoersholm, 2970, DK)
International Classes:
A23C9/12; A23C11/10; A23C19/032; A23C20/02; C12N9/64
Domestic Patent References:
2015-09-03
2013-11-28
2013-11-07
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAI MS

1 . An isolated chymosin polypeptide variant characterized in that:

(a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of less than 80% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer.

2. The isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of claim 1, wherein the parent polypeptide has at least 80%, such as at least e.g. 80%, 85%, 95%, 97%, 98%, 99% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chy- mosin).

3. The isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of claim 1 or 2, wherein the variant comprises one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2: Y11I, Y11V, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S, H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E,

D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L221I, S226T, T239S, R242E, G251D , G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L and/or V317L. 4. The isolated chymosin polypeptide variant according to any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the variant comprises one or more of the combinations of the following substitutions and wherein each substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2:

Y21S + H76Q + Y307F + V317L,

R61S + L166V + T239S,

V32L + E294Q + R316L + V317L,

S226T + G244D + I263L + G289S,

V203A + V248I + G251W + L253I + Y268F, D59N + L222I + G251D + E83S + Q162S,

D59N + L222I + G251D + Y21S + L215V + L105E,

D59N + L222I + G251D + H76Q + L105E + V260T,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V203A + R266V + F223A,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M 165E + V203A + L222I + G251D + V309I,

L12M + V51L + H76Q + M 165E + G251D,

L12M + V51L + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + G251D,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + D144Q + M 165E + V203A + L222I,

L12M + K19T + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M 165E + V198I + L222I + G251D,

L12M + V51L + D59N + F66Y + H76Q + M 165E + V203A + L222I + G251W,

V51L + D59N + H76Q + M 165E + L180I + L222I + G251D + E262T,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + M 165E + G251D + Q288E + V309I + K321P,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y,

H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + S273Y,

H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y + V309I

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y + V309I, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + R242E,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + G251D + V309I,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I, K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D,

D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L166V + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S132A + L222I + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + L130I + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + L222I + S273Y,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D,

Y11I + K19T + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I + I263L, Yl lV + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + L253I + I263L,

K19S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164N + L166I + L222I + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

Yl lV + K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D, Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96V + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + I263L,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D + L253V,

I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

K19S + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L222I + G251D + I263V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + I263V, K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I,

I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251D + L253I, D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + I263L, K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242D + G251D + I263V, K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249D,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + L253I, I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + E83T + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + R242E + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249E + G251D + L253V + I263L, K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + N249E + G251D + I263V,

I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

K19T + I96L + S164N + L222I + R242E + I263L,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + E83T + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D,

D59N + I96L + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + I96V + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + L253I,

H76Q + N 100Q + N291Q,

R67Q + L130I + M 157L + D158S + R242E + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + K231N + M256L,

R67Q + V136I + M 157L + L222I + V248I,

Yl lV + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + L222I + R242E,

R67Q + I96L + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + N292H.

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lI + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + L253I,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D, Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + G251 D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E +

G251D,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Y11I + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I, Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Y11I + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + R242E + N249E + G251D +

L253I,

Y11I + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D, Y11I + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + G251D, Y11V + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I,

Y11V + K19T + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D or

Y11I + K19T + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D.

An isolated chymosin polypeptide variant characterized in that

(a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the ma- ture polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of more than 1 1 5 % of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP- HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer.

The isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of claim 5, wherein the parent polypeptide has at least 80%, such as at least e.g. 80%, 85%, 95%, 97%, 98%, 99% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) .

The isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of claim 5 or 6, wherein the variant comprises one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 : V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N100Q, V136I, M 142I, H146R, S154A, V155F, M 157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, and/or K321P.

An isolated chymosin polypeptide variant according to any of claims 5 to 7, wherein the variant comprises one or more of the combinations of the following substitutions and wherein each substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 :

G70D + S74F + D158S + R254S + S277N,

L130I + M 142I + I200V + V259I + E294Q, Y21S + R61S + H 146R,

R61S + G163E + M256L + S277N,

D59N + S271P + T284S,

V248I + S226T + E294Q,

S74F + G244D + S271P,

V221K + V248I + S255Y,

V183I + G251W + M256L,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

D98V + G251D + M256L + V259I,

V183I + V248I + G244D + T284S,

N50K + R61S + Y127F + G244D + G251D,

I96L + F223V + G244D + R254S + M256L,

H 146R + D158S + S273Y,

S74F + V259I + Y268F,

G70N + D98V + V136I,

I96L + M 142I + R145Q + H146R,

V32L + G163E + T186S + Q188E + L295K,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

S132A + Q188E + F223V,

I200V + G251D + G289S,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

F223V + G251W + S273Y + D279E,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + L12M + T284S, D59N + L222I + G251D + V155F + E262T + V32L,

D59N + L222I + G251W + S154A + V203A, D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + K321P + V260T, D59N + L222I + G251D + V198I + V203A + K321P, D59N + L222I + G251D + S273Y + T284S + D267Q V32L + N100Q + N291Q,

N292H + N100Q + N291Q,

V221K + N 100Q + N291Q,

I297A + N 100Q + N291Q,

R67Q + N IOOQ + L130I + M 157L + L222I + K231N, R67Q + L130I + V248I + M256L + N292H,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + K231N + N292H,

L130I + M 157L + V248I + M256L + N291Q, V32L + R67Q + V136I + M 157L + N291Q, R67Q + L130I + K231N + V248I + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + G70D + N100Q + M157L,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + D158S + V248I,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M157L + K231N + N291Q,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M157L + V248I + N291Q and /or

N100Q + L130I + S132A + M157L + K231.

9. A method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant according to any one of claims 1 to 4 comprising the following steps:

(a) : making an alteration at one or more positions in the DNA sequence encoding the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2, wherein the alteration comprises a substitution, a deletion or an insertion in at least one amino acid position;

(b) : producing and isolating the altered polypeptide of step (a).

10. The method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of claim 9, wherein:

(a) the variant comprises one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2: Y11I, Y11V, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S, H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E, D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L222I, S226T, R242E, G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, T239S, G251D, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L, V317L.

11. A method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant according to any one of claims 5 to 8 comprising the following steps:

(a) : making an alteration at one or more positions in the DNA sequence encoding the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2, wherein the alteration comprises a substitution, a deletion or an insertion in at least one amino acid position;

(b) : producing and isolating the altered polypeptide of step (a).

12. The method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of claim 11, wherein the variant comprises one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO : 2 : V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N 100Q, V136I, M142I, H 146R, S154A, V155F, M157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231 N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, K321P.

A method for making a food or feed product comprising adding an effective amount of the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant according to any of claims 1 to 8 to the food or feed ingredient(s) and carrying our further manufacturing steps to obtain the food or feed product.

A method according to claim 13, wherein the food or feed product is a mil k-based product.

Food or feed product comprising a chymosin polypetide variant according to any of claims 1 to 8.

Use of a chymosin polypetide variant according to any of claims 1 to 8 in a process for making cheese.

Use of a chymosin polypetide variant according to claim 16 in a process for making Pasta filata, Cheddar, Continental type cheeses, soft Cheese or White Brine Cheese.

Description:
Tl TLE: Variants of chymosin with improved properties Fl ELD OF TH E I NV ENTI ON

The present invention relates to variants of chymosin with improved aSl-casein and C/P cleavage properties.

BACKGROU N D OF TH E I NV ENTI ON

Chymosin (EC 3.4.23.4) and pepsin (EC 3.4.23.1), the milk clotting enzymes of the mammalian stomach, are aspartic proteases belonging to a broad class of peptidases.

When produced in the gastric mucosal cells, chymosin and pepsin occur as enzymatically inactive pre-prochymosin and pre-pepsinogen, respectively. When chymosin is excreted, an N-terminal peptide fragment, the pre-fragment (signal peptide) is cleaved off to give prochymosin including a pro-fragment. Prochymosin is a substantially inactive form of the enzyme which, however, becomes activated under acidic conditions to the active chymosin by autocatalytic removal of the pro-fragment. This activation occurs in vivo in the gastric lumen under appropriate pH conditions or in vitro under acidic conditions.

The structural and functional characteristics of bovine, i .e. Bos taurus, pre-prochymosin, prochymosin and chymosin have been studied extensively. The pre-part of the bovine pre-prochymosin molecule comprises 16 aa residues and the pro-part of the corresponding prochymosin has a length of 42 aa residues. The active bovine chymosin comprises 323 aa. Chymosin is produced naturally in mammalian species such as bovines, camels, caprines, buffaloes, sheep, pigs, humans, monkeys and rats.

Bovine and camel chymosin have for a number of years been commercially available to the dairy industry.

Enzymatic coagulation of milk by milk-clotting enzymes, such as chymosin and pepsin, is one of the most important processes in the manufacture of cheeses. Enzymatic milk coagulation is a two-phase process: a first phase where a proteolytic enzyme, chymosin or pepsin, attacks -casein, resulting in a metastable state of the casein micelle structure and a second phase, where the milk subsequently coagulates and forms a coagulum

(reference 1) . Besides facilitating coagulation of milk by cleaving -casein, chymosins cleave alphaSl-casein (aSl-casein), primarily between Phe23 and Phe24 (Moynihan et al . 2014), resulting in the formation of an aSl(l-23) peptide. The formation of the aSl(l-23) peptide has been described to contribute to softening of the cheese texture (Creamer & Olsen, 1982). A correlation of both parameters has for example been found comparing chymosins from Bos taurus and Camelus dromedarius. While bovine chymosin cleaves aSlcasein between Phe23 and Phe24 faster (Creamer & Olsen, 1982, Bansal et al. 2009) compared to camel chymosin, it yields softer cheeses with higher texture break-down, e.g. cheddar (Creamer & Olsen, 1982, Bansal et al. 2009) and mozzarella (Moynihan et al. 2014). The access to cheese coagulants with a varying degree of aSl(l-23) peptide formation may enable the cheesemaker to impose different levels of softness to the cheese matrix. Chymosin variants with both increased or decreased aSl(l-23) peptide formation in cheese making are thus of high industrial interest. Coagulants with a fine-tuned aSlcasein proteolysis would facilitate the manufacturing of a wide variety of cheese types with optimal curd firmness.

The references listed immediately below may in the present context be seen as references describing mutants of chymosin:

- WO02/36752A2 (Chr. Hansen) describes recombinant production of camel chymosin. - WO2013/174840A1 (Chr. Hansen) describes mutants/variants of bovine and camel chymosin.

- WO2013/164479A2 (DSM) describes mutants of bovine chymosin.

- Suzuki et al : Site directed mutagenesis reveals functional contribution of Thr218, Lys220 and Asp304 in chymosin, Protein Engineering, vol. 4, January 1990, pages 69- 71;

- Suzuki et al : Alteration of catalytic properties of chymosin by site-directed mutagenesis, Protein Engineering, vol. 2, May 1989, pages 563-569;

- van den Brink et al : Increased production of chymosin by glycosylation, Journal of biotechnology, vol. 125, September 2006, pages 304-310;

- Pitts et al : Expression and characterisation of chymosin pH optima mutants produced in Trichoderma reesei, Journal of biotechnology, vol. 28, March 1993, pages 69-83;

- M.G. Williams et al : Mutagenesis, biochemical characterization and X-ray structural analysis of point mutants of bovine chymosin, Protein engineering design and selection, vol. 10, September 1997, pages 991-997;

- Strop et al : Engineering enzyme subsite specificity: preparation, kinetic characterization, and x-ray analysis at 2.0 ANG resolution of Vallllphe site mutated calf chymosin, Biochemistry, vol. 29, October 1990, pages 9863-9871; - Chitpinityol et al : Site-specific mutations of calf chymosin B which influence milk- clotting activity, Food Chemistry, vol . 62, June 1998, pages 133-139;

- Zhang et al : Functional implications of disulfide bond, Cys45-Cys50, in recombinant prochymosin, Biochimica et biophysica acta, vol . 1343, December 1997, pages 278-286.

None of the prior art references mentioned above describe directly and unambiguously any of the chymosin variants with altered aSl-casein cleavage frequency and increased C/P value compared to the parent from which the variant is derived, as described below. SU M MARY OF TH E I NV ENTI ON

The problem to be solved by the present invention is to provide variants of chymosin which, when compared to the parent polypeptide, have either a lower or higher aSl- casein cleavage frequency and an increased C/P value. By a dedicated effort and by applying a multidimensional research strategy, the present inventors have found single mutations as well as combinations of mutations that allow the design of isolated chymosin polypeptide variants characterized in that:

(a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the ma- ture polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of less than 80% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer.

Additionally the present inventors have found single mutations as well as combinations of mutations that allow the design of isolated chymosin polypeptide variants characterized in that:

(a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of at least 115% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer.

Furthermore, the present invention provides methods for making isolated chymosin polypeptide variants, the method comprising the following steps:

(a) : making an alteration at one or more positions in the DNA sequence encod- ing the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel cymosin), wherein the alteration comprises a substitution, a deletion or an insertion in at least one amino acid position corresponding to Y11I, Y11V, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S, H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E, D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L221I, S226T, T239S, R242E, G251D, G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L and/or V317L, or alternatively V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N100O. V136I. M 142I, H146R, S154A, V155F, M157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, and/or K321P.

(b) : producing and isolating the altered polypeptide of step (a).

In a related aspect, the present invention also relates to a method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant having an altered aSl-casein cleavage frequency compared to the parent polypeptide, the method comprising the steps:

(a) : making an alteration at one or more positions in a parent polypeptide, wherein the alteration is comprising a substitution, a deletion or an insertion in at least one amino acid position corresponding to any of positions: Y11I, Y11V, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S, H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E, D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L222I, S226T, T239S, R242E, G251D , G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L, V317L, V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N100Q,_V136I, M 142I, H146R, S154A, V155F, M157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, and/or K321P,

(b) : producing and isolating the altered polypeptide of step (a),

and wherein:

(i) : the amino acid position of the parent polypeptide is determined by an alignment of the parent polypeptide with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin); and (ii) : the parent polypeptide has at least 65% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin) and/or at least 65% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin).

Furthermore the present invention also relates to specific combinations of substitutions as outlined below in the embodiments of the invention.

The present disclosure also relates to food or feed products comprising the isolated chymosin polypeptide variants as well as the use of isolated chymosin polypeptide variants in a process for making cheese.

D ETAI LED D ESCRI PTI ON OF TH E I N V EN TI ON

Based on a comparative analysis of different variants - the present inventors have identified a number of amino acid positions that are herein important in the sense that by making a variant in one or more of these positions one may get an improved chymosin variant with either lower or higher aSl-casein cleavage frequency and increased C/P value.

Hence, as indicated above, the present invention provides isolated chymosin polypeptide variants characterized in that:

(a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and

(b) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of less than 80% or at least 115% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer.

More specifically an aspect of the present invention provides isolated chymosin polypeptide variants characterized in that:

(a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of less than 80% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer. In a closely related aspect, the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of present invention that cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of less than 80% of the frequency of aSl- casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, comprise one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2: Y11I, Y11V, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S, H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E, D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L221I, S226T, T239S, R242E, G251D, G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L and/or V317L. The above specified mutations may form part of combinations of mutations to generate variants or mutants comprising multiple substitutions. In particular and as a related aspect, the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant having decreased aSl-casein cleavage frequency may comprise one or more of the combinations of the following substitutions and wherein each substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2:

Y21S + H76Q + Y307F + V317L,

R61S + L166V + T239S,

V32L + E294Q + R316L + V317L,

S226T + G244D + I263L + G289S,

V203A + V248I + G251W + L253I + Y268F,

D59N + L222I + G251D + E83S + Q162S,

D59N + L222I + G251D + Y21S + L215V + L105E,

D59N + L222I + G251D + H76Q + L105E + V260T,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V203A + R266V + F223A,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M165E + V203A + L222I + G251D + V309I,

L12M + V51L + H76Q + M165E + G251D,

L12M + V51L + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + G251D,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + D144Q + M165E + V203A + L222I, L12M + K19T + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M 165E + V198I + L222I + G251D, L12M + V51L + D59N + F66Y + H76Q + M 165E + V203A + L222I + G251W, V51L + D59N + H76Q + M 165E + L180I + L222I + G251D + E262T,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + M 165E + G251D + Q288E + V309I + K321P,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + S273Y,

H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251 D + S273Y + V309I D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + N249D + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y + V309I, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + R242E,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + G251D + V309I,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y, K19T + Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I, K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + N249D + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251 D,

D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L166V + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S132A + L222I + G251 D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + L130I + L222I + S226T + G251 D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + L222I + S273Y,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D,

Y11I + K19T + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251 D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251 D + L253I + I263L, Yl lV + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + L253I + I263L,

K19S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164N + L166I + L222I + G251 D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251 D + S273Y,

Yl lV + K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251 D,

Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251 D + L253I, K19T + D59N + I96V + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + I263L,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251 D + L253V,

I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

K19S + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251 D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251 D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L222I + G251 D + I263V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251 D + I263V, K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251 D + L253I,

I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251 D + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251 D + L253I, D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242D + G251 D + I263V, K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249D,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251 D + L253I, I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251 D + S273Y,

K19T + E83T + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + R242E + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249E + G251 D + L253V + I263L, K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + N249E + G251 D + I263V, I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

K19T + I96L + S164N + L222I + R242E + I263L,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + E83T + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D,

D59N + I96L + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251 D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + I96V + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + L253I,

H76Q + N100Q + N291Q,

R67Q + L130I + M 157L + D158S + R242E + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + K231N + M256L,

R67Q + V136I + M 157L + L222I + V248I,

Yl lV + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + L222I + R242E,

R67Q + I96L + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + N292H .

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I ,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lI + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D +

L253I,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + L253I, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Yl lI + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + N249E + G251D ,

Yl lI + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I ,

Y11I + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + R242E + G251D ,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D ,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I , Yl lV + K19T + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D or

Y11I + K19T + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D.

Accordingly, the present invention also comprise isolated chymosin polypeptide variants characterized in that:

(a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and

(b) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of at least 115% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP- HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer. In a closely related aspect, the chymosin polypeptide variant of present invention that cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of at least 115% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, comprises one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2: V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N100Q, V136I, M142I, H146R, S154A, V155F, M157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, and/or K321P. In another related aspect, the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant having increased aSl-casein cleavage frequency comprises one or more of the combinations of the following substitutions and wherein each substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO:2:

G70D + S74F + D158S + R254S + S277N,

L130I + M142I + I200V + V259I + E294Q,

Y21S + R61S + H146R,

R61S + G163E + M256L + S277N,

D59N + S271P + T284S,

V248I + S226T + E294Q,

S74F + G244D + S271P,

V221K + V248I + S255Y,

V183I + G251W + M256L,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

D98V + G251D + M256L + V259I,

V183I + V248I + G244D + T284S,

N50K + R61S + Y127F + G244D + G251D,

I96L + F223V + G244D + R254S + M256L,

H146R + D158S + S273Y,

S74F + V259I + Y268F,

G70N + D98V + V136I,

I96L + M142I + R145Q + H146R,

V32L + G163E + T186S + Q188E + L295K,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

S132A + Q188E + F223V,

I200V + G251D + G289S,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

F223V + G251W + S273Y + D279E, D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + L12M + T284S,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V155F + E262T + V32L,

D59N + L222I + G251W + S154A + V203A,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + K321P + V260T,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V198I + V203A + K321P,

D59N + L222I + G251D + S273Y + T284S + D267Q

V32L + N100Q + N291Q,

N292H + N100Q + N291Q,

V221K + N100Q + N291Q,

I297A + N100Q + N291Q,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M157L + L222I + K231N,

R67Q + L130I + V248I + M256L + N292H,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + K231N + N292H,

L130I + M157L + V248I + M256L + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + V136I + M157L + N291Q,

R67Q + L130I + K231N + V248I + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + G70D + N100Q + M157L,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + D158S + V248I,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M157L + K231N + N291Q,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M157L + V248I + N291Q and /or

N100Q + L130I + S132A + M157L + K231N.

The present invention further provides methods of making the isolated chymosin polypeptide variants, methods of making a food or feed product using the isolated chymosin polypeptide variants, food and feed products comprising these variants as well as the use of the variants for making food and feed products.

Additionally, the present invention relates to the use of chymosin polypeptide variants of present invention in processes for making cheese, such as e.g. pasta filata, Cheddar, Continental type cheese, soft cheese or white brine cheese.

Determining the amino acid position of a chymosin of interest

The amino acid numbering as used herein to specify the variant is based on the mature peptide.

As known in the art - different natural wildtype chymosin polypeptide sequences obtained from different mammalian species (such as e.g. bovines, camels, sheep, pigs, or rats) are having a relatively high sequence similarity/identity. In the present context - a naturally obtained wildtype chymosin (such as bovine chymosin or camel chymosin) may herein be an example of a parent polypeptide - i.e. a parent polypeptide to which an alteration is made to produce a variant chymosin polypeptide of the present invention.

As outlined herein - as a reference sequence for determining the amino acid position of a parent chymosin polypeptide of interest (e.g. camel, sheep, bovine etc) is herein used the public known Camelius dromedarius mature chymosin sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2. It may herein alternatively be termed camel chymosin. The mature polypeptide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2 is exemplified herein as SEQ ID NO:4.

Alternatively, the amino acid sequence of another chymosin polypeptide may be aligned with the mature polypeptide disclosed in SEQ ID NO: 1, and based on the alignment, the amino acid position number corresponding to any amino acid residue in the mature poly- peptide disclosed in SEQ ID NO: 1 is determined using the ClustalW algorithm or as described in working Example 1 herein.

Based on above well-known computer programs - it is routine work for the skilled person to determine the amino acid position of a herein relevant chymosin polypeptide of interest (e.g. camel, sheep, bovine etc.).

Determination of milk clotting activity

Milk clotting activity may be determined using the REMCAT method, which is the standard method developed by the International Dairy Federation (IDF method).

In this method, milk clotting activity is determined from the time needed for a visible flocculation of a standard milk substrate prepared from a low-heat, low fat milk powder with a calcium chloride solution of 0.5 g per liter (pH « 6.5). The clotting time of a rennet sample is compared to that of a reference standard having known milk-clotting activ- ity and having the same enzyme composition by IDF Standard HOB as the sample. Samples and reference standards are measured under identical chemical and physical conditions. Variant samples are adjusted to approximately 3 IMCU/ml using an 84 mM acetic acid buffer pH 5.5. Hereafter, 200 μΙ enzyme preparation was added to 10 ml preheated milk (32°C) in a glass test tube placed in a water bath, capable of maintaining a constant temperature of 32°C ± 1°C under constant stirring. Alternatively, 20 μΙ_ enzyme preparation is added to 1 mL preheated milk as described above.

The total milk-clotting activity (strength) of a rennet is calculated in International Milk- Clotting Units (IMCU) per ml relative to a standard having the same enzyme composition as the sample according to the formula:

Strength in IMCU/ml = Sstandard x Tstandard x Dsample

Dstandard x Tsample

Sstandard: The milk-clotting activity of the international reference standard for rennet.

Tstandard: Clotting time in seconds obtained for the standard dilution.

Dsample: Dilution factor for the sample

Dstandard: Dilution factor for the standard

Tsample: Clotting time in seconds obtained for the diluted rennet sample from addition of enzyme to time of flocculation.

Alternatively, the μΙΜ^ method may be used instead of the REMCAT method. As compared to REMCAT, flocculation time of chymosin variants in the μΙΜ^ assay is deter- mined by OD measurements in 96-well microtiter plates at 800 nm in a UV/VIS plate reader. A standard curve of various dilutions of a reference standard with known clotting strength is recorded on each plate. Samples are prepared by diluting enzyme in 84 mM acetate buffer, 0.1% triton X-100, pH 5.5. Reaction at 32°C is started by adding 250 uL of a standard milk substrate containing 4% (w/w) low-heat, low fat milk powder and 7.5% (w/w) calcium chloride (pH « 6.5) to 25 uL enzyme sample. Milk clotting activity of chymosin variants in International Milk-Clotting Units (IMCU) per ml is then determined based on sample flocculation time relative to the standard curve.

Determination of total protein content

Preferably, the total protein content is determined using the Pierce BCA Protein Assay Kit from Thermo Scientific following the instructions of the providers.

Calculation of specific clotting activity

Specific clotting activity (IMCU/mg total protein) may be determined by dividing the clot- ting activity (IMCU/ml) by the total protein content (mg total protein per ml).

Nomenclature of variants

In describing the variants of the present invention, the nomenclature described below is adapted for ease of reference. The accepted IUPAC single letter or three letter amino ac- id abbreviations are employed.

The specific variants discussed in this "nomenclature" section below may not be herein relevant variants of the present invention - i.e. this "nomenclature" section is just to describe the herein relevant used nomenclature as such. As indicated above, the amino acid numbering used to specify chymosin polypetide variants of the present invention is based on the position of the amino acid in the mature chymosin polypeptide sequence.

Substitutions. For an amino acid substitution, the following nomenclature is used : Origi- nal amino acid, position, substituted amino acid. Accordingly, a theoretical substitution of threonine with alanine at position 226 is designated as "Thr226Ala" or "T226A". Multiple mutations are separated by addition marks ("+"), e.g., "Gly205Arg + Ser411Phe" or "G205R + S411F", representing substitutions at positions 205 and 411 of glycine (G) with arginine (R) and serine (S) with phenylalanine (F), respectively. A substitution e.g. designated "226A" refers to a substitution of a parent amino acid (e.g. T, Q, S or another parent amino acid) with alanine at position 226.

Deletions. For an amino acid deletion, the following nomenclature is used: Original amino acid, position, *. Accordingly, the deletion of glycine at position 195 is designated as "Glyl95*" or "G195*". Multiple deletions are separated by addition marks ("+"), e.g., "Glyl95* + Ser411*" or "G195* + S411*".

Insertions. For an amino acid insertion, the following nomenclature is used : Original amino acid, position, original amino acid, inserted amino acid. Accordingly the insertion of lysine after glycine at position 195 is designated "Glyl95GlyLys" or "G195GK". An insertion of multiple amino acids is designated [Original amino acid, position, original amino acid, inserted amino acid # 1, inserted amino acid #2; etc.] . For example, the insertion of lysine and alanine after glycine at position 195 is indicated as "Glyl95GlyLysAla" or "G195GKA".

In such cases the inserted amino acid residue(s) are numbered by the addition of lower case letters to the position number of the amino acid residue preceding the inserted amino acid residue(s). In the above example, the sequence would thus be:

Multiple alterations. Variants comprising multiple alterations are separated by addition marks ("+"), e.g., "Argl70Tyr+Glyl95Glu" or "R170Y+G195E" representing a substitution of tyrosine and glutamic acid for arginine and glycine at positions 170 and 195, respectively. Different substitutions. Where different substitutions can be introduced at a position, the different substitutions are separated by a comma, e.g. , "Argl70Tyr,Glu" or "R170Y,E" represents a substitution of arginine with tyrosine or glutamic acid at position 170. Thus, "Tyrl67Gly,Ala + Argl70Gly,Ala" or "Y167G,A + R170G,A" designates the following variants:

"Tyrl67Gly+Arg l70Gly","Tyrl67Gly+Arg l70Ala", "Tyrl67Ala+Argl70Gly", and

"Tyrl67Ala+Arg l70Ala".

Preferred variants:

As outlined herein, the inventors of present invention have made a number of preferred chymosin polypeptide variants that cleave aSl-casein with different desired frequencies than the corresponding parent polypeptide while increasing the C/P value of the variant by at least a factor of 2 compared to the isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2.

Preferred variants with reduced aSl -casein cleavage activity

Preferred chymosin polypeptide variants of present invention comprise variants characterized in that (a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and (b) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of less than 80% of the frequency of the aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer.

In preferred aspects, the isolated chymosin polypeptide variants cleave aSl-casein with a frequency of less than 80%, less than 50%, less than 40%, less than 30% or less than 20% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2. The isolated chymosin polypeptide variants of the present invention have a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, including a C/P value that is at least 200%, at least 300%, at least 500%, at least 900%, at least 1200% or at least 1400% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2.

The parent polypeptide may have at least 80%, such as at least e.g . 80%, 85%, 95%, 97%, 98%, 99% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) or the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin). In a closely related aspect, the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant characterized in that (a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and (b) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of less than 80% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer comprises one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2: Y11I, Y11V, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S, H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E, D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L221I, S226T, T239S, R242E, G251D , G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L and/or V317L.

Additionally the isolated chymosin polypeptide with reduced aSl-casein cleavage activity described immediately above may comprise one or more of the combinations of the following substitutions and wherein each substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2:

Y21S + H76Q + Y307F + V317L,

R61S + L166V + T239S,

V32L + E294Q + R316L + V317L,

S226T + G244D + I263L + G289S,

V203A + V248I + G251W + L253I + Y268F,

D59N + L222I + G251D + E83S + Q162S,

D59N + L222I + G251D + Y21S + L215V + L105E,

D59N + L222I + G251D + H76Q + L105E + V260T,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V203A + R266V + F223A,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M165E + V203A + L222I + G251D + V309I,

L12M + V51L + H76Q + M165E + G251D,

L12M + V51L + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + G251D,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + D144Q + M165E + V203A + L222I,

L12M + K19T + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M 165E + V198I + L222I + G251D,

L12M + V51L + D59N + F66Y + H76Q + M165E + V203A + L222I + G251W,

V51L + D59N + H76Q + M165E + L180I + L222I + G251D + E262T,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + M165E + G251D + Q288E + V309I + K321P,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D, H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + S273Y,

H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251 D + S273Y + V309I D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + N249D + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y + V309I, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + R242E,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + G251D + V309I,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y, K19T + Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I, K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D,

D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L166V + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S132A + L222I + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + L130I + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + L222I + S273Y, Y11I + K19T + D59N + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D,

Y11I + K19T + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I + I263L,

Yl lV + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + L253I + I263L,

K19S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164N + L166I + L222I + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

Yl lV + K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I, K19T + D59N + I96V + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + I263L,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D + L253V,

I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

K19S + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L222I + G251D + I263V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + I263V, K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I,

I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251D + L253I,

D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242D + G251D + I263V,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249D,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + L253I,

I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + E83T + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + R242E + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249E + G251D + L253V + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + N249E + G251D + I263V,

I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

K19T + I96L + S164N + L222I + R242E + I263L,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + L253I, K19T + D59N + E83T + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D, D59N + I96L + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251 D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + I96V + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + L253I,

H76Q + N100Q + N291Q,

R67Q + L130I + M 157L + D158S + R242E + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + K231N + M256L,

R67Q + V136I + M 157L + L222I + V248I,

Yl lV + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + L222I + R242E,

R67Q + I96L + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + N292H .

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I ,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lI + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D +

L253I,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + L253I, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Yl lI + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + N249E + G251D ,

Yl lI + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251 D,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D , Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I , Y11I + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + R242E + G251D ,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251 D ,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I ,

Y11V + K19T + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D or

Y11I + K19T + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D .

Preferred variants with increased aSl -casein cleavage activity

Preferred isolated chymosin polypeptide variants of present invention comprise variants characterized in that (a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and (b) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of more than 1 1 5 % of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl- casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer.

In preferred aspects of the isolated chymosin polypeptide variants cleave aSl-casein with a frequency of at least 125%, at least 130%, at least 140%, at least 145% or at least 150% of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated mature camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2. The isolated chymosin poly- peptide variants having increased aSl-casein cleavage activity have a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, including C/P value that is at least 200%, at least 300%, at least 500%, at least 900%, at least 1200% or at least 1400% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2. The parent polypeptide may have at least 80%, such as at least e.g. 80%, 85%, 95%, 97%, 98%, 99% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) or the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin) .

In a closely related aspect, the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant characterized in that (a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and (b) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of more than 1 1 5 % of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer comprises one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 : V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N 100Q, V136I, M 142I, H146R, S154A, V155F, M 157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, and/or K321P.

Additionally the isolated chymosin polypeptide with increased aSl-casein cleavage activity described immediately above may comprise one or more of the combinations of the following substitutions and wherein each substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 :

G70D + S74F + D158S + R254S + S277N,

L130I + M 142I + I200V + V259I + E294Q,

Y21S + R61S + H 146R,

R61S + G163E + M256L + S277N,

D59N + S271P + T284S,

V248I + S226T + E294Q,

S74F + G244D + S271P,

V221K + V248I + S255Y,

V183I + G251W + M256L,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

D98V + G251D + M256L + V259I,

V183I + V248I + G244D + T284S,

N50K + R61S + Y127F + G244D + G251D, I96L + F223V + G244D + R254S + M256L,

H146R + D158S + S273Y,

S74F + V259I + Y268F,

G70N + D98V + V136I,

I96L + M 142I + R145Q + H146R,

V32L + G163E + T186S + Q188E + L295K,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

S132A + Q188E + F223V,

I200V + G251D + G289S,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

F223V + G251W + S273Y + D279E,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + L12M + T284S,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V155F + E262T + V32L,

D59N + L222I + G251W + S154A + V203A,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + K321P + V260T,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V198I + V203A + K321P,

D59N + L222I + G251D + S273Y + T284S + D267Q

V32L + N 100Q + N291Q,

N292H + N 100Q + N291Q,

V221K + N100Q + N291Q,

I297A + N 100Q + N291Q,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + L222I + K231N,

R67Q + L130I + V248I + M256L + N292H,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + K231N + N292H,

L130I + M 157L + V248I + M256L + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + V136I + M 157L + N291Q,

R67Q + L130I + K231N + V248I + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + G70D + N 100Q + M 157L,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + D158S + V248I,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + K231 N + N291Q,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + V248I + N291Q and /or

N100Q + L130I + S132A + M 157L + K231.

The isolated chymosin polypeptide variants of the present invention maintain high over- all sequence identity to the natural chymosin polypeptide. For example, the polypeptide variants of the present invention preferably have at least 80% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, including at least 85%, 95%, 97%, 98% or 99% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) . As discussed above - based on e.g. the computer sequence alignment programs discussed herein - it is routine work for the skilled person to determine the herein relevant amino acid position of a herein relevant chymosin polypeptide of interest (e.g. camel, sheep, bovine etc).

For instance, a camel chymosin variant with e.g. 5-10 alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to wildtype camel chymosin polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 will still be a parent polypeptide that has at least 65% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel).

Said in other words, a herein relevant isolated chymosin polypeptide variant may comprise alterations (e.g. substitutions) in other position than the positions claimed herein. As understood by the skilled person in the present context - herein relevant sequence identity percentages of e.g. mature sheep, C. bactrianus, camel, pig or rat chymosin with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin - i.e. amino acid positions 59 to 381 of SEQ ID NO: 1) are relatively similar to above mentioned sequence identity percentages.

In a preferred embodiment - the parent polypeptide has at least 92% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin), more preferably the parent polypeptide has at least 95% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) and even more preferably the parent polypeptide has at least 97% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin). It may be preferred that the parent polypeptide is the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (Camel chymosin).

It may be preferred that the isolated camel chymosin variant comprises less than 30 amino acid alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) or it may be preferred that the isolated camel chymosin variant comprises less than 20 amino acid alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) or it may be preferred that the isolated camel chymosin variant comprises less than 10 amino acid alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) or it may be preferred that the isolated camel chymosin variant comprises less than 5 amino acid alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin).

As understood by the skilled person in the present context - the term "the isolated vari- ant polypeptide has less than 100% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin)" above relates to that the herein described isolated camel chymosin variant shall not have a polypeptide sequence that is 100% identical to the public known mature wildtype camel chymosin sequence of SEQ ID NO: 2.

It may be preferred that at least one alteration is a substitution - i.e. a herein relevant preferred embodiment relates to an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant, wherein the alteration is comprising a substitution in at least one amino acid position corresponding to any of positions claimed herein.

Preferably, the parent polypeptide has at least 80%, such as e.g. 85%, 90%, 95%, 97%, 98%, or 99% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin) and/or SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin). Just as an example - a herein suitable relevant parent polypeptide could e.g. be bovine chymosin A - as known in the art bovine chymosin A may only have one amino acid difference as compared to bovine chymosin B of SEQ ID NO: 1 herein.

As understood by the skilled person in the present context - a herein relevant parent polypeptide having chymosin activity may already e.g. be a variant of e.g. a corresponding wildtype chymosin.

For instance, a bovine chymosin variant with e.g. 5-10 alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to mature wildtype bovine chymosin polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 will still be a parent polypeptide that has at least 95% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (Bovine chymosin).

Said in other words and in general - a herein relevant isolated chymosin polypeptide variant may comprise alterations (e.g. substitutions) in other positions than the positions claimed herein.

As understood by the skilled person in the present context - an isolated chymosin variant may comprise alterations (e.g. substitutions) in other amino acid positions than given above.

For instance, a bovine chymosin variant with e.g. 5-10 alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to wildtype bovine chymosin polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 will still be a parent polypeptide that has at least 95% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (Bovine chymosin). It may be preferred that the isolated bovine chymosin variant comprises less than 30 amino acid alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin) or it may be preferred that the isolated bovine chymo- sin variant comprises less than 20 amino acid alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin) or it may be preferred that the isolated bovine chymosin variant comprises less than 10 amino acid alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin) or it may be preferred that the isolated bovine chymosin variant comprises less than 5 amino acid alterations (e.g. substitutions) as compared to the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin).

Said in other words - a mature parent chymosin polypeptide (e.g. sheep or pig) that has at least 65% sequence identity with the mature Bovine chymosin is believed to be suffi- cient structural identical to e.g. Bovine or Camel chymosin in order to be herein relevant - i.e. in the present context a mature parent chymosin polypeptide (e.g. from e.g. sheep or rat) that has at least 80% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) may herein be seen as sufficient structural related to e.g. bovine or camel chymosin in order to be improved by making a variant in any of the amino acid positions as described herein.

The camel chymosin polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 has 84% sequence identity with the bovine polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (i.e. the complete SEQ ID NO: 1 from position 1 to 381, which includes pre and pro sequence).

A method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant

The present invention also relates to a method for making an isolated chymosin polypep- tide variant characterized in that (a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and (b) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of less than 80% of the frequency of aSl- casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer, the method comprising the following steps: (a) : making an alteration at one or more positions in the DNA sequence encoding the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein the alteration comprises one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 : Y11I, Y11V, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S, H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E, D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M 165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L222I, S226T, R242E, G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, T239S, G251D, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L, V317L;

(b) : producing and isolating the altered polypeptide of step (a) . In a related aspect, the present invention also relates to a method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant characterized in that (a) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has a C/P value that is at least 200% of the C/P value of isolated camel chymosin characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2; and (b) the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a frequency of more than 1 1 5 % of the frequency of aSl-casein cleavage of isolated camel chymosin polypeptide characterized by the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein aSl-casein cleavage is determined by quantifying aSl-casein peptides obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP- HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometer, the method comprising the following steps:

(a) : making an alteration at one or more positions in the DNA sequence encoding the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2, wherein the alteration comprises one or more of the following substitutions, wherein the substitution is specified in relation to the amino acid sequence of the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 : V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N 100Q, V136I, M 142I, H146R, S154A, V155F, M 157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, and/or K321P;

(b) : producing and isolating the altered polypeptide of step (a) . As discussed above - as known in the art, the skilled person may, based on his common general knowledge, routinely produce and purify chymosin and chymosin variants.

Said in other words, once the skilled person is in possession of a herein relevant parent polypeptide having chymosin activity of interest (e.g. from bovines, camels, sheep, pigs, or rats) and the herein disclosed teachings it is routine work for the skilled person to make a variant of such a parent chymosin of interest. An example of a suitable method to produce and isolate a chymosin (variant or parent) may be by well-known e.g. fungal recombinant expression/production based technology as e.g. described in WO02/36752A2 (Chr. Hansen). It is also routine work for the skilled person to make alteration at one or more positions in a parent polypeptide having chymosin activity, wherein the alteration is comprising a substitution, a deletion or an insertion in at least one amino acid position as disclosed herein. As known to the skilled person - this may e.g. be done by so-called site directed mutagenesis and recombinant expression/production based technology.

It is also routine work for the skilled person to determine if a herein relevant parent polypeptide (e.g. camel or bovine wildtype chymosin) and/or a herein relevant variant has chymosin activity or not. As known in the art - chymosin specificity may be determined by the so-called C/P value, which is determined by dividing the specific clotting activity (C) with the proteolytic activity (P). As known in the art - a higher C/P value implies generally that the loss of protein during e.g. cheese manufacturing due to non-specific protein degradation is reduced, i.e. the yield of cheese is improved.

As also known in the art, aSl-casein cleavage and aSl-casein (including aSl(l-23)) formation may be determined using standard methods available to the person skilled in the art. Additional methods are provided in the examples. A method for making a milk based product

As discussed above - an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant as described herein may be used according to the art - e.g. to make a milk based product of interest (such as e.g. a cheese product).

As discussed above - an aspect of the invention relates to a method for making a food or feed product comprising adding an effective amount of the isolated chymosin polypep- tide variant as described herein to the food or feed ingredient(s) and carrying our further manufacturing steps to obtain the food or feed product. Preferably, the food or feed product is a milk-based product and wherein the method comprises adding an effective amount of the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant as described herein to milk and carrying our further manufacturing steps to obtain the milk based product.

For example, the chymosin polypeptide variant of the present invention may be added to a milk-based product after fermentation of the milk. In one aspect the chymosin polypeptide variant of the present invention is added for coagulation of a fermented milk product as part of a method of producing cheese.

The milk may e.g. be soy milk, sheep milk, goat milk, buffalo milk, yak milk, lama milk, camel milk or cow milk.

The milk based product may e.g. be a fermented milk product such as a quark or a cheese.

Food and feed products

The present invention also provides food and feed products comprising a chymosin poly- petide variant of the present invention or a chymosin polypeptide variant obtainable according to a method of the present invention. The food and feed product is preferably a fermented food product, such as a fermented milk product, including cheese and quark.

In an alternative, yet related aspect, the invention relates to the items listed below: Item 1. A method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant having an altered aSl-casein cleavage frequency compared to the parent polypeptide, the method comprising the steps:

(a) : making an alteration at one or more positions in a parent polypeptide, wherein the alteration is comprising a substitution, a deletion or an insertion in at least one amino acid position corresponding to any of positions: Y11I, Y11V, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S,

H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E, D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L222I, S226T, T239S, R242E, G251D , G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L, V317L, V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N100Q,_V136I, M 142I, H146R, S154A, V155F, M157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, and/or K321P,

(b) : producing and isolating the altered polypeptide of step (a),

and wherein: (i) : the amino acid position of the parent polypeptide is determined by an alignment of the parent polypeptide with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin); and

(ii) : the parent polypeptide has at least 65% sequence identity with the mature polypep- tide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin) and/or at least 65% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin).

Item 2. The method according to item 1, wherein the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant has:

- a chymosin activity giving a lower aSl-casein cleavage frequency as compared to the aSl-casein cleavage frequency of bovine chymosin comprising the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 and/or

a chymosin activity giving a lower aSl-casein cleavage frequency as compared to the aSl-casein cleavage frequency of camel chymosin comprising the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2.

Item 3. The method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of item 2, wherein the alteration is one or more of the substitutions: Y11I, Y11V, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S, H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E, D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L222I, S226T, T239S, R242E, G251D , G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L and/or V317L.

Item 4. The method according to any of items 2 and 3 wherein the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant comprise an alteration in one or more of the combinations of posi- tions comprising the positions corresponding to:

Y21S + H76Q + Y307F + V317L,

R61S + L166V + T239S,

V32L + E294Q + R316L + V317L,

S226T + G244D + I263L + G289S,

V203A + V248I + G251W + L253I + Y268F,

D59N + L222I + G251D + E83S + Q162S,

D59N + L222I + G251D + Y21S + L215V + L105E,

D59N + L222I + G251D + H76Q + L105E + V260T,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V203A + R266V + F223A,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M165E + V203A + L222I + G251D + V309I,

L12M + V51L + H76Q + M165E + G251D,

L12M + V51L + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + G251D,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + D144Q + M165E + V203A + L222I, L12M + K19T + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M 165E + V198I + L222I + G251D, L12M + V51L + D59N + F66Y + H76Q + M 165E + V203A + L222I + G251W, V51L + D59N + H76Q + M 165E + L180I + L222I + G251D + E262T,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + M 165E + G251D + Q288E + V309I + K321P,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + S273Y,

H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251 D + S273Y + V309I D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + N249D + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y + V309I, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + R242E,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + G251D + V309I,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y, K19T + Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I, K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + N249D + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D,

D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L166V + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S132A + L222I + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + L130I + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + L222I + S273Y,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D,

Y11I + K19T + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I + I263L, Yl lV + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + L253I + I263L,

K19S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164N + L166I + L222I + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

Yl lV + K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I, K19T + D59N + I96V + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + I263L,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D + L253V,

I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

K19S + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L222I + G251D + I263V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + I263V, K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I,

I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251D + L253I, D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242D + G251D + I263V, K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249D,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + L253I, I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + E83T + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + R242E + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249E + G251D + L253V + I263L, K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + N249E + G251D + I263V, I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

K19T + I96L + S164N + L222I + R242E + I263L,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + E83T + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D,

D59N + I96L + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251 D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + I96V + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + L253I,

R67Q + L130I + M 157L + D158S + R242E + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + K231N + M256L,

R67Q + V136I + M 157L + L222I + V248I,

Yl lV + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + L222I + R242E,

R67Q + I96L + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + N292H,

H76Q + N100Q + N291Q,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I ,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lI + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D +

L253I,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + L253I, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Yl lI + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + N249E + G251D ,

Yl lI + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251 D, Y11V + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D ,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I ,

Y11I + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + R242E + G251D ,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251 D ,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Y11V + K19T + D59N + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I ,

Y11V + K19T + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D or

Y11I + K19T + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D .

Item 5. The method according to item 1, wherein the isolated chymosin polypeptide var- iant has:

a chymosin activity giving a higher aSl-casein cleavage frequency as compared to the aSl-casein cleavage frequency of bovine chymosin comprising the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 and/or

a chymosin activity giving a higher aSl-casein cleavage frequency as compared to the aSl-casein cleavage frequency of camel chymosin comprising the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2.

Item 6. The method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of item 5, wherein the alteration is one or more of the substitutions: V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N100Q, V136I, M 142I, H146R, S154A, V155F, M 157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, and/or K321P. Item 7. The method according to any of items 5 and 6 wherein the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant comprise an alteration in one or more of the combinations of positions comprising the positions corresponding to:

G70D + S74F + D158S + R254S + S277N,

L130I + M 142I + I200V + V259I + E294Q,

Y21S + R61S + H 146R,

R61S + G163E + M256L + S277N,

D59N + S271P + T284S,

V248I + S226T + E294Q,

S74F + G244D + S271P,

V221K + V248I + S255Y,

V183I + G251W + M256L,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

D98V + G251D + M256L + V259I,

V183I + V248I + G244D + T284S,

N50K + R61S + Y127F + G244D + G251D,

I96L + F223V + G244D + R254S + M256L,

H146R + D158S + S273Y,

S74F + V259I + Y268F,

G70N + D98V + V136I,

I96L + M 142I + R145Q + H146R,

V32L + G163E + T186S + Q188E + L295K,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

S132A + Q188E + F223V,

I200V + G251D + G289S,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

F223V + G251W + S273Y + D279E,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + L12M + T284S,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V155F + E262T + V32L,

D59N + L222I + G251W + S154A + V203A,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + K321P + V260T,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V198I + V203A + K321P,

D59N + L222I + G251D + S273Y + T284S + D267Q,

V32L + N 100Q + N291Q,

N292H + N 100Q + N291Q,

V221K + N100Q + N291Q,

I297A + N 100Q + N291Q, R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M157L + L222I + K231N,

R67Q + L130I + V248I + M256L + N292H,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + K231N + N292H,

L130I + M157L + V248I + M256L + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + V136I + M157L + N291Q,

R67Q + L130I + K231N + V248I + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + G70D + N100Q + M157L,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + D158S + V248I,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M157L + K231N + N291Q,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M157L + V248I + N291Q and /or

N100Q + L130I + S132A + M157L + K231.

Item 8. The method for making an isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of any of items 1 to 7, wherein the parent polypeptide has at least 95% sequence identity with the ma- ture polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (Camel chymosin).

Item 9. An isolated chymosin polypeptide variant comprising an alteration in one or more positions compared to a parent polypeptide having chymosin activity, wherein the alteration is comprising a substitution in at least one amino acid position corresponding to any of positions YllI, YllV, L12M, K19T, V51L, R61S, H76Q, E83S, I96L, L105E, D144Q, Q162S, S164G, M165E, L166V, L180I, V203A, L222I, S226T, T239S, R242E, G251D , G251W, L253I, V260T, I263L, R266V, S273Y, Q288E, G289S, E294Q, Y307F, V309I, R316L and/or V317L wherein

(i) : the amino acid position of the parent polypeptide is determined by an alignment of the parent polypeptide with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) and

(ii) : the parent polypeptide has at least 65% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin);

wherein the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a lower fre- quency than the corresponding parent polypeptide.

Item 10. The isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of item 9, wherein the parent polypeptide has at least 80%, such as at least e.g. 80%, 85%, 95%, 97%, 98%, 99% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin).

Item 11. An isolated chymosin polypeptide variant according to any of items 9 to 10, wherein the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant comprise an alteration in one or more of the combinations of positions comprising the positions corresponding to: Y21S + H76Q + Y307F + V317L,

R61S + L166V + T239S,

V32L + E294Q + R316L + V317L,

S226T + G244D + I263L + G289S,

V203A + V248I + G251W + L253I + Y268F,

D59N + L222I + G251D + E83S + Q162S,

D59N + L222I + G251D + Y21S + L215V + L105E,

D59N + L222I + G251D + H76Q + L105E + V260T,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V203A + R266V + F223A,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M 165E + V203A + L222I + G251D + V309I, L12M + V51L + H76Q + M 165E + G251 D,

L12M + V51L + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + G251D,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + D144Q + M 165E + V203A + L222I,

L12M + K19T + D59N + H76Q + S154A + M 165E + V198I + L222I + G251D, L12M + V51L + D59N + F66Y + H76Q + M 165E + V203A + L222I + G251W, V51L + D59N + H76Q + M 165E + L180I + L222I + G251D + E262T,

L12M + D59N + H76Q + M 165E + G251D + Q288E + V309I + K321P, D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + I96L + S132A + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + S273Y,

H76Q + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S164G + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251 D + S273Y + V309I D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + N249D + G251D + S273Y, H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L166V + L222I + G251D + S273Y + V309I, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + S226T + R242E,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y + V309I, D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + G251D + V309I,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + L130I + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y, K19T + Y21S + H76Q + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + S164G + L222I + R242E + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + G251D + S273Y, K19T + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y, D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y + V309I, K19T + Y21S + D59N + H76Q + L130I + S164G + L222I + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + S132A + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

D59N + H76Q + I96L + L130I + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + S273Y, Y21S + D59N + H76Q + S164G + L166V + N249D + G251D + S273Y,

H76Q + S132A + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D,

D59N + H76Q + S132A + S164G + L166V + S273Y,

K19T + D59N + H76Q + S132A + L222I + G251D + S273Y + V309I,

H76Q + L130I + L222I + S226T + G251D + S273Y,

Y21S + D59N + H76Q + I96L + L222I + S273Y,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249D,

Y11I + K19T + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I + I263L, Yl lV + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + L253I + I263L,

K19S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164N + L166I + L222I + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

Yl lV + K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I, K19T + D59N + I96V + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + I263L,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D + L253V,

I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + I263L,

K19S + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

H76Q + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L222I + G251D + I263V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + I263V,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + L253I, I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251D + L253I,

D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253I + I263L,

K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + N249D + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242D + G251D + I263V,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249D,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + L253I,

I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D + S273Y,

K19T + E83T + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + L253V,

K19T + I96L + S164G + R242E + L253I,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + N249E + G251D + L253V + I263L,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + N249E + G251D + I263V,

I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D,

K19T + I96L + S164N + L222I + R242E + I263L,

K19T + E83S + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249D + G251D + L253I,

K19T + D59N + E83T + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + G251D,

D59N + I96L + L166V + L222I + R242E + G251 D,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96V + L222I + R242D + G251D,

K19T + I96V + S164G + L222I + N249D + G251D + L253I,

H76Q + N100Q + N291Q,

R67Q + L130I + M 157L + D158S + R242E + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + K231N + M256L,

R67Q + V136I + M 157L + L222I + V248I,

Yl lV + R67Q + L130I + M 157L + L222I + R242E,

R67Q + I96L + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + N292H .

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I ,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lI + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lI + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I,

Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lI + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + L253I, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D, Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Y11I + K19T + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E + N249E + G251D ,

Y11I + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251 D,

Yl lV + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D + L253I,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D, Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222I + R242E + G251D ,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I , Y11I + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Y11I + K19T + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166V + R242E,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + R242E + G251D ,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Y11I + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251 D ,

Y11I + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + S164G + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + I96L + L222V + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + S164G + L166I + L222I + R242E + G251D,

Yl lV + K19T + D59N + L166V + L222I + R242E + N249E + G251D + L253I ,

Yl lV + K19T + I96L + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D or

Y11I + K19T + L222V + R242E + N249E + G251D .

Item 12. An isolated chymosin polypeptide variant comprising an alteration in one or more positions compared to a parent polypeptide having chymosin activity, wherein the alteration is comprising a substitution in at least one amino acid position corresponding to any of positions V32L, I45V, N50K, G70D, G70N, D98V, N100Q, V136I, M142I, H146R, S154A, V155F, M157L, D158S, V198I, I200V, F223V, K231N, G244D, V248I, R254S, M256L, V259I, E262T, D267Q, D279E, T284S, N291Q N292H, L295K, and/or K321P wherein

(i) : the amino acid position of the parent polypeptide is determined by an alignment of the parent polypeptide with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin) and

(ii) : the parent polypeptide has at least 65% sequence identity with the mature polypep- tide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin);

wherein the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant cleaves aSl-casein with a higher frequency than the corresponding parent polypeptide.

Item 13. The isolated chymosin polypeptide variant of item 12, wherein the parent polypeptide has at least 80%, such as at least e.g. 80%, 85%, 95%, 97%, 98%, 99% sequence identity with the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin).

Item 14. An isolated chymosin polypeptide variant according to any of items 12 to 13, wherein the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant comprise an alteration in one or more of the combinations of positions comprising the positions corresponding to:

G70D + S74F + D158S + R254S + S277N,

L130I + M142I + I200V + V259I + E294Q,

Y21S + R61S + H146R,

R61S + G163E + M256L + S277N,

D59N + S271P + T284S,

V248I + S226T + E294Q,

S74F + G244D + S271P,

V221K + V248I + S255Y,

V183I + G251W + M256L,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

D98V + G251D + M256L + V259I,

V183I + V248I + G244D + T284S,

N50K + R61S + Y127F + G244D + G251D,

I96L + F223V + G244D + R254S + M256L,

H146R + D158S + S273Y,

S74F + V259I + Y268F,

G70N + D98V + V136I, I96L + M 142I + R145Q + H146R,

V32L + G163E + T186S + Q188E + L295K,

R61Q + V136I + Y268F + T284S + Y307F,

S132A + Q188E + F223V,

I200V + G251D + G289S,

N50K + D158S + V203A + E294Q,

F223V + G251W + S273Y + D279E,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + L12M + T284S,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V155F + E262T + V32L,

D59N + L222I + G251W + S154A + V203A,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V32L + K321P + V260T,

D59N + L222I + G251D + V198I + V203A + K321P,

D59N + L222I + G251D + S273Y + T284S + D267Q,

V32L + N 100Q + N291Q,

N292H + N 100Q + N291Q,

V221K + N100Q + N291Q,

I297A + N 100Q + N291Q,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + L222I + K231N,

R67Q + L130I + V248I + M256L + N292H,

V32L + R67Q + L130I + K231N + N292H,

L130I + M 157L + V248I + M256L + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + V136I + M 157L + N291Q,

R67Q + L130I + K231N + V248I + N291Q,

V32L + R67Q + G70D + N 100Q + M 157L,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + D158S + V248I,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + K231 N + N291Q,

R67Q + N100Q + L130I + M 157L + V248I + N291Q and /or

N100Q + L130I + S132A + M 157L + K231. Item 15. A method for making a food or feed product comprising adding an effective amount of the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant according to any of items 9 to 14 to the food or feed ingredient(s) and carrying our further manufacturing steps to obtain the food or feed product. Item 16. A method according to claim 15, wherein the food or feed product is a milk- based product. Item 17. Use of a chymosin polypetide variant according to any of item 9 to 12 in a process for making cheese.

Item 18. Use of a chymosin polypetide variant according to any of items 9 to 14 in a process for making Pasta filata, Cheddar, and Continental type cheeses.

Item 19. Use of a chymosin polypetide variant according to any of items 9 to 14 in a process for making Soft Cheese or White Brine Cheese. A further related aspect of present invention concerns a method for making a food or feed product comprising adding an effective amount of the isolated chymosin polypeptide variant as described herein to the food or feed ingredient(s) and carrying our further manufacturing steps to obtain the food or feed product, in particular wherein the food or feed product is a milk-based product.

Also the use of a chymosin polypetide variant as described herein in a process for making cheese is comprised by present invention. More specifically, the use of a chymosin polypetide variant having a lower aSl-casein cleavage frequency than its corresponding parent peptide in a process for making Pasta filata, Cheddar, and Continental type cheeses and/or the use of a chymosin polypetide variant having a higher aSl-casein cleavage frequency than its corresponding parent peptide in a process for making Soft Cheese, White Brine and long ripening Gouda cheese.

D EFI N l Tl ON S

All definitions of herein relevant terms are in accordance of what would be understood by the skilled person in relation to the herein relevant technical context.

The term "aSl-cleavage" or "cleavage of aSl-casein" means any enzymatic cleavage of aSl-casein. Such as e.g. cleavage between Phe23 and Phe24, resulting in the formation of aSl(l-23) peptide.

In one aspect aSl-cleavage is determined by quantifying the aSl-cleavage peptide 1-23 obtained by incubating skim milk with the chymosin variant or the camel chymosin, wherein quantification is carried out by RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q-TOF mass spec- trometer. Full details of a preferred method of determining aSl-casein cleavage are described in the Examples. The term "chymosin" relates to an enzyme of the EC 3.4.23.4 class. Chymosin has a high specificity and predominantly clots milk by cleavage of a single 104-Ser-Phe-| -Met- Ala-107 bond in -chain of casein. As a side-activity, chymosin also cleaves a-casein primarily between Phe23 and Phe24 (references 2,3). The resulting peptide aSl(l-23) will be further degraded by proteases from microbial cultures added to the ripening cheese (reference 4). An alternative name of chymosin used in the art is rennin.

The term "chymosin activity" relates to chymosin activity of a chymosin enzyme as understood by the skilled person in the present context.

The skilled person knows how to determine herein relevant chymosin activity.

The term "specific clotting activity" describes the milk clotting activity of a chymosin polypeptide and can be determined according to assays well known in the art. A preferred method for determining the specific clotting activity in terms of IMCU/mg of protein is the standard method developed by the International Dairy Federation (IDF method), which comprises steps, wherein milk clotting activity is determined from the time needed for a visible flocculation of a milk substrate and the clotting time of a sample is compared to that of a reference standard having known milk-clotting activity and the same enzyme composition by IDF Standard HOB as the sample. Samples and reference standards are measured under identical chemical and physical conditions. Full details of a the IDF method are described in the Examples.

As known in the art - the herein relevant so-called C/P value is determined by dividing the specific clotting activity (C) with the proteolytic activity (P).

As known in the art - a higher C/P value implies generally that the loss of protein during e.g. cheese manufacturing due to non-specific protein degradation is reduced, i.e. the yield of cheese is improved. Differences in C/P values may be defined in terms of percentages. As example, a C/P value of 20 will correspond to 50% of a C/P value of 40. The term "isolated variant" means a variant that is modified by the act of man. In one aspect, the variant is at least 1% pure, e.g., at least 5% pure, at least 10% pure, at least 20% pure, at least 40% pure, at least 60% pure, at least 80% pure, and at least 90% pure, as determined by SDS PAGE. The amino acid numbering as used herein to specify chymosin polypeptide variants of the present invention is done on the mature peptide numbering. In the sequence listing provided with the present application: SEQ ID NO: l represents the complete polypeptide sequence of bovine pre-prochmyosin; SEQ ID NO: 2 represents the complete polypeptide sequence of camel pre-prochmyosin; SEQ ID NO: 3 represents the polypeptide sequence of mature bovine chymosin;

SEQ ID NO:4 represents the polypeptide sequence of mature camel chymosin.

In other words, SEQ ID NOs: 3 and 4 correspond to amino acids 59 to 381 of SEQ ID NOs: l and 2, respectively. All of the specific substitutions identified herein are identified in relation to the position of the mature chymosin sequence, i.e. in relation to the amino acid numbering of SEQ ID NOs: 3 or 4. Insofar as the position is identified in relation to the amino acid numbering of SEQ ID NOs: l or 2 one has to add 58 residues to identify the position in SEQ ID NOs: l or 2.

The term "mature polypeptide" means a peptide in its final form following translation and any post-translational modifications, such as N-terminal processing, C-terminal trunca- tion, glycosylation, phosphorylation, etc. In the present context may a herein relevant mature chymosin polypeptide be seen as the active chymosin polypeptide sequence - i.e. without the pre-part and/or pro-part sequences. Herein relevant examples of a mature polypeptide are e.g. the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 (bovine chymosin), which is from amino acid position 59 to amino acid position 381 of SEQ ID NO: 1 or the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 (camel chymosin), which is from amino acid position 59 to amino acid position 381 of SEQ ID NO: 2.

The term "parent" or "parent polypeptide having chymosin activity" means a polypeptide to which an alteration is made to produce the enzyme variants of the present invention. The parent may be a naturally occurring (wild-type) polypeptide or a variant thereof.

The term "Sequence Identity" relates to the relatedness between two amino acid sequences or between two nucleotide sequences.

For purposes of the present invention, the degree of sequence identity between two amino acid sequences may be determined using the Needleman-Wunsch algorithm

(Needleman and Wunsch, 1970, J. Mol. Biol. 48: 443-453) as implemented in the Needle program of the EMBOSS package (EMBOSS: The European Molecular Biology Open Software Suite, Rice et al., 2000, Trends Genet. 16: 276-277), preferably version 3.0.0 or later. The optional parameters used are gap open penalty of 10, gap extension penalty of 0.5, and the EBLOSUM62 (EMBOSS version of BLOSUM62) substitution matrix. The output of Needle labeled "longest identity" (obtained using the -nobrief option) is used as the percent identity and is calculated as follows:

(Identical Residues x 100)/(Length of Alignment - Total Number of Gaps in Alignment) For purposes of the present invention, the degree of sequence identity between two de- oxyribonucleotide sequences is determined using the Needleman-Wunsch algorithm (Needleman and Wunsch, 1970, supra) as implemented in the Needle program of the EMBOSS package (EMBOSS: The European Molecular Biology Open Software Suite, Rice et al. , 2000, supra), preferably version 3.0.0 or later. The optional parameters used are gap open penalty of 10, gap extension penalty of 0.5, and the EDNAFULL (EMBOSS version of NCBI NUC4.4) substitution matrix. The output of Needle labeled "longest identity" (obtained using the -nobrief option) is used as the percent identity and is calculated as follows:

(Identical Deoxyribonucleotides x 100)/(Length of Alignment - Total Number of Gaps in Alignment).

The term "variant" means a peptide having chymosin activity comprising an alteration, i. e. , a substitution, insertion, and/or deletion, at one or more (several) positions. A sub- stitution means a replacement of an amino acid occupying a position with a different amino acid ; a deletion means removal of an amino acid occupying a position; and an insertion means adding 1-3 amino acids adjacent to an amino acid occupying a position.

The amino acid may be natural or unnatural amino acids - for instance, substitution with e.g . a particularly D-isomers (or D-forms) of e.g . D-alanine could theoretically be possible.

The term "wild-type" peptide refers to a nucleotide sequence or peptide sequence as it occurs in nature, i .e. nucleotide sequence or peptide sequence which hasn't been subject to targeted mutations by the act of man.

D RAW I N GS

Fig u re 1 :

3D structure of camel chymosin (PDB: 4AA9) with a model of bound aSl-casein shown in blue. aSl-casein is placed in the chymosin substrate binding cleft with the scissile bond between residues 23 and 24. Camel chymosin residues R266, V51, E83, 1263, L253, L105, 196, and L180 are highlighted in green.

Fig u re 2 :

3D structure of camel chymosin (PDB: 4AA9) with a model of bound aSl-casein shown in blue. aSl-casein is placed in the chymosin substrate binding cleft with the scissile bond between residues 23 and 24. Camel chymosin residues V32, H76, F119, L130, S132, Y190, V221, R242, S273, G289, N292, L295, and 1297 are highlighted in green. Fig u re 3 :

3D structure of camel chymosin (detail, PDB: 4AA9). Residues Yll, L12, and D13 of the protein N-terminus as well as the potential Yll interaction partner D290 are highlighted in purple.

EXAM P LES

EXAM P LE 1 : al ig n m ent and n u m berin g of chym osi n p rotei n seq uen ces a nd va riant seq uen ces

Chymosin protein sequences were aligned using the ClustalW algorithm as provided by the EBI (EBI, tools, multiple sequence alignment, CLUSTALW", http://www.ebi.ac.uk/Tools/msa/clustalw2/) and as described in Larkin MA, Blackshields G, Brown NP, Chenna R, McGettigan PA, McWilliam H, Valentin F, Wallace IM, Wilm A, Lopez R, Thompson JD, Gibson TJ, Higgins DG (2007). Bioinformatics 23(21), 2947- 2948.

ClustalW2 settings for multiple sequence alignments were Protein weight Matrix = BLOSUM, GAP open = 10, GAP EXTENSION= 0,05, GAP DISTANCES = 8, No End Gaps, ITERATION = none, NUMITER = 1, CLUSTERING = NJ

As a reference sequence the bovine chymosin B preprochymosin was used (Genbank accession number P00794 - disclosed herein as SEQ ID NO: 1), where the N-terminal Me- thionin has number 1 (MRCL ) and the C-terminal Isoleucin (in the protein sequence

...LAKAI) has number 381.

EXAM P LE 2 : Desig n of chym osin variants

Chymosin variants were designed using different strategies. When there is referred to camel chymosin there is referred to camel chymosin comprising the mature polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2 herein.

Camel chymosin of SEQ ID NO: 2 may be seen as a herein relevant parent polypeptide having chymosin activity used to make camel chymosin variants thereof. When there is referred to bovine chymosin there is referred to bovine chymosin comprising the polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1 herein.

Bovine chymosin of SEQ ID NO: 1 may be seen as a relevant parent polypeptide having chymosin activity used to make bovine chymosin variants thereof. Variants 1 to 269 and 367 to 461 of camel chymosin were designed based on an alignment of a large set of public known aspartic protease sequences having an identity of 25% or more compared to bovine chymosin B.

Variations were generally introduced in regions with a high level of amino acid variation between species, while conserved regions were not changed. Amino acid substitutions were chosen based on phylogenetic, structural and experimental information to identify changes with high probability to show beneficial effects on alpha casein cleavage. Multiple variations were introduced in each variant construct, ensuring that each single muta- tion was present in multiple variant constructs to minimize the effect of covariation between various substitutions. Machine learning and statistical analysis of experimental data were used to determine the relative contributions of the amino acid substitutions to measured coagulant performance of the chymosin variants (references 14, 15) . Variants 270 to 366 were designed based on detailed structural analysis of bovine chymosin (PDB code: 4AA8) and camel chymosin (PDB code: 4AA9) . Variations were chosen based on the chemical nature of the respective amino acid side chains and their expected impact on either casein substrate binding or general enzyme properties. Most of the amino acid substitutions in variants 270 to 346 were made in sequence positions ei- ther within or in close structural proximity to the substrate binding cleft, or in secondary structural elements that get into contact with the bound casein substrate. Furthermore, changes were made in positions on the protein surface that alter the charge profile of these regions (reference 5) and are therefore expected to have an impact on enzyme performance. Variants 347 to 366 were made based on the different structural confor- mation of the N-terminal sequence in bovine and camel chymosin. Amino acid substitutions were made in positions within the substrate binding cleft that interact with the N- terminus in camel chymosin.

EXAM P LE 3 : Preparat ion of chym osi n varia nt enzym e m aterial

All chymosin variants were synthesized as synthetic genes and cloned into a fungal expression vector such as e.g. pGAMpR-C (described in WO02/36752A2)

The vectors were transformed into E. coli and plasmid DNA was purified using standard molecular biology protocols, known to the person skilled in the art.

The variant plasmids were individually transformed into an Aspergillus niger or Aspergillus nidulans strain and protein was produced essentially as described in WO02/36752A2 and purified using standard chromatography techniques. As known in the art - the skilled person may, based on his common general knowledge, produce and purify chymosin and chymosin variants - such as herein described bovine and camel chymosin variants. EXAM P LE 4 : D ete r m i n at io n of specif ic ch y m osi n act iv ity

4.1 Determination of milk clotting activity

Mil k clotting activity was determined using the REMCAT method, which is the standard method developed by the International Dairy Federation (IDF method)

Mil k clotting activity is determined from the time needed for a visible flocculation of a standard mil k substrate prepared from a low-heat, low fat mil k powder with a calcium chloride solution of 0.5 g per liter (pH « 6.5) . The clotting time of a rennet sample is compared to that of a reference standard having known mil k-clotting activity and having the same enzyme composition by IDF Standard HOB as the sample. Samples and refer- ence standards were measured under identical chemical and physical conditions. Variant samples were adjusted to approximately 3 IMCU/ml using an 84 mM acetic acid buffer pH 5.5. Hereafter, 200 μΙ enzyme preparation was added to 10 ml preheated mil k (32°C) in a glass test tube placed in a water bath, capable of maintaining a constant temperature of 32°C ± 1°C under constant stirring . Alternatively, 20 μ Ι_ enzyme preparation was added to 1 mL preheated milk as described above.

The total mil k-clotting activity (strength) of a rennet was calculated in International M il k- Clotting Units (IMCU) per ml relative to a standard having the same enzyme composition as the sample according to the formula :

Strength in IMCU/ml = Sstandard x Tstandard x Dsample

Dstandard x Tsample

Sstandard : The mil k-clotting activity of the international reference standard for rennet.

Tstandard : Clotting time in seconds obtained for the standard dilution .

Dsample : Dilution factor for the sample

Dstandard : Dilution factor for the standard

Tsample : Clotting time in seconds obtained for the diluted rennet sample from addition of enzyme to time of flocculation

For clotting activity determination of multi-substitution libraries 1, 3, 4 and 6, as well as variants 270 through 366, the μΙΜ^ method was used instead of the REMCAT method . As compared to REMCAT, flocculation time of chymosin variants in the μΙΜ^ assay was determined by OD measurements in 96-well microtiter plates at 800 nm in a UV/VIS plate reader. A standard curve of various dilutions of a reference standard with known clotting strength was recorded on each plate . Samples were prepared by diluting enzyme in 84 mM acetate buffer, 0.1% triton X-100, pH 5.5. Reaction at 32°C was started by adding 250 uL of a standard milk substrate containing 4% (w/w) low-heat, low fat milk powder and 7.5% (w/w) calcium chloride (pH « 6.5) to 25 uL enzyme sample. Milk clotting activity of chymosin variants in International Milk-Clotting Units (IMCU) per ml was determined based on sample flocculation time relative to the standard curve.

4.2 Determination of total protein content

Total protein content was determined using the Pierce BCA Protein Assay Kit from Thermo Scientific following the instructions of the providers.

4.3 Calculation of specific clotting activity

Specific clotting activity (IMCU/mg total protein) was determined by dividing the clotting activity (IMCU/ml) by the total protein content (mg total protein per ml) . EXAM P LE 5 Determ in at ion of aS1 - casein cleavage

Determination of aSl-casein hydrolysis activity

Chymosin mediated proteolysis of milk proteins was characterized by determining profiles of water soluble peptides extracted at pH 4.6. A culture free cheese model made in 96 well plates was used for the study. In brief, 750 μΙ skim milk from 0llingegard, Denmark added glucono-delta-lactone (GDL) and calcium chloride was aliquoted into the wells of a 96 deep well plate. After 10 min from addition of GDL to the milk, variants of chymosin were added to individual wells of the plate to a final activity of 0.05 IMCU/ml . The formed coagulum was cut after 30 min from addition of rennet by thoroughly stirring the coagulum with a pipette tip; a new tip was used for each well. Subsequently, the plate was left for another 60 min before curd and whey was separated by centrifugation of the plate for 10 min at 2500g. The milk was kept at 30°C during renneting, cutting and syneresis. Finally, whey was decanted from the plate and the pellet of rennet curd left in the plate was stored for 4 days at room temperature. Peptides were extracted by adding 500 μΙ of 0.5 M tri-sodium citrate to each well and gentle shaking the plate for 24 hours at 37 °C. The now fully dissolved rennet curd was then precipitated by adding hydrochloric acid to a final pH of 4.4-4.5. The plate was spun down in a centrifuge and the supernatant recovered for further analysis of pH 4.5 soluble peptides.

Profiles of pH 4.5 soluble peptides were determined using RP-HPLC coupled to an ESI-Q- TOF mass spectrometer. The analysis was performed by using a liquid chromatography system (Agilent 1290 infinity, Agilent Technologies A/S, Santa Clara, California, USA) coupled to a mass spectrometer (G6540A Q-TOF, Agilent Technologies A/S, Santa Clara, California, USA) . The column in the LC system was Ascentis Express Peptide ES-C18m, 2.7 μιη, 100x2. lmm (Supelco, Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, USA) . The mobile phase consisted of eluent A (0.1 % formic acid in water) and eluent B (Acetonitrile : 0.1 % formic acid in water, 9: 1) . After equilibration of the column with 2%B, a sample volume of 10 μΙ_ was injected . The peptides were separated by gradient elution generated by increas- ing eluent B from 2 % to 50% over 15 column volumes. The flow rate was 0.44 mL/min. Peptides were detected by continuously measuring the UV absorbance at 214 nm. By running MS scans from 100 to 2000 m/z the mass spectra were collected. MS/MS analysis was performed on the two most intense ions from each scan. A MIX sample consisting of equal volume of all samples analyzed was prepared and this sample was analyzed for each 12 samples. MS data were converted from the Agilent .d format to .mzml files using MSConvert ver. 3.0.6618. All further data analysis was done using R 3.1.3. Peptides were identified from MS/MS spectra using R package 'MSGFplus' version 1.05. Search database for peptide identification were limited to the bovine milk proteins: asl- casein, asl-casein, β-casein, κ-casein, β-lactoglobulin, a-lactalbumin, lactoperoixdase and lactoferrin. Serine phosphorylation and methionine oxidation were included as variable modifications. R package 'xcms' v. 1.42.0 was used for detecting and grouping peaks across samples in a sampleset according to Smith et al. (2006) . Massifquant method was used for peak detection and grouping of peaks was based on the density method . Identity was assigned to grouped peaks resulting in quantitative tables of approximately 200 identified peptides including aSl-casein (1-23) .

Statistical analysis of the positional and mutational effects on aSl -casein cleavage

A statistical machine-learning approach and PCA-based analysis was used to determine the effects of all single mutations present in the variants of multi-substitution libraries 1- 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 on cleavage of aSl-casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24.

Resu lts

Multi-substitution library 1

Variants of camel chymosin, each having multiple substitutions compared to wild type, were generated and analyzed as described above. All variants have an amino acid sequence identical to camel chymosin (SEQ ID NO: 2), except for the variations mentioned in the table. Both bovine and camel chymosin were included as references.

Clotting activities were determined using the μΙΜθυ method .

Ta ble 1 : Cleavage of aSl -casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N- terminal peptide aSIN) by camel chymosin variants 1 -95. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type camel chymosin ( CHY-MAX M). variant mutations aSIN

CHY-MAX 138

CHY-MAX

M 100

1 I96L G163E V221M 88

2 Y127F R145Q Q188E 97

3 Y21S L166V L253I 89

4 N50K T186S Y307F 113

5 G70N S277N R316L 104

6 1200V Y268F S271P R316L 113

7 M157L T186S 1200V S273Y 146

8 D98V G251D M256L V259I 125

9 67Q H76Q S132A V248I S271P 119

10 Y21S D98V V221K T239S R316L 146

11 V136I T186S V221K I263L S277N 139

12 N50K L222I S255Y 135

14 R67Q V221M M256L 117

15 G70D L166V V317L 171

16 R67Q L130I M157L 140

17 Y21S R61S H146R 121

18 V136I V221M L222I S226T 101

19 S132A R254S V259I Y307F 107

20 Y21S H76Q Y307F V317L 78

21 D158S L166V V248I F223V G251D 132

22 G70D S74F D158S R254S S277N 120

23 N50K D59N M157L M256L G289S 152

24 M142I V221K T284S 153

25 R61S R67Q K231N 114

26 V32L I96L S277N 133

27 V183I G251W M256L 124

28 M157L T239S D279E 132

29 V248I S226T E294Q 122

30 S74F L166V T186S V203A 89

32 R67Q Y127F V221K G251W 130

33 L130I M142I 1200V V259I E294Q 120

34 G70D I96L 1200V D267M D279E 108

35 G70N K231N S273Y T284S G289S 133

36 V32L G70N M142I 164

37 V203A S273Y L295K 103

38 S74F G244D S271P 122

39 L130I G163E Y307F 112

40 R61S L166V T239S 79

41 R254S D279E L295K 159

42 L130I T239S S277N L295K 128

43 G70D V183I Q188E G289S 106

44 R61S G163E M256L S277N 121 94 61Q S226T T239S V248I G251W 93

95 V32L L130I R145Q L222I D279E 119

In Table 1 are shown camel chymosin variants with data on cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since all enzyme variants were used at a normalized concentration of 0.05 IMCU/mL in the experiments, decreased aSl-casein cleavage indicates increased specificity of the respective variant for cleavage of -casein between Phel05 and Metl06 over cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24, rather than decreased general enzymatic activity. Vice versa, increased aSl-casein cleavage indicates decreased specificity of the respective variant for cleavage of -casein between Phel05 and Metl06 over cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24, rather than in- creased general enzymatic activity.

Multi-substitution library 2

Another set of camel chymosin variants, each having multiple substitutions compared to wild type, were generated and analyzed as described. All variants have an amino acid sequence identical to camel chymosin, except for the variations mentioned in the table. Both bovine and camel chymosin were included as references. Clotting activities were determined using the REMCAT method .

Ta ble 2 : Cleavage of aSl -casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N- terminal peptide aSIN) by camel chymosin variants 96-143. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type camel chymosin ( CHY-MAX M).

variant mutations aSIN

CHY-MAX 161

CHY-MAX M 100

96 D59N L222I G251D E83S Q162S 76

97 D59N L222I G251W F17Y Y21S 116

98 D59N L222I G251D H76Q S164G 81

99 D59N L222I G251D K62Q M165E 102

100 D59N L222I G251D Q162S V155F 106

101 D59N L222I G251D H76Q V155F 112

102 D59N L222I G251D S273Y L166V 81

103 D59N L222I G251D Y268F V198I 113

104 D59N L222I G251D S273Y F66Y 109

105 D59N L222I G251D M165E L166V 101

106 D59N L222I G251D H76Q M165E 118

107 D59N L222I G251D F17Y S273Y 106

108 D59N L222I G251D L166V 145V 85

109 D59N L222I G251W L180I T284S 114

110 D59N L222I G251D V32L L12M T284S 162 111 D59N L222I G251D Y21S L166V 86

112 D59N L222I G251D V155F E262T V32L 144

113 D59N L222I G251D L105E S164G 80

114 D59N L222I G251W S154A V203A 123

115 D59N L222I G251D Q162S L166V 92

116 D59N L222I G251W K19T 266I 107

117 D59N L222I G251W I303L 145V 110

119 D59N L222I G251D Y21S L215V L105E 79

120 D59N L222I G251D I96L T177S K321P 90

121 D59N L222I G251D F17Y T284S V203A 116

122 D59N L222I G251D V32L K321P V260T 125

123 D59N L222I G251D V198I V32L E83S 117

124 D59N L222I G251D I96L V203A V309I 81

125 D59N L222I G251D Y268F L215V V32L 119

126 D59N L222I G251D H76Q L105E V260T 60

127 D59N L222I G251D Y21S H76Q Y268F 97

128 D59N L222I G251D Y21S 145V F223A 111

129 D59N L222I G251D V198I V203A K321P 122

131 D59N L222I G251D S164G R266V I96L 80

132 D59N L222I G251D H181N F66Y V32L 114

133 D59N L222I G251D H181N R266I D267Q 97

134 D59N L222I G251W K62Q V309I 99

135 D59N L222I G251D Y268F L12M D267Q 116

136 D59N L222I G251D L166V E262T T177S 90

137 D59N L222I G251D S273Y T284S D267Q 122

138 D59N L222I G251D F66Y Q288E I96L 85

139 D59N L222I G251D V203A R266V F223A 63

140 D59N L222I G251D I303L S154A V260T 96

141 D59N L222I G251D Y21S T284S I96L 82

142 D59N L222I G251D Q288E K19T T177S 91

143 D59N L222I G251D K62Q Y268F K19T 96

In Table 2 are shown camel chymosin variants with data on cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since all enzyme variants were used at a normalized concentration of 0.05 IMCU/mL in the experiments, decreased aSl-casein cleavage indicates increased specificity of the respective variant for cleavage of -casein between Phel05 and Metl06 over cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24, rather than decreased general enzymatic activity. Vice versa, increased aSl-casein cleavage indicates decreased specificity of the respective variant for cleavage of -casein between Phel05 and Metl06 over cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24, rather than in- creased general enzymatic activity. Multi-substitution library 3

A third set of camel chymosin variants, each having multiple substitutions compared to wild type, were generated and analyzed as described. All variants have an amino acid sequence identical to camel chymosin, except for the variations mentioned in the table. Both bovine and camel chymosin were included as references. Clotting activities were determined using the μ-MCU method.

Ta ble 3 : Cleavage of aSl -casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N- terminal peptide aSIN) by camel chymosin variants 144-179. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type camel chymosin ( CHY-MAX M).

variant mutations aSIN

CHY-MAX 161

CHY-MAX M 100

144 L12M Y21S D59N H76Q M165E V198I L222I G251D Q288E 83

146 L12M Y21S D59N H76Q M165E L222I G251W S273Y 80

147 L12M D59N H76Q M165E V198I L222I G251D S273Y K321P 84

148 L12M D59N H76Q S154A M165E V203A L222I G251D V309I 79

149 L12M D59N H76Q D98V L222I 86

150 L12M K19T V32L D59N H76Q D144Q M165E L222I G251D 90

151 L12M Y21S D59N H76Q M165E V203A L222I G251D E262T 84

152 L12M V51L H76Q M165E G251D 68

153 L12M D59N F66Y H76Q M165E L180I L222I G251D V309I 84

154 L12M D59N H76Q S154A M165E L222I G251W Q288E 88

155 L12M D59N H76Q D98V M165E L222I G251D E262T Q288E 81

156 L12M V51L D59N H76Q L166V L222I G251D 58

157 L12M D59N H76Q D144Q M165E V203A L222I 79

158 L12M D59N D144Q M165E L166V L222I G251D 86

159 L12M K19T D59N H76Q S154A M165E V198I L222I G251D 71

160 L12M H76Q D98V M165E L222I G251W 94

161 L12M V32L D59N H76Q M165E L180I V198I L222I G251D 113

162 L12M D59N H76Q S154A M165E S273Y 80

164 L12M V51L D59N F66Y H76Q M165E V203A L222I G251W 65

165 L12M V32L H76Q M165E L222I E262T 106

166 L12M N50D D59N H76Q M165E G251W E262T 91

168 V51L D59N H76Q M165E L180I L222I G251D E262T 68

169 L12M D59N H76Q M165E G251D Q288E V309I K321P 59

172 L12M N50D D59N V203A L222I G251D 96

173 L12M D59N H76Q L180I L222I G251W K321P 88

174 L12M Y21S D59N M165E L222I K321P 99

176 D59N H76Q M165E L166V V198I L222I 95

178 L12M K19T N50D D59N H76Q M165E L222I Q288E 98

179 L12M Y21S N50D D59N F66Y H76Q D144Q M165E L222I G251D 97 In Table 3 are shown camel chymosin variants with data on cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since all enzyme variants were used at a normalized concentration of 0.05 IMCU/mL in the experiments, decreased aSl-casein cleavage indicates increased specificity of the respective variant for cleavage of -casein between Phel05 and Metl06 over cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24, rather than decreased general enzymatic activity. Vice versa, increased aSl-casein cleavage indicates decreased specificity of the respective variant for cleavage of -casein between Phel05 and Metl06 over cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24, rather than increased general enzymatic activity.

Mutational analysis of multi-substitution libraries 1 -3

A statistical analysis of the positional and mutational effects on aSl-casein cleavage aSl-casein cleavage was performed based on the proteolytic data of libraries 1-3. The most beneficial mutations for red u ced aSl-casein cleavage are shown in table 4.

Ta ble 4 : Mutational contributions (mean) to reduced aSl -casein cleavage and standard deviations (sd) based on statistical analysis.

mutation mean sd

R266V 1.78E -01 5.51E -02

V51L 1.60E -01 2.97E -02

E83S 1.46E -01 4.67E -02

I263L 1.33E -01 2.76E -02

L253I 1.24E -01 3.64E -02

L105E 1.23E -01 3.15E -02

I96L 1.12E -01 3.58E -02

L180I 1.00E -01 5.44E -02

H76Q 8.19E -02 1.81E -02

V309I 7.79E -02 3.92E -02

S226T 7.74E -02 3.48E -02

S273Y 7.48E -02 2.77E -02

E294Q 7.13E -02 3.93E -02

R316L 6.77E -02 4.10E -02

S255Y 5.91E -02 2.50E -02

V203A 5.09E -02 2.13E -02

Y307F 4.99E -02 2.20E -02

Q188E 4.97E -02 2.05E -02

V260T 4.91E -02 2.97E -02

Based on the obtained results it is concluded that mutations shown in table 4 reveal an inhibiting effect on the cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since the mutations shown in table 4 cause less generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require less softening of the cheese curd during ripening. Industrially relevant examples include Pasta filata, Cheddar, and Continental type cheeses with improved curd firmness for optimized slicing and shredding processes.

The 8 mutations with the strongest inhibiting effect on aSl-casein cleavage between Phe23 and Phe24 (R266V, V51L, E83S, I263L, L253I, L105E, I96L, L180I) are located distant from the substrate binding cleft of camel chymosin (Fig. 1) . An indirect influence of these mutations on aSl-casein cleavage can therefore be concluded.

The most beneficial mutations for in creased aSl-casein cleavage are shown in table 5.

Ta ble 5 : Mutational contributions (mean) to increased aSl -casein cleavage and standard deviations (sd) based on statistical analysis.

mutation mean sd

V221K 1.38E -01 2.30E -02

N50K 1.29E -01 2.90E -02

F223V 1.16E -01 2.51E -02

V32L 1.05E -01 2.07E -02

L295K 9.47E -02 2.40E -02

1200V 9.28E -02 2.70E -02

T284S 8.48E -02 2.27E -02

M256L 8.30E -02 1.86E -02

H146 7.32E -02 3.11E -02

V155F 7.27E -02 2.96E -02

V198I 7.24E -02 2.46E -02

M157L 7.08E -02 2.38E -02

F17Y 6.58E -02 1.80E -02

D158S 6.04E -02 2.95E -02

M142I 5.86E -02 2.60E -02

V136I 5.83E -02 2.44E -02

D267Q 5.74E -02 2.36E -02

F66Y 4.89E -02 2.95E -02

N50D 4.72E -02 1.84E -02

K231N 4.71E -02 1.81E -02

V259I 4.71E -02 2.88E -02

G244D 4.52E -02 3.03E -02

Based on the obtained results it is concluded that mutations shown in table 5 cause higher cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since the mutations shown in table 5 cause higher generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require more softening of the cheese curd during ripening. Industrially relevant examples include Soft Cheese and White Brine cheese. Four out of the five mutations with highest impact on increased aSl-casein cleavage between Phe23 and Phe24 are located in the binding cleft of camel chymosin (V221K, F223V, V32L, L295K; Fig. 2) and might thus have a direct influence on aSl-casein binding during cheese ripening . Three of these mutations (V221K, F223V, V32L) introduce the amino acids of bovine chymosin (CHY-MAX) in the respective positions, which shows increased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24 compared to camel chymosin (CHY-MAX M ; Tabs 1-3) .

Multi-substitution library 4

Another set of camel chymosin variants, each having multiple substitutions compared to wild type, were generated and analyzed as described above. All variants have an amino acid sequence identical to camel chymosin (SEQ ID NO: 2), except for the variations mentioned in the table. Camel chymosin (CHY-MAX M) is included as reference.

Clotting activities were determined using the μΙΜθυ method .

Ta ble 6 : Cleavage of aSl -casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N- terminal peptide aSIN) by camel chymosin variants 179-222. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type camel chymosin ( CHY-MAX M).

variant mutations aSIN

CHY-MAX M 100

180 H76Q S132A S164G L222I N249D G251D 74

181 Y21S D59N H76Q S164G L166V N249D G251D S273Y 73

182 D59N H76Q S164G L222I R242E S273Y V309I 67

183 D59N H76Q L130I L166V L222I N249D G251D S273Y 63

184 Y21S D59N S164G L222I R242E G251D S273Y V309I 70

185 K19T Y21S D59N H76Q S132A S164G L222I G251D S273Y 67

186 D59N H76Q I96L L130I S164G L222I R242E G251D 35

187 H76Q S164G L166V L222I S226T S273Y 57

188 K19T D59N I96L S164G L222I G251D 60

189 Y21S H76Q S164G L222I R242E G251D S273Y 49

190 H76Q I96L S164G L222I R242E G251D S273Y 36

191 H76Q S164G L222I N249D G251D S273Y V309I 53

192 K19T D59N H76Q S164G L222I N249D S273Y 51

193 Y21S D59N H76Q S164G L222I S226T G251D S273Y V309I 54

194 H76Q S164G L166V L222I R242E G251D S273Y 44

195 D59N H76Q I96L S164G L222I S226T N249D G251D S273Y 55

196 D59N H76Q L130I S164G L166V L222I G251D S273Y V309I 57

197 D59N S132A S164G L222I R242E N249D G251D S273Y 72

198 H76Q I96L S164G G251D S273Y V309I 53

199 D59N H76Q L130I S164G G251D V309I 61

200 K19T D59N S164G L166V L222I S226T G251D S273Y 65

201 D59N H76Q I96L S132A S164G L222I S226T G251D S273Y 50

202 K19T D59N H76Q I96L S164G L166V L222I G251D S273Y 39

203 K19T D59N H76Q L130I S164G L222I S226T G251D S273Y 68

204 K19T D59N H76Q S132A L222I G251D S273Y V309I 78

205 H76Q L130I L222I S226T G251D S273Y 78

206 K19T Y21S D59N H76Q L130I S164G L222I S273Y 69

207 Y21S D59N H76Q I96L S164G L222I N249D G251D S273Y 63

208 K19T D59N H76Q S164G R242E N249D G251D S273Y 53

209 D59N H76Q S164G L222I S226T R242E 58

210 D59N H76Q I96L S132A S164G L166V L222I G251D S273Y 50

211 D59N H76Q S132A S164G L166V S273Y 75

212 Y21S D59N S164G L222I S226T N249D G251D S273Y 84

213 D59N H76Q L130I S132A S164G L222I R242E G251D S273Y 65

214 D59N H76Q S164G L166V L222I N249D G251D S273Y V309I 68

215 D59N H76Q I96L S164G L222I S226T G251D S273Y V309I 60

216 K19T D59N H76Q L166V L222I R242E G251D S273Y 70

217 Y21S D59N H76Q I96L L222I S273Y 78

218 D59N H76Q I96L L130I S164G L222I N249D G251D S273Y 72

219 L130I S164G L222I S273Y 82

220 K19T Y21S H76Q S164G L222I G251D S273Y 66

221 Y21S D59N H76Q L130I S132A S164G L222I G251D S273Y 80

222 D59N H76Q S226T R242E G251D S273Y 89 In table 6 are shown camel chymosin variants with data on cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. All variants reveal between 11% and 65% reduced proteolytic activity compared to wild type camel chymosin. Mutational analysis of multi-substitution library 4

A statistical analysis of the positional and mutational effects on aSl-casein cleavage was performed based on the proteolytic data of library 4 variants. The most beneficial mutations for increased or decreased aSl-casein cleavage are shown in table 7. Ta ble 7 : Mutational contributions (mean) to altered aSl -casein cleavage and standard deviations (sd) based on statistical analysis. Positive mean values represent decreased aSl-casein cleavage. Negative mean values represent increased aSl -casein cleavage.

mutation mean sd

S164G 5.65E-01 5.10E-02

H76Q 4.33E-01 2.63E-02

I96L 4.21E-01 4.03E-02

242E 3.50E-01 3.99E-02

L166V 2.32E-01 3.82E-02

L222I 2.00E-01 4.90E-02

K19T 1.94E-01 2.99E-02

Y21S -1.13E-01 2.99E-02

D59N -1.34E-01 3.41E-02

S132A -1.75E-01 3.18E-02 Based on the results shown in table 7 it is concluded that mutations K1 9 T, H 76 Q, I 96 L, S1 64 G, L1 66 V, L222 I , and R242 E lead to decreased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since these mutations cause less generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require less softening of the cheese curd during ripening . Mutations Y21 S, D59 N , and S1 32 A lead to in creased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since these mutations cause higher generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require more softening of the cheese curd during ripening . Multi-substitution library 5

Another set of camel chymosin variants, each having multiple substitutions compared to wild type, were generated and analyzed as described above. All variants have an amino acid sequence identical to camel chymosin (SEQ ID NO: 2), except for the variations mentioned in the table. Camel chymosin (CHY-MAX M) is included as reference.

Clotting activities were determined using the REMCAT method .

Ta ble 8 : Cleavage of aSl -casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N- terminal peptide aSIN) by camel chymosin variants 223-269. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type camel chymosin ( CHY-MAX M).

variant mutations aSIN

CHY-MAX M 100

223 K19T D59N I96L S164G L222I G251D 77

224 Ylll K19T D59N 196V L222I R242D G251D 78

225 K19S D59N 196V S164G G251D 86

226 K19S I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E 43

227 K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V L222I R242D G251D L253I 59

228 D59N I96L S164G L222I R242E L253I I263L 59

229 K19T D59N E83T I96L L222I G251D I263L 93

230 Ylll K19T D59N S164G L222I G251D 1263V 56

231 K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I G251D L253V 83

232 K19T 196V S164G L222I N249D G251D L253I 79

233 K19T I96L L222I R242E L253I 89

234 K19T E83S I96L S164G L222I R242E G251D L253I 58

235 D59N E83T I96L S164N L222V G251D 101

236 K19S D59N I96L S164G L222I R242E N249E G251D 54

237 K19T I96L S164G L166V L222I N249D I263L 63

238 D59N I96L L166V L222I R242E G251D 77

239 K19T D59N E83T S164G L166V L222I R242D G251D 76

240 Ylll K19T D59N E83S I96L S164G L222I N249D 37

241 K19T E83T I96L S164G L222I R242E L253V 68

242 K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I L222I R242E N249D 66

243 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E G251D L253I 47

244 K19T I96L S164N L222I R242E I263L 73

245 Y11V D59N I96L S164G L222I G251D L253V 51

246 K19T D59N 196V S164G L166V L222I R242E I263L 47

247 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164N L166I L222I G251D 45

248 K19T I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E N249D G251D 1263V 57

249 K19T I96L S164G R242E L253I 69

250 K19S D59N E83S I96L S164N L222I G251D 93

251 K19T D59N I96L S164G L222V N249E G251D 1263V 72

252 K19T D59N I96L S164G L222I N249E G251D L253V I263L 71

253 Ylll K19T I96L S164G L222V R242E G251D 39

254 I96L S164G L222I R242E N249D G251D I263L 58

255 K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I L222I R242D G251D 1263V 65

256 K19T D59N I96L S164G L222V R242E N249D L253I 65

257 H76Q I96L S164G L222I R242E G251D S273Y 45

258 K19T E83S I96L S164G L222I R242E N249D G251D L253I 67

259 I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E N249D I263L 51

260 Y11V K19T E83S I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E G251D 46

261 Y11V K19T I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E 39

262 Y11V E83S I96L S164G L222I R242E G251D L253I I263L 40

263 Y11V I96L S164G L222I R242E N249D L253I I263L 41

264 K19T I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E N249D I263L 43

265 Y11V E83S I96L S164G L222I R242E L253I I263L 46

266 K19T E83S I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E N249D G251D L253I 74

267 I96L S164G L222I R242E G251D S273Y 67

268 H76Q I96L S164G L222I R242E G251D 54

269 I96L S164G L222I R242E G251D 72 In table 8 are shown camel chymosin variants with data on cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Out of 47 library variants, 44 reveal between 11% and 60% reduced proteolytic activity compared to wild type camel chymosin .

Mutational analysis of multi-substitution library 5

A statistical analysis of the positional and mutational effects on aSl-casein cleavage was performed based on the proteolytic data of library 5 variants. The most beneficial muta- tions for increased or decreased aSl-casein cleavage are shown in table 9.

Ta b le 9 : Mutational contributions (mean) to altered aSl -casein cleavage and standard deviations (sd) based on statistical analysis. Positive mean values represent decreased aSl -casein cleavage. Negative mean values represent increased aSl -casein cleavage.

mutation mean sd

Ylll 7.41E-01 9.83E-02

Y11V 6.79E-01 4.09E-02

S164G 4.73E-01 3.77E-02

H76Q 3.59E-01 6.78E-02

L222V 2.34E-01 5.61E-02

I96L 1.79E-01 5.29E-02

K19S 1.73E-01 8.05E-02

L222I 1.71E-01 3.20E-02

I263L 1.54E-01 4.94E-02

L166V 1.54E-01 3.65E-02

S273Y 1.17E-01 7.37E-02

242E l.llE-01 5.68E-02

S164N 9.78E-02 6.20E-02

G251D -1.64E-01 4.79E-02

L253V -2.11E-01 3.87E-02

Based on the results shown in table 9 it is concluded that mutations Y1 1 1 , Y1 1 V , K1 9 S, H 76 Q , I 96 L, S1 64 G, S1 64 N , L1 66 V , L222 I , L222 V , R242 E, I 263 L, and S273 Y lead to decreased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since these mutations cause less generation of aSl ( l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chy ¬ mosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require less softening of the cheese curd during ripening . Mutations L253 V and G25 1 D lead to i n creased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since these mutations cause higher generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require more softening of the cheese curd during ripening .

Structure-based variations in camel chymosin

Variants of camel chymosin (SEQ ID NO: 2) were made with amino acid changes in positions determined by protein structural analysis (Tab. 10) . Mutations N100Q and N291Q were introduced into both N-glycosylation sites of these variants and the reference camel chymosin (CamUGly) to yield non-glycosylated, homogeneous protein samples. Clotting activities were determined using the μΙΜθυ method .

Ta ble 1 0 : Cleavage of aSl - casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N-terminal peptide aSIN) by camel chymosin variants 270-308. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type camel chymosin (CamUGly).

variant mutations aSIN

CamUGly N100Q N291Q 100

270 V32L N100Q N291Q 120

271 V221K N100Q N291Q 130

272 D290E N100Q N291Q 100

273 V136I N100Q N291Q 105

274 E240Q N100Q N291Q 97

275 242Q N100Q N291Q 86

276 G289S N100Q N291Q 81

277 N292H N100Q N291Q 127

278 L295K N100Q N291Q 113

279 V136E N100Q N291Q 100

280 D290L N100Q N291Q 106

281 F119Y N100Q N291Q 83

282 Q280E N100Q N291Q 94

283 F282E N100Q N291Q 99

284 N249D N100Q N291Q 98

285 R254S N100Q N291Q 95

286 R242E N100Q N291Q 86

287 N252D N100Q N291Q 93

288 V203R N100Q N291Q 107

289 N249R N100Q N291Q 95

290 H56K N100Q N291Q 106

291 S74D N100Q N291Q 93

292 A131D N100Q N291Q 101

293 Y190A N100Q N291Q 87

294 I297A N100Q N291Q 149

295 H76Q N100Q N291Q 73 296 S273Y N100Q N291Q 89

297 K19T N100Q N291Q 89

299 L222I N100Q N291Q 92

300 V309I N100Q N291Q 96

302 Y21S N100Q N291Q 108

303 L130I N100Q N291Q 110

304 S132A N100Q N291Q 112

305 S226T N100Q N291Q 94

306 G251D N100Q N291Q 105

307 Y243E N100Q N291Q 98

308 S273D N100Q N291Q 99

Based on the results shown in table 10 it is concluded that mutations K1 9 T, H 76 Q, F1 1 9 Y, Y1 90 A, R242 E, R242 Q, S273 Y, and G289 S decreased cleavage of aSl- casein between Phe23 and Phe24 by more than 10%. Since these mutations cause less generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require less softening of the cheese curd during ripening. V32 L, L1 30 I , S1 32 A, V221 K, N292 H , L295 K, and I 297A i n creased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24 by at least 10% . Since these mutations cause higher generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require more softening of the cheese curd during ripening . A similar effect of mutations H76 Q, S273 Y, R242 E and V32 L, S1 32 A, V221 K, L295 K on decreased and increased aSl-casein cleavage, respectively, was determined by mutational analysis of multi-substitution libraries 1-6 (tables 5, 7, 9) . Fourteen out of 15 variants from table 10 that showed more than 10% decreased or increased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24 bear mutations (H76Q, F119Y, Y190A, R242E, R242Q, S273Y, G289S, V32L, L130I, S132A, V221K, N292H, L295K, I297A) within or in structural proximity to the substrate binding cleft (Fig. 2), suggesting a direct impact of these mutations on β-casein binding.

Structure-based variations in bovine chymosin

Variants of bovine chymosin (SEQ ID NO: l) were made with amino acid changes in positions determined by protein structural analysis (Tab. 11) . Mutations N252Q and N291Q were introduced into both N-glycosylation sites of these variants and the reference bo- vine chymosin (BovUGly) to yield non-glycosylated, homogeneous protein samples.

Clotting activities were determined using the μ-MCU method . Ta ble 1 1 : Cleavage of aSl -casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N-terminal peptide aSIN) by bovine chymosin variants 326-346. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type bovine chymosin (BovilGly).

variant mutations aSIN

BovUGly N252Q N291Q 100

326 E290D N252Q N291Q 95

327 A117S N252Q N291Q 87

328 1136V N252Q N291Q 95

330 Q278K N252Q N291Q 97

332 H292N N252Q N291Q 90

334 K295L N252Q N291Q 94

338 Q56H N252Q N291Q 103

339 L32I N252Q N291Q 93

340 K71E N252Q N291Q 67

341 P72T N252Q N291Q 103

342 Q83T N252Q N291Q 110

343 V113F N252Q N291Q 72

344 E133S N252Q N291Q 114

345 Y134G N252Q N291Q 102

346 K71A N252Q N291Q 96 Mutations K71 E, V1 1 3 F, and A1 1 7 decreased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24 by more than 10% as shown in table 11. Since these mutations cause less generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require less softening of the cheese curd during ripening. Mutations Q83 T and E1 33 S in creased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24 by at least 10%. Since these mutations cause higher generation of aSl(l- 23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require more softening of the cheese curd during ripening .

Variations of the camel chymosin N-terminus

Variants of camel chymosin (SEQ ID NO: 2) were made with amino acid changes in positions determined by protein structural analysis of the molecular interactions of the N- terminal sequence Y11-D13 within the substrate binding cleft (Tab. 12) . Mutations N100Q and N291Q were introduced into both N-glycosylation sites of these variants and the reference camel chymosin (CamUGly) to yield non-glycosylated, homogeneous pro- tein samples.

Clotting activities were determined using the μ-MCU method . Ta ble 1 2 : Cleavage of aSl - casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N-terminal peptide aSIN) by camel chymosin variants 347-366. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type camel chymosin (CamUGly). variant mutations aSIN

CamUGly N100Q N291Q 100

347 Y11H N100Q N291Q 96

348 Y11K N100Q N291Q 100

349 Y11 N100Q N291Q 97

350 Y11H D290E N100Q N291Q 94

351 Y11R D290E N100Q N291Q 81

352 Y11F N100Q N291Q 100

353 Ylll N100Q N291Q 89

354 Y11L N100Q N291Q 89

355 Y11V N100Q N291Q 95

356 L12F N100Q N291Q 102

357 L12I N100Q N291Q 104

358 L12M N100Q N291Q 123

359 D13N N100Q N291Q 119

360 D13Q N100Q N291Q 109

361 D13S N100Q N291Q 114

362 D13T N100Q N291Q 119

363 D13F N100Q N291Q 106

364 D13L N100Q N291Q 109

365 D13V N100Q N291Q 120

366 D13Y N100Q N291Q 107

Analysis of the camel chymosin structure guided variations in the N-terminal sequence Y11-D13 as well as in position D290, a potential interaction partner of Yl l (Fig. 3). Since casein substrates compete with the N-terminal chymosin sequence for binding within the binding cleft, amino acid substitutions that change interactions between bind- ing cleft and the motif Y11-D13 are expected to impact enzymatic activity toward various casein substrates and, thus, cleavage of aSl-casein. Mutations Y1 1 1 and Y1 1 V, as well as the combination of Y1 1 R a nd D290 E decreased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24 by more than 10% as shown in table 12. Since these mutations cause less generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin var- iants for cheese manufacturing processes that require less softening of the cheese curd during ripening. Since neither Y11R (variant 349, table 12) nor D290E (variant 272, table 10) show significant impact on cleavage of aSl-casein alone, the altered proteolytic activity of variant 351 is most likely caused by synergistic effects of both mutations. Mutations L1 2 M , D 1 3 N , D 1 3 S, D 1 3 T and D 1 3 V in creased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24 by at least 10%. Since these mutations cause higher generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require more softening of the cheese curd during ripening .

Multi-substitution library 6

Another set of camel chymosin variants, each having multiple substitutions compared to wild type, were generated and analyzed as described above. All variants have an amino acid sequence identical to camel chymosin (SEQ ID NO: 2), except for the variations mentioned in the table. Camel chymosin (CHY-MAX M) is included as reference.

Clotting activities were determined using the μΙΜθυ method .

Ta ble 1 3 : Cleavage of aSl - casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N-terminal peptide aSIN) by camel chymosin variants 367-416. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type camel chymosin ( CHY-MAX M).

variant mutations aSIN

CHY-MAX

M 100

367 67Q N100Q L130I M157L V248I N291Q 145

368 N100Q L130I S132A M157L K231N 148

369 R67Q I96L L130I M157L L222I M256L 106

370 R67Q L130I S132A M157L R242E V248I 98

371 R67Q N100Q M157L R242E M256L 99

372 R67Q G70D M157L R242E V248I 84

373 V32L R67Q M157L L222I R242E 97

374 Y11V R67Q M157L V248I M256L 88

375 R67Q V136I M157L L222I V248I 64

376 L130I M157L V248I M256L N291Q 127

377 R67Q I96L L130I M157L K231N R242E 92

378 V32L R67Q L130I M157L L222I K231N 113

379 L130I V136I M157L L222I N292H 111

380 R67Q G70D M157L L222I N291Q 106

381 V32L R67Q L130I K231N N292H 125

382 Y11V R67Q N100Q L130I V136I M157L 107

383 R67Q L130I L222I R242E M256L 87

384 R67Q M157L L222I V248I N292H 96

385 V32L R67Q M157L M256L N291Q 117

386 R67Q L130I S132A M157L L222I N292H 97

387 R67Q N100Q L130I M157L K231N N291Q 139

388 R67Q L130I K231N V248I N291Q 131

389 Y11V R67Q L130I M157L L222I K231N 82 390 145V L130I M157L K231N R242E 91

391 V32L R67Q V136I M157L N291Q 128

392 67Q N100Q L130I D158S V248I 134

393 145V R67Q L130I M157L L222I K231N 106

394 V32L R67Q L130I S132A M157L V248I 117

395 Y11V R67Q L130I M157L N291Q N292H 91

396 R67Q N100Q L130I M157L L222I K231N 120

397 145V R67Q G70D L130I S132A 98

398 145V R67Q L130I V248I N292H 108

399 Y11V R67Q L130I M157L L222I R242E 73

400 R67Q N100Q D158S L130I M157L L222I 116

401 R67Q L130I V136I M157L K231N V248I 109

402 145V R67Q L130I L222I N291Q 118

403 R67Q G70D L130I M157L K231N M256L 107

404 V32L R67Q L130I M157L D158S V248I 112

405 R67Q L130I M157L D158S R242E N291Q 62

406 R67Q L130I M157L D158S K231N N292H 103

407 R67Q L130I V248I M256L N292H 120

408 V32L R67Q I96L L130I M157L V248I 108

409 R67Q I96L N100Q L130I M157L N292H 73

410 V32L R67Q G70D N100Q M157L 132

411 V32L R67Q L130I M157L K231N M256L 63

412 R67Q I96L M157L L222I K231N 105

413 R67Q M157L L222I K231N V248I 108

414 R67Q L130I M157L R242E M256L N292H 95

415 R67Q L222I K231N V248I 106

416 R67Q S132A L222I K231N R242E V248I 88

In table 13 are shown camel chymosin variants with data on cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Out of 50 library variants, 10 reveal between 12% and 48% reduced proteolytic activity compared to wild type camel chymosin. Another 18 variants reveal between 11% and 48% increased proteolytic activity compared to wild type camel chymosin.

Mutational analysis of multi-substitution library 6

A statistical analysis of the positional and mutational effects on aSl-casein cleavage was performed based on the proteolytic data of library 6 variants. The most beneficial mutations for increased or decreased aSl-casein cleavage are shown in table 14. Ta ble 1 4 : Mutational contributions (mean) to altered aSl -casein cleavage and standard deviations (sd) based on statistical analysis. Positive mean values represent de- creased aSl-casein cleavage. Negative mean values represent increased aSl -casein cleavage.

mutation mean sd

Y11V 5.14E-01 2.20E-02

242E 3.82E-01 1.98E-02

G70D 8.96E-02 2.13E-02

R67Q 7.87E-02 2.85E-02

L222I 7.48E-02 1.56E-02

M256L -3.63E-02 1.73E-02

V248I -4.27E-02 1.94E-02

K231N -5.17E-02 1.67E-02

V136I -8.22E-02 2.13E-02

L130I -9.71E-02 1.78E-02

V32L -1.75E-01 2.07E-02

N291Q -1.99E-01 1.65E-02

N100Q -3.72E-01 1.79E-02

Based on the results shown in table 14 it is concluded that mutations Y1 1 V, R242 E, G70 D , R67 Q, and L222 I lead to decreased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since these mutations cause less generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require less softening of the cheese curd during ripening. Mutations N 1 00 Q, N291 Q, V32 L, L1 30 I , V1 36 I , K231 N , V248 I , and M 256 L lead to i n creased cleavage of aSl- casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since these mutations cause higher generation of aSl(l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require more softening of the cheese curd during ripening.

Multi-substitution library 7 Another set of camel chymosin variants, each having multiple substitutions compared to wild type, were generated and analyzed as described above. All variants have an amino acid sequence identical to camel chymosin (SEQ ID NO: 2), except for the variations mentioned in the table. Camel chymosin (CHY-MAX M) is included as reference. Clotting activities were determined using the REMCAT method . Ta ble 1 5 : Cleavage of aSl -casein between amino acids Phe23 and Phe24 (yielding the N-terminal peptide aSIN) by camel chymosin variants 417-461 , as well as specific clotting activities (C), general proteolytic activities (P) and C/P values. Numbers are given in % cleavage of wild type camel chymosin (CHY-MAX M).

Proteolytic variant mutations a SIN Clotting (C) (P) C/P

CHY-MAX M 100 100 100 100

417 Y11V K19T D59N S164G L166V L222I R242E N249E G251D 45 132 20 651

418 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I L222I R242E N249E G251D 42 114 21 556

419 Ylll K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E N249E G251D 32 108 20 554

420 Ylll K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I L222I R242E G251D 38 98 11 898

421 Y11V K19T D59N I96L L166V L222V R242E N249E G251D L253I 35 132 84 156

422 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V R242E 45 105 13 802

423 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L222V R242E G251D 46 89 8 1131

424 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I R242E N249E G251D L253I 43 93 8 1111

425 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V L222V R242E N249E G251D 26 105 18 572

426 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I L222V R242E N249E G251D L253I 30 93 18 512

427 Y11V K19T D59N L166V L222I R242E N249E G251D L253I 54 137 42 323

428 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V L222I R242E N249E 36 120 15 803

429 Y11V K19T D59N S164G L166I L222I R242E G251D 53 107 17 630

430 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G R242E G251D 48 89 11 801

431 Y11V D59N I96L S164G L166I L222V R242E G251D L253I 41 79 28 283

432 Y11V D59N I96L S164G L166I L222I R242E G251D 39 102 24 432

433 Ylll D59N I96L S164G L166V L222V R242E G251D L253I 18 97 25 392

434 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L222I R242E N249E G251D 42 99 33 301

435 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I L222V R242E G251D 49 88 17 514

436 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V L222V R242E N249E L253I 33 95 10 949

437 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I L222V R242E N249E G251D 39 114 22 520

438 Ylll K19T I96L S164G L166V R242E N249E G251D 40 93 7 1262

439 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V L222V R242E G251D 36 108 26 423

440 Y11V K19T D59N I96L S164G L222V R242E N249E G251D 52 105 9 1196

441 Ylll K19T L222V R242E N249E G251D 67 122 26 469

442 Y11V K19T I96L L222V R242E N249E G251D 60 105 21 503

443 Ylll K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V L222V R242E N249E G251D 31 105 18 595

444 Y11V K19T I96L S164G L166V L222V R242E N249E G251D 38 96 8 1242

445 Ylll K19T D59N I96L S164G L166I L222V R242E N249E G251D 38 82 12 707

446 Ylll I96L S164G L166V L222V R242E N249E G251D 28 95 16 579

447 Ylll K19T D59N I96L S164G L222V R242E N249E 45 90 11 790

448 Ylll K19T D59N I96L L222V R242E N249E G251D 41 153 40 381

449 Ylll K19T D59N I96L S164G L222I R242E 39 89 16 564

450 Ylll K19T D59N I96L S164G L166V R242E G251D 36 88 5 1686

451 Ylll K19T D59N S164G L166I L222V R242E G251D 51 93 21 440

452 Ylll I96L L222V R242E N249E G251D 49 122 22 566

453 Ylll I96L S164G L222I R242E 40 74 5 1375

454 Y11V K19T I96L L166V L222V R242E G251D 29 119 52 228

455 Ylll D59N I96L S164G L222I R242E G251D 42 105 9 1139

456 Ylll D59N I96L S164G L222V R242E N249E G251D 43 95 15 615

457 Ylll K19T D59N I96L S164G L222I R242E N249E G251D 40 101 7 1419

458 Ylll D59N I96L S164G L166V L222V R242E G251D 25 89 16 572

459 Y11V K19T D59N I96L L222V R242E G251D 52 143 62 230

460 Ylll K19T S164G L166I L222V R242E N249E G251D 44 80 13 625

461 Ylll D59N I96L S164G L166V L222V R242E N249E G251D 25 96 35 273

In table 15 are shown camel chymosin variants with data on cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24, as well as specific clotting activities (C), general proteolytic ac- tivities (P) and C/P values. All variants reveal between 33% and 82% reduced aSl- casein cleavage .

Mutational analysis of multi-substitution library 7

A statistical analysis of the positional and mutational effects on aSl-casein cleavage was performed based on the proteolytic data of library 7 variants. The most beneficial muta ¬ tions for decreased aSl-casein cleavage are shown in table 16. Ta b le 1 6 : Mutational contributions (mean) to altered aSl -casein cleavage and standard deviations (sd) based on statistical analysis. Positive mean values represent decreased aSl -casein cleavage.

mutation mean sd

I96L 2.61E-01 1.79E-02

L166V 2.25E-01 1.45E-02

242E 2.03E-01 5.96E-02

Ylll 1.51E-01 3.31E-02

L222I 1.43E-01 2.15E-02

L222V 1.39E-01 1.62E-02

S164G 1.18E-01 2.22E-02

L166I 9.00E-02 1.76E-02

L253I 5.86E-02 1.90E-02

Y11V 5.28E-02 2.75E-02

Based on the results shown in table 16 it is concluded that mutations I 96 L, L1 66 V , R242 E, Y1 1 1 , L222 I , L222 V , S1 64 G, L1 66 I , L253 I , and Y1 1 V lead to d ecreased cleavage of aSl-casein between Phe23 and Phe24. Since these mutations cause less generation of aSl ( l-23), they represent preferred mutations in chymosin variants for cheese manufacturing processes that require less softening of the cheese curd during ripening .

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