Correlations for the partition behavior of proteins in aqueous two-phase systems: Effect of overall protein concentration

A.S. Schmidt, B.A. Andrews, J.A. Asenjo

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    The effect of protein concentration in partitioning in PEG/ salt aqueous two-phase systems has been investigated. PEG 4000/phosphate systems in the presence of 0% w/w and 8.8% w/w NaCl have been evaluated using amyloglucosidase, subtilisin, and trypsin inhibitor. Also, a PEG 4000/phosphate system with 3% w/w NaCl was used for alpha-amylase. The concentration of the protein in each of the phases affected its partition behavior. The pattern for the individual proteins was dependent on their physicochemical properties. In the top phase, maximum protein concentration was determined mainly by a steric exclusion effect of PEG, and hydrophobic interaction between PEG and proteins. In the bottom phase, maximum concentration was determined mainly by a salting-out effect of the salts present. As the ionic strength was increased in the systems the concentration in the top phase increased for all proteins. In the bottom phase an increase in ionic strength increased the salting-out effect. Amyloglucosidase had a very low maximum concentration in the PEG-rich top phase which was probably due to its large size (steric exclusion) and low hydrophobicity, and a high concentration in the salt-rich bottom phase due to its high hydrophilicity. In the case of subtilisin and trypsin inhibitor, their high concentrations in the top phase were due to their hydrophobic nature (hydrophobic interaction with PEG) and small size (negligible steric exclusion). The maximum concentration in the bottom phase for trypsin inhibitor was lower than that of subtilisin which was probably due to its higher hydrophobicity and, hence, a stronger salting-out effect. The protein concentration in each of the two phases was correlated with a ''saturation''-type equation. The partition coefficient could be satisfactorily predicted, as a function of the overall protein concentration, by the ratio between the ''saturation'' equations of the two individual phases. Better correlations were obtained when an empirical sigmoidal Boltzmann equation was fitted to the data, since in virtually all cases the partition coefficient is constant at low protein concentration (true partitioning) and changes to a different constant value at a high overall protein concentration. (C) 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)617-626
    Publication statusPublished - 1996

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