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Unfolding of a model protein on ion exchange and mixed mode chromatography surfaces.

Journal of chromatography. A (2014-07-07)
Adrian M Gospodarek, Diana E Hiser, John P O'Connell, Erik J Fernandez
ABSTRACT

Recent studies with proteins indicate that conformational changes and aggregation can occur during ion exchange chromatography (IEC). Such behavior is not usually expected, but could lead to decreased yield and product degradation from both IEC and multi mode chromatography (MMC) that has ligands of both hydrophobic and charged functionalities. In this study, we used hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry to investigate unfolding of the model protein BSA on IEC and MMC surfaces under different solution conditions at 25°C. Increased solvent exposure, indicating greater unfolding relative to that in solution, was found for protein adsorbed on cationic IEC and MMC surfaces in the pH range of 3.0 to 4.5, where BSA has decreased stability in solution. There was no effect of anionic surfaces at pH values in the range from 6.0 to 9.0. Differences of solvent exposure of whole molecules when adsorbed and in solution suggest that adsorbed BSA unfolds at lower pH values and may show aggregation, depending upon pH and the surface type. Measurements on digested peptides showed that classifications of stability can be made for various regions; these are generally retained as pH is changed. When salt was added to MMC systems, where electrostatic interactions would be minimized, less solvent exposure was seen, implying that it is the cationic moieties, rather than the hydrophobic ligands, which cause greater surface unfolding at low salt concentrations. These results suggest that proteins of lower stability may exhibit unfolding and aggregation during IEC and MMC separations, as they can with hydrophobic interaction chromatography.

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