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J Chromatogr A. 2007 Jun 22;1154(1-2):81-6. Epub 2007 Feb 24.

Arginine improves protein elution in hydrophobic interaction chromatography. The cases of human interleukin-6 and activin-A.

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  • 1Department of Medical Genome Sciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa 277-8562, Japan.


The effects of arginine on protein binding and elution in hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC) were examined using recombinant human interleukin-6 (IL-6) and activin-A. Binding of IL-6 in the presence of ammonium sulfate (AS) was tested using low- and high-substituted phenyl-sepharose. While inclusion of arginine during loading of IL-6 resulted in incomplete binding to the low-substituted phenyl-sepharose, binding was complete to the high-substituted phenyl-sepharose. Arginine facilitated elution of IL-6 from both columns. These results demonstrate that arginine weakens hydrophobic interactions between IL-6 and the phenyl-sepharose. More drastic results were obtained using activin-A, which showed undetectable recovery from phenyl-sepharose. Although no apparent elution of activin-A was observed from butyl-sepharose in aqueous buffer alone, the addition of arginine to the buffer resulted in partial elution recovery and, together with ethanol, resulted in greatly improved recovery of the protein. Two arginine derivatives, acetylarginine and agmatine, were also effective. These results show that arginine improves protein elution in HIC.

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