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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1999 May 15;365(2):289-98.

Hydrogen bonding between sugar and protein is responsible for inhibition of dehydration-induced protein unfolding.

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University of Colorado Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado, 80262, USA.


The nature of the interaction responsible for the inhibition of protein unfolding and subsequent damage by sugars during dehydration is unclear. The relationship between sample moisture content measured by coulometric Karl Fischer titration and the apparent moisture content predicted by the area of the protein side chain carboxylate band at approximately 1580 cm-1 in infrared spectra of dried protein-sugar samples was examined. For samples in which a high level of native protein structure was retained in the dried solid, the apparent moisture content predicted by the carboxylate band area was greater than the actual moisture content, indicating that protection results from direct sugar-protein hydrogen bonding and not entrapment of water at the protein surface. Further, we show that the degree of structural protection conferred by sucrose and trehalose apparent in second derivative, amide I infrared spectra, correlates with the extent of hydrogen bonding between sugar and protein. The failure of dextran to inhibit dehydration-induced lysozyme unfolding is shown to result from the inability of the polymer to hydrogen bond adequately to the protein. Therefore, formation of an amorphous phase alone is not sufficient to maintain protein structure during dehydration. Glucose hydrogen bonds to a high degree with dried lysozyme, but is incapable of inhibiting lyophilization-induced protein unfolding in the absence of an effective cryoprotectant. However, the addition of polyethylene glycol, which is known to protect proteins during freezing, but not drying, to glucose protected lysozyme structure during lyophilization. Together, these results show that hydrogen bonding between carbohydrate and protein is necessary to prevent dehydration-induced protein damage. However, hydrogen bonding alone is not sufficient to protect proteins during lyophilization in the absence of adequate freezing protection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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