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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2005 Feb 20;89(4):381-92.

Affinity-enhanced protein partitioning in decyl beta-D-glucopyranoside two-phase aqueous micellar systems.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Liquid-liquid extraction in two-phase aqueous complex-fluid systems has been proposed as a scalable, versatile, and cost-effective purification method for the downstream processing of biotechnological products. In the case of two-phase aqueous micellar systems, careful choices of the phase-forming surfactants or surfactant mixtures allow these systems to separate biomolecules based on size, hydrophobicity, charge, or specific affinity. In this article, we investigate the affinity-enhanced partitioning of a model affinity-tagged protei--green fluorescent protein fused to a family 9 carbohydrate-binding module (CBM9-GFP)--in a two-phase aqueous micellar system generated from the nonionic surfactant n-decyl beta-D-glucopyranoside (C10G1), which acts simultaneously as the phase-former and the affinity ligand. In this simple system, CBM9-GFP was extracted preferentially into the micelle-rich phase, despite the opposing tendency of the steric, excluded-volume interactions operating between the protein and the micelles. We obtained more than a sixfold increase (from 0.47 to 3.1) in the protein partition coefficient (Kp), as compared to a control case where the affinity interactions were "turned off" by the addition of a competitive inhibitor (glucose). It was demonstrated conclusively that the observed increase in Kp can be attributed to the specific affinity between the CBM9 domain and the affinity surfactant C10G1, suggesting that the method can be generally applied to any CBM9-tagged protein. To rationalize the observed phenomenon of affinity-enhanced partitioning in two-phase aqueous micellar systems, we formulated a theoretical framework to model the protein partition coefficient. The modeling approach accounts for both the excluded-volume interactions and the affinity interactions between the protein and the surfactants, and considers the contributions from the monomeric and the micellar surfactants separately. The model was shown to be consistent with the experimental data, as well as with our current understanding of the CBM9 domain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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