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Biochemistry. 1987 May 5;26(9):2633-8.

Characterization of recombinant human erythropoietin produced in Chinese hamster ovary cells.


Physicochemical properties of recombinant human erythropoietin were examined. This protein, produced in Chinese hamster ovary cells, showed a conformation apparently identical with the natural product isolated from human urine when examined by circular dichroism, UV absorbance, and fluorescence spectroscopy. Sedimentation equilibrium experiments showed the recombinant erythropoietin preparation to be essentially a single macromolecular component with a molecular weight of 30,400 and a carbohydrate content of 39%. The Stokes radius of recombinant erythropoietin was estimated to be 32 A from gel filtration, much larger than the 20-A radius calculated for a sphere of the observed molecular weight. This difference may be ascribed to the extensive glycosylation. The fluorescence and phosphorescence spectra showed that the luminescent tryptophan(s) is (are) solvent-exposed and can be quenched by I- and acrylamide but not by Cs+. On acid titration, the recombinant erythropoietin showed a conformational transition with a midpoint of pH 4.1. This suggests that the net charges on the protein moiety rather than on the whole molecule play a role in protein structure stability.

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