Aqueous two-phase systems containing self-associating block copolymers - Partitioning of hydrophilic and hydrophobic biomolecules

Mårten Svensson, Kristina Berggren, Andres Veide, Folke Tjerneld

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A series of proteins and one membrane-bound peptide have been partitioned in aqueous two-phase systems consisting of micelle-forming block copolymers from the family of Pluronic block copolymers as one polymer component and dextran T500 as the other component. The Pluronic molecule is a triblock copolymer of the type PEO-PPO-PEO, where PEO and PPO are poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(propylene oxide), respectively. Two different Pluronic copolymers were used, P105 and F68, and the phase diagrams were determined at 30oC for these polymer systems. Since the temperature is an important parameter in Pluronic systems (the block copolymers form micellar-like aggregates at higher temperatures) the partitioning experiments were performed at 5 and 30oC, to explore the effect of temperature-triggered micellization on the partitioning behaviour. The temperatures correspond to the unimeric (single Pluronic chain) and the micellar states of the P105 polymer at the concentrations used. The degree of micellization in the F68 system was lower than that in the P105 system, as revealed by the phase behaviour. A membrane-bound peptide, gramicidin D, and five different proteins were partitioned in the above systems. The proteins were lysozyme, bovine serum albumin, cytochrome c, bacteriorhodopsin and the engineered B domain of staphylococcal protein A, named Z. The Z domain was modified with tryptophan-rich peptide chains in the C-terminal end. It was found that effects of salt dominated over the temperature effect for the water-soluble proteins lysozyme, bovine serum albumin and cytochrome c. A strong temperature effect was observed in the partitioning of the integral membrane protein bacteriorhodopsin, where partitioning towards the more hydrophobic Pluronic phase was higher at 30oC than at 5oC. The membrane-bound peptide gramicidin D partitioned exclusively to the Pluronic phase at both temperatures. The following trends were observed in the partitioning of the Z protein. (i) At the higher temperature, insertion of tryptophan-rich peptides increased the partitioning to the Pluronic phase. (ii) At the lower temperature, lower values of K were observed for ZT2 than for ZT1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-83
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Biological Sciences
  • Physical Chemistry


  • Proteins
  • Peptides


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