Ice-recrystallization inhibiting polymers protect proteins against freeze-stress and enable glycerol-free cryostorage

Daniel E. Mitchell, Alice E. R. Fayter, Robert C. Deller, Muhammad Hasan, Jose Gutierrez-Marcos, Matthew I. Gibson

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Proteins are ubiquitous in molecular biotechnology, biotechnology and as therapeutics, but there are significant challenges in their storage and distribution, with freezing often required. This is traditionally achieved by the addition of cryoprotective agents such as glycerol (or trehalose) or covalent modification of mutated proteins with cryoprotectants. Here, ice recrystallization inhibiting polymers, inspired by antifreeze proteins, are used synergistically with poly(ethylene glycol) as an alternative to glycerol. The primary mechanism of action appears to be preventing irreversible aggregation due to ice growth. The polymer formulation is successfully used to cryopreserve a range of important proteins including insulin, Taq DNA polymerase and an IgG antibody. The polymers do not require covalent conjugation, nor modification of the protein and are already used in a wide range of biomedical applications, which will facilitate translation to a range of biologics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-368
Number of pages5
JournalMaterials Horizons
Early online date8 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


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