Specific ion and buffer effects on protein-protein interactions of a monoclonal antibody.

D Roberts, R Keeling, M Tracka, C F van der Walle, S Uddin, Jim Warwicker, R Curtis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Better predictive ability of salt and buffer effects on protein-protein interactions requires separating out contributions due to ionic screening, protein charge neutralization by ion binding, and salting-in(out) behavior. We have carried out a systematic study by measuring protein-protein interactions for a monoclonal antibody over an ionic strength range of 25 to 525 mM at 4 pH values (5, 6.5, 8, and 9) in solutions containing sodium chloride, calcium chloride, sodium sulfate, or sodium thiocyante. The salt ions are chosen so as to represent a range of affinities for protein charged and noncharged groups. The results are compared to effects of various buffers including acetate, citrate, phosphate, histidine, succinate, or tris. In low ionic strength solutions, anion binding affinity is reflected by the ability to reduce protein-protein repulsion, which follows the order thiocyanate > sulfate > chloride. The sulfate specific effect is screened at the same ionic strength required to screen the pH dependence of protein-protein interactions indicating sulfate binding only neutralizes protein charged groups. Thiocyanate specific effects occur over a larger ionic strength range reflecting adsorption to charged and noncharged regions of the protein. The latter leads to salting-in behavior and, at low pH, a nonmonotonic interaction profile with respect to sodium thiocyanate concentration. The effects of thiocyanate can not be rationalized in terms of only neutralizing double layer forces indicating the presence of an additional short-ranged protein-protein attraction at moderate ionic strength. Conversely, buffer specific effects can be explained through a charge neutralization mechanism, where buffers with greater valency are more effective at reducing double layer forces at low pH. Citrate binding at pH 6.5 leads to protein charge inversion and the formation of attractive electrostatic interactions. Throughout the report, we highlight similarities in the measured protein-protein interaction profiles with previous studies of globular proteins and of antibodies providing evidence that the behavior will be common to other protein systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-193
    Number of pages15
    JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2014


    • Hofmeister
    • monoclonal antibody
    • protein−protein interactions
    • second virial coefficients
    • specific ion effects
    • thiocyanate


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