Toward improving selectivity in affinity chromatography with PEGylated affinity ligands: The performance of PEGylated protein A Academic Article in Scopus uri icon


  • © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol.Chemical modification of macromolecular affinity chromatography ligands with polyethylene glycol chains or "PEGylation" can potentially improve selectivity by sterically suppressing non-specific binding interactions without sacrificing binding capacity. For a commercial protein A affinity media and with yeast extract (YE) and fetal bovine serum (FBS) serving as mock contaminants, we found that the ligand accounted for more than 90% of the media-associated non-specific binding, demonstrating an opportunity for improvement. The IgG static binding affinity of protein A mono-PEGylated with 5.0 and 20.7 kDa poly(ethylene glycol) chains was found to be preserved using a biomolecular interaction screening platform. Similar in situ PEGylations of the commercial protein A media were conducted and the modified media was functionally characterized with IgG solutions spiked with YE and FBS. Ligand PEGylation reduced the mass of media-associated contaminants by a factor of two to three or more. Curiously, we also found an increase of up to 15% in the average recovery of IgG on elution after PEGylation. Combined, these effects produced an order of magnitude increase in the IgG selectivity on average when spiked with YE and a two- to three-fold increase when spiked with FBS relative to the commercial media. Dynamic binding capacity and mass-transfer resistance measurements revealed a reduction in dynamic capacity attributed to a decrease in IgG effective pore diffusivity and possibly slower IgG association kinetics for the PEGylated protein A ligands. Ligand PEGylation is a viable approach to improving selectivity in affinity chromatography with macromolecular ligands.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014
  • November 1, 2014