Dielectrophoretic behavior of PEGylated RNase A inside a microchannel with diamond-shaped insulating posts
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© 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.Ribonuclease A (RNase A) has proven potential as a therapeutic agent, especially in its PEGylated form. Grafting of PEG molecules to this protein yields mono-PEGylated (mono-PEG) and di-PEGylated (di-PEG) RNase A conjugates, and the unreacted protein. Mono-PEG RNase A is of great interest. The use of electrokinetic forces in microdevices represents a novel alternative to chromatographic methods to separate this specie. This work describes the dielectrophoretic behavior of the main protein products of the RNase A PEGylation inside a microchannel with insulators under direct current electric fields. This approach represents the first step in route to design micro-bioprocesses to separate PEGylated RNase A from unreacted native protein. The three proteins exhibited different dielectrophoretic behaviors. All of them experienced a marked streaming pattern at 3000 V consistent with positive dielectrophoresis. Native protein was not captured at any of the conditions tested, while mono-PEG RNase A and di-PEG RNase A were captured presumably due to positive dielectrophoresis at 4000 and 2500 V, respectively. Concentration of mono-PEG RNase A with a maximal enrichment efficiency of ¿9.6 times the feed concentration was achieved in few seconds. These findings open the possibility of designing novel devices for rapid separation, concentration, and recovery of PEGylated RNase A in a one-step operation.