Analysis of osmotic pressure data for aqueous protein solutions via a multicomponent model

Druchok, M.; Kalyuzhnyi, Yu.; Resˇcˇicˇ, J.; Vlachy, V.
March 2006
Journal of Chemical Physics;3/21/2006, Vol. 124 Issue 11, p114902
Academic Journal
Integral equation theories and Monte Carlo simulations were used to study the Donnan equilibrium, which is established by an equilibrium distribution of a simple electrolyte between an aqueous protein-electrolyte mixture and an aqueous solution of the same simple electrolyte, when these two phases are separated by a semipermeable membrane. In order to describe the unusually low osmotic pressure found in many experiments we assumed that protein molecules can form dimers. The model solution contains proteins in a monomeric form, represented as charged hard spheres, or in a dimerized form, modeled as fused charged hard spheres. The counterions and coions were also modeled as charged hard spheres but of a much smaller size. The associative mean spherical and hypernetted-chain approximations were applied to this model. In addition, Monte Carlo computer simulations were performed for the same model system mimicking a lysozyme solution in the presence of 0.1M sodium chloride. Theory and simulations were found to be in reasonably good agreement for the thermodynamic properties such as chemical potential and osmotic pressure under these conditions. Using the theoretical approaches mentioned above, we analyzed the experimental data for the osmotic pressure of bovine serum albumin in 0.15M sodium chloride, human serum albumin solution (HSA) in 0.1M phosphate buffer, and lysozyme in sulphate and phosphate buffers. The theoretically determined osmotic coefficients were fitted to the existing experimental data in order to obtain the fraction of dimers in solution. Our analysis indicated that there was relatively small self-association of protein molecules for bovine serum albumin solutions at pH=5.4 and 7.3, with the fraction of dimers smaller than 10%, while at pH=4.5 the dimer fraction was equal to 50%. In the case of HSA solutions, strong negative deviations from the ideal value were found and at pH=8.0 a reasonably good agreement between the theory and experiment is obtained by assuming full dimerization. For HSA solution at pH=5.4, the best fit to the experimental results was obtained for a fraction of dimers equal to 80%.


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