Metal-Free Polymer-Based Affinity Medium for Selective Purification of His6-Tagged Proteins


We report a metal free synthetic hydrogel copolymer with affinity and selectivity for His6-tagged peptides and proteins. Small libraries of copolymers incorporating charged and hydrophobic functional groups were screened by an iterative process for His6 peptide affinity. The monomer selection was guided by interactions found in the crystal structure of an anti-His tag antibody-His6 peptide antigen complex. Synthetic copolymers incorporating a phenylalanine-derived monomer were found to exhibit strong affinity for both His6-containing peptides and proteins. The proximity of both aromatic and negatively charged functional groups were important factors for the His6 affinity of hydrogel copolymers. His6 affinity was not compromised by the presence of enzyme cleavage sequences. The His6-copolymer interactions are pH sensitive: the copolymer selectively captured His6 peptides at pH 7.8 while the interactions were substantially weakened at pH 8.6. This provided mild conditions for releasing His6-tagged proteins from the copolymer. Finally, a synthetic copolymer coated chromatographic medium was prepared and applied to the purification of a His6-tagged protein from an E. coli expression system. The results establish that a synthetic copolymer-based affinity medium can function as an effective alternative to immobilized metal ion columns for the purification of His6-tagged proteins.


Chemistry and Biochemistry

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