Large-Scale Biophysical Evaluation of Protein PEGylation Effects: In Vitro Properties of 61 Protein Entities
Erik Vernet, Gina Popa, Irina Pozdnyakova, Jakob E. Rasmussen, Holger Grohganz, Lise Giehm, Malene H. Jensen, Huabing Wang, Bitten Plesner, Hanne M. Nielsen, Knud J. Jensen, Jens Berthelsen, Michael Sundström, Marco van de Weert
PEGylation is the most widely used method to chemically modify protein biopharmaceuticals, but surprisingly limited public data is available on the biophysical effects of protein PEGylation. Here we report the first large-scale study, with site-specific mono-PEGylation of 15 different proteins and characterization of 61 entities in total using a common set of analytical methods. Predictions of molecular size were typically accurate in comparison with actual size determined by size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) or dynamic light scattering (DLS). In contrast, there was no universal trend regarding the effect of PEGylation on the thermal stability of a protein based on data generated by circular dichroism (CD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), or differential scanning fluorimetry (DSF). In addition, DSF was validated as a fast and inexpensive screening method for thermal unfolding studies of PEGylated proteins. Multivariate data analysis revealed clear trends in biophysical properties upon PEGylation for a subset of proteins, although no universal trends were found. Taken together, these findings are important in the consideration of biophysical methods and evaluation of second-generation biopharmaceutical drug candidates.
Circular dichroism, Thermal stability, Protein folding, Pharmaceutical, Biochemistry