We have proposed chemical modification of Protein A (ProA) chromatography ligands with polyethylene glycol (PEGylation) as a strategy to increase the resin selectivity and robustness by providing the ligand with a steric repulsion barrier against non-specific binding. Here, we report on robustness and selectivity benefits for Repligen CaptivA PriMAB resin with ligands modified with 5.2 kDa and 21.5 kDa PEG chains, respectively. PEGylation of ProA ligands allowed the resin to retain a higher percentage of static binding capacity relative to the unmodified resin upon digestion with chymotrypsin, a representative serine protease. The level of protection against digestion was independent of the PEG molecular weight or modification extent for the PEGylation chemistry used. Additionally, PEGylation of the ligands was found to decrease the level of non-specific binding of fluorescently labeled bovine serum albumin (BSA) aggregates to the surface of the resin particles as visualized via confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). The level of aggregate binding decreased as the PEG molecular weight increased, but increasing the extent of modification with 5.2 kDa PEG chains had no effect. Further examination of resin particles via CLSM confirmed that the PEG chains on the modified ligands were capable of blocking the “hitchhiking” association of BSA, a mock contaminant, to an adsorbed mAb that is prone to BSA binding. Ligands modified with 21.5 kDa PEG chains were effective at blocking the association, while ligands modified with 5.2 kDa PEG chains were not. Finally, ligands with 21.5 kDa PEG chains increased the selectivity of the resin against host cell proteins (HCPs) produced by Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells by up to 37% during purification of a monoclonal antibody (mAb) from harvested cell culture fluid (HCCF) using a standard ProA chromatography protocol. The combined work suggests that PEGylating ProA chromatography media is a viable pathway for increasing both resin lifetime and host cell impurity clearance in downstream bioprocessing.
Weinberg, J., Zhang, S., Kirkby, A., Shachar, E., Carta, G., & Przybycien, T. (2018). Chemical modification of protein a chromatography ligands with polyethylene glycol. II: Effects on resin robustness and process selectivity. Journal of Chromatography A, 1546, 89–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chroma.2018.02.024