Conjugation of poly(ethylene glycol) derivatives with therapeutic proteins is a promising approach for enhancing protein stability and, therefore, effectiveness. An N-hydroxysuccinimidyl ester of fluorescein-PEG 2000 was used for chemical modification of mouse nerve growth factor (mNGF), a dimeric protein with therapeutic potential for Alzheimer's disease. The mNGF-PEG2000-fluorescein conjugate was characterized by RP-HPLC, spectrofluorometry, and SDS-PAGE and was biologically active, as determined by two independent NGF-specific assays (enhancement of ChAT activity in fetal neurons and neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells). The conjugate was not detectable by a standard NGF ELISA, suggesting a fortuitous reduction in protein recognition by antibodies.
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