What Are the Structural Features that Drive Partitioning of Proteins in Aqueous Two-phase Systems?

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Protein partitioning in aqueous two-phase systems (ATPSs) represents a convenient, inexpensive, and easy to scale-up protein separation technique. Since partition behavior of a protein dramatically depends on an ATPS composition, it would be highly beneficial to have reliable means for (even qualitative) prediction of partitioning of a target protein under different conditions. Our aim was to understand which structural features of proteins contribute to partitioning of a query protein in a given ATPS. We undertook a systematic empirical analysis of relations between 57 numerical structural descriptors derived from the corresponding amino acid sequences and crystal structures of 10 well-characterized proteins and the partition behavior of these proteins in 29 different ATPSs. This analysis revealed that just a few structural characteristics of proteins can accurately determine behavior of these proteins in a given ATPS. However, partition behavior of proteins in different ATPSs relies on different structural features. In other words, we could not find a unique set of protein structural features derived from their crystal structures that could be used for the description of the protein partition behavior of all proteins in all ATPSs analyzed in this study. We likely need to gain better insight into relationships between protein-solvent interactions and protein structure peculiarities, in particular given limitations of the used here crystal structures, to be able to construct a model that accurately predicts protein partition behavior across all ATPSs.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Proteins and Proteomics, v. 1865, issue 1, p. 113-120