Author(s): Chowdhury SK, Doleman M, Johnston D
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Abstract Matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry was investigated as a method for the rapid determination of the extent of polymer coupling in polyethylene glycol- (PEG) conjugated superoxide dismutase (SOD). PEG-conjugated SOD, an antioxidant with an extended in vivo circulation lifetime compared to that of superoxide dismutase, is being evaluated as an effective therapeutic agent for the treatment of injuries and arthritis. The mass spectra of a standard batch of PEG-conjugated bovine SOD showed the presence of identifiable and well resolved peaks that correspond to 0-7 PEG molecules attached to bovine SOD. The area of each of the peaks provides a determination of the amount of PEG-conjugated SOD with a given number of bound PEG groups. SOD is a noncovalent dimer of two identical subunits that dissociates in MALDI. The information obtained in the mass spectra thus corresponds to a monomer of SOD. Each SOD monomer contains 10 lysines, which are the sites of PEG-conjugation. Multiple MALDI determinations of two batches of samples indicated good reproducibility for routine determination of the extent of polymer content. The amount of PEG-conjugated SOD that contained a given number of PEG molecules, determined by MALDI, was compared with the value deduced from the amount of PEG-conjugation at each attachment site measured by a peptide mapping method. Agreement between the data obtained in the two techniques (MALDI and peptide mapping) indicates that MALDI may be used to obtain quantitative information on PEG-conjugated SOD to determine the amounts of PEG-conjugated protein each with a different number of PEG groups attached. Measurement of several batches of samples stored at a higher temperature showed a lower extent of PEG-conjugation in PEG-conjugated SOD. This reduction in the PEG content resulted from the PEG-deconjugation of PEG-conjugated SOD at a higher temperature. Thus, MALDI can be used to examine the stability of PEG-conjugated SOD. The high sensitivity, relatively straightforward data interpretation, speed of analyses, and good reproducibility in measurements make this technique a useful analytical tool for fingerprinting PEG-conjugated SOD as well as potentially other polymer-conjugated proteins.
This article was published in J Am Soc Mass Spectrom
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals