On protein solubility in organic solvent

Biotechnol Bioeng. 1994 Jun 5;44(1):140-5. doi: 10.1002/bit.260440120.


Solubility of a model protein, hen egg-white lysozyme, was investigated in a wide range of neat nonaqueous solvents and binary mixtures thereof. All solvents that are protic, very hydrophilic, and polar readily dissolve more than 10 mg/mL of lysozyme (lyophilized from aqueous solution of pH 6.0). Only a marginal correlation was found between the lysozyme solubility in a non-aqueous solvent and the letter's dielectric constant or Hildebrand solubility parameter, and no correlation was observed with the dipole moment. Lysozyme dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) could be precipitated by adding protein nondissolving co-solvents, although the enzyme had a tendency to form supersaturated solutions in such mixtures. The solubility of lysozyme, both in an individual solvent (1,5-pentanediol) and in binary solvent mixtures (DMSO/acetonitrile), markedly increased when the pH of the enzyme aqueous solution prior to lyophilization was moved away from the proteins's isoelectric point.