Diffusion and sedimentation interaction parameters for measuring the second virial coefficient and their utility as predictors of protein aggregation

Biophys J. 2010 Oct 20;99(8):2657-65. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.08.020.


The concentration-dependence of the diffusion and sedimentation coefficients (k(D) and k(s), respectively) of a protein can be used to determine the second virial coefficient (B₂), a parameter valuable in predicting protein-protein interactions. Accurate measurement of B₂ under physiologically and pharmaceutically relevant conditions, however, requires independent measurement of k(D) and k(s) via orthogonal techniques. We demonstrate this by utilizing sedimentation velocity (SV) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) to analyze solutions of hen-egg white lysozyme (HEWL) and a monoclonal antibody (mAb1) in different salt solutions. The accuracy of the SV-DLS method was established by comparing measured and literature B₂ values for HEWL. In contrast to the assumptions necessary for determining k(D) and k(s) via SV alone, k(D) and ks were of comparable magnitudes, and solution conditions were noted for both HEWL and mAb1 under which 1), k(D) and k(s) assumed opposite signs; and 2), k(D) ≥k(s). Further, we demonstrate the utility of k(D) and k(s) as qualitative predictors of protein aggregation through agitation and accelerated stability studies. Aggregation of mAb1 correlated well with B₂, k(D), and k(s), thus establishing the potential for k(D) to serve as a high-throughput predictor of protein aggregation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Diffusion*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism
  • Motion
  • Muramidase / chemistry
  • Muramidase / metabolism
  • Protein Multimerization*
  • Protein Stability
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Proteins
  • hen egg lysozyme
  • Muramidase