Impact of short range hydrophobic interactions and long range electrostatic forces on the aggregation kinetics of a monoclonal antibody and a dual-variable domain immunoglobulin at low and high concentrations

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The purpose of this work was to determine the nature of long and short-range forces governing protein aggregation kinetics at low and high concentrations for a monoclonal antibody (IgG1) and a dual-variable-domain immunoglobulin (DVD-Ig™). Protein–protein interactions (PPI) were studied under dilute conditions by utilizing the methods of static (B22) and dynamic light scattering (kD). PPI in solutions containing minimal ionic strengths were characterized to get detailed insights into the impact of ionic strength on aggregation. Microcalorimetry and susceptibility to denature at air–liquid interface were used to assess the tertiary structure and quiescent stability studies were conducted to study aggregation characteristics. Results for IgG1 showed that electrostatic interactions governed protein aggregation kinetics both under dilute and concentrated conditions (i.e., 5 mg/mL and 150 mg/mL). For DVD-Ig™ molecules, on the other hand, although electrostatic interactions governed protein aggregation under dilute conditions, hydrophobic forces clearly determined the kinetics at high concentrations. This manuscript shows for the first time that short-range hydrophobic interactions can outweigh electrostatic forces and play an important role in determining protein aggregation at high concentrations. Additionally, results show that although higher-order virial coefficients become significant under low ionic strength conditions, removal of added charges may be used to enhance the aggregation stability of dilute protein formulations.

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