• oxidative protein refolding;
  • foldase mimics;
  • disulfide;
  • cystamine;
  • hydrophobic interactions


Based on the structural characteristic of Protein disulfide isomerases and DsbA that have hydrophobic regions around the active sites, hydrophobic alkyl tails are linked to cystamine to create new small molecular foldase mimics, acyl cystamine. Both the oxidizing power and oxidation specificity of cystamine are enhanced by n-octanoyl or n-hexanoyl tail. N-octanoyl and n-hexanoyl cystamine are very effective to facilitate oxidative protein refolding at strong reducing environments. In the presence of 0.42 mM DTT, the activity recovery of lysozyme is over 90% by 90-min refolding with 0.1 mM n-octanoyl cystamine and 0.1 mM cystamine as oxidant, while almost no activity is recovered with 0.2 mM GSSG by 160-min refolding. For the refolding of 0.2 mg/mL lysozyme, with 0.6 mM n-hexanoyl cystamine and 1.12 mM residual DTT as redox agents, the activity recovery reaches as high as 93% after refolding for only 20 min. For ribonuclease A (RNase A) refolding, with 0.4 mM n-hexanoyl cystamine and 1.30 mM DTT, the recovery of activity reaches as high as 90% within 3 h. Thus, with n-octanoyl or n-hexanoyl cystamine as the oxidants, the necessity to remove excess DTT in the reduced and denatured protein solutions can be greatly alleviated. With a moderate hydrophobicity, n-hexanoyl cystamine is promising for application in oxidative protein refolding at an extensive concentration range. It is observed that in the oxidative refolding of 0.2 mg/mL lysozyme and RNase A, only about half of n-hexanoyl cystamine is needed when compared to cystamine to achieve the same kinetic effect. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011