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2004

Immobilized Metal-Affinity Chromatography (IMAC) is a separation technique primarily intended for the purification of proteins with exposed histidine tags. Technique uses covalently bound chelating compounds on chromatographic supports to entrap metal ions, which serve as affinity ligands for various proteins. Iminodiacetic acid (IDA), nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), carboxymethylated aspartic acid (CM-Asp), and N,N,N’-tris(carboximethyl) ethylenediamine (TED) are chelating compounds, most often used to entrap metal ions, such as Cu2+, Ni2+, Zn2+, Co2+ etc.

Convective Interaction Media CIM® is a monolithic support, which provides high rates of mass transfer at low pressure drops. It has been shown that CIM® supports are very efficient for the separation of large molecules, such as proteins and DNA (1). Recent publication has proved that CIM IMAC column can be used for separation of histidine containing peptides (2). Since efficient separation of large molecules is one of the main advantages of CIM® support, purification of His-tagged recombinant proteins on CIM IMAC column should be not only feasible but also simple, fast and efficient.

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Membrane bound heterotrimeric guanine-nucleotide proteins (G-proteins) are the important components of the cellular signal transduction cascade. They are GTPases which cycle between an inactive and an active configuration by catalysing the exchange of GTP for GDP bound to G subunit. In our study we investigated separation of high affinity GTP'S binding proteins (G-proteins) from plasma membrane of porcine brain by HPLC using CIM® (Convective Interaction Media) supports. CIM® supports proved to be an efficient tool for cytosolic protein separation on second or minute time scale. No study of separation of membrane bound proteins by CIM® supports have been done so far.

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Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) is serine protease which converts plasminogen into plas-min dissolving the major component of blood clots, fibrin. So, it can be extremely useful in clinical practice to help curing of heart attack victims. The most available way protein producing is genetic engineering where separation and purification of goal protein are one of the important steps in protein producing process.

Recently developed High performance monolithic disk chromatography, HPMDC, seems to be a very attractive way for study quantitative affinity parameters of recombinant proteins with different ligands as well as for protein separations and purifications. High process speed prevents the denatura-tion due to temperature and solvents influence. The better mass transfer mechanism (convection rather than diffusion) allows to consider only the biospecific reaction as time limiting.

It is known that plasminogen, which is the natural substratum for t-PA, can be successfully used as affinity ligand to separate t-PA from cellular media. However, the use of synthetic ligands for affinity chromatography is more preferable due to their higher stability and lower total cost.

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2003

Gene therapy which is becoming more and more important in human health care requires the purification of high molecular mass compounds, so called nanoparticles (e. g. viruses and plasmids). The method of choice to ensure proper purity would be chromatography.

Most of the chromatographic supports available on the market at the moment can not follow the requests for such work due to low binding capacity for large molecules, limitation with regards to the time of the separation process and requests for CIP (cleaning in place) and SIP (sanitation in place).

Monolithic supports represent a new generation of chromatographic supports. In contrast to conventional particle supports, where the void volume between individual porous particles is unavoidable, these supports consist of a single monolith highly interconnected with larger and smaller open flow-through channels. Due to the structure, molecules to be separated are transported to the active sites on the stationary phase by convection, resulting in very short separation times. This is especially true for large molecules.

In this work we will present the use of monolithic supports for the separation of different nanoparticles on analytical and preparative scales. It will be shown that monolithic supports can overcome the limitations of particle-based supports for the analytics and isolation of big molecules and represent a major step towards the safe and efficient purification or production of nanoparticles.

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The only four drugs approved for the clinical treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (tacrine, rivastigmine, donepezil and galantamine) are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors which act by maintaining high levels of acetylcholine at the muscarinic and nicotinic receptors in the central nervous system. Human acetyicholinesterase (HuAChE) represents a widely studied target enzyme and it is still object of research for the development of new drugs as enzyme inhibitors.

In a previous paper il] we reported the immobilisation of AChE on a silica based chromatographic column (50 x 4.6 mm I.D.) The yield of immobilization and the stability of the AChE—IMEN were considered satisfactory, hut some problems arose. The length of the IMER and the large amount of enzyme covalently bound to the chromatographic support resulted in catalysis product long elution times and some inhibitors aspecific matrix absorption with delayed enzyme activity recovery. In order to avoid these complications and considering the high rate of AChE enzymatic reaction, we decided to reduce the dimension of the solid support for immobilization, hence the amount of immobilized enzyme, by selecting a monolithic matrix disk (12 x 3 min I.D.).

CIMa (Convective Interaction Media) monolithic supports (Bia Separations, Ljubljana) represent a novel generation of stationary phases used for liquid chromatography, bioconversions, and solid phase synthesis. As opposed to individual particles packed into chromatographic columns, CIM supports are cast as continuous homogeneous phases and provide high rates of mass transfer at lower back pressure.

In the present work a CIM® disk with immobilised human recombinant acetylcholinesterase (HuAChECIM€ Disk) was developed. The activity of immobilised enzyme, the long term stability and reproducibility were tested. HuAChECIM disk was applied as an immobilised enzyme micro-reactor (micro-IMER) in on-line HPLC system for inhibitory potency determination of known AChE inhibitors.

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2001

We have developed a screening procedure for peptide ligands for affinity chromatography on the same monolithic support. CIM® monolithic columns used conventionally for analytical and preparative separation of proteins and polynucleotides were minimized to fit into 96 well solid phase extraction plates. Peptide synthesis and screening were performed on the same format using a vacuum manifold for liquid throughput.

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The development of new chromatographic supports with the aim to improve their chromatographic, hydrodynamic and mechanical properties is continually going on.

CIM Convective Interaction Media® monolithic columns represent a new chapter in every mode of the chromatography. Monolithic columns consist of a single piece of a highly porous polymer with a bimodal pore size distribution, forming flow-through channels [1]. Since all of the mobile phase flows through the pores, molecules to be separated are transported to the active sites by convection [2]. Therefore, the entire analysis can be completed in a very short time.

In this work, the performance of novel semi-preparative CIM® RP-SDVB disk monolithic column for separating proteins and peptides has been investigated. Since the column length in the case of gradient separations commonly used for large molecules, does not play a significant role, CIM® RP-SDVB disk monolithic column are extremely short, typically of only 3 mm. The effect of decreasing column length on the resolution under the conditions of a linear gradient has been presented.

Finally, a 1 minute purification of oligodeoxynucleotide from the synthetic mixture has been performed.

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Gene therapy which is becoming more and more important in human health care requires the purification of high molecular mass compounds, so called nanoparticles (e. g. viruses and plasmids). The method of choice to ensure proper purity would be chromatography.

Most of the chromatographic supports available on the market at the moment can not follow the requests for such work due to low binding capacity for large molecules, limitation with regards to the time of the separation process and requests for CIP (cleaning in place) and SIP (sanitation in place).

Monolithic supports represent a new generation of chromatographic supports. In contrast to conventional particle supports, where the void volume between individual porous particles is unavoidable, these supports consist of a single monolith highly interconnected with larger and smaller open flow-through channels. Due to the structure, molecules to be separated are transported to the active sites on the stationary phase by convection, resulting in very short separation times. This is especially true for large molecules.

In this work we will present the use of monolithic supports for the separation of different nanoparticles on analytical and preparative scales. It will be shown that monolithic supports can overcome the limitations of particle-based supports for the analytics and isolation of big molecules and represent a major step towards the safe and efficient purification or production of nanoparticles.

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CIM® (Convective Interaction Media) supports represent the fourth generation of chromatographic supports monoliths. These glycidyl methacrylate based monolithic columns are commercially available under the name CIM®. In contrast to conventional porous particles the morphology of the CIM® supports is characterised by a single monolithic unit that contains pores, opened on both sides. These pores are highly interconnected forming a flow-through network. Thus the whole mobile phase is forced to run through these open pores, therefore, the mass transfer between stationary and mobile phase is based on convection rather than on diffusion. This transport mechanism enables very fast separations and purifications of components as well as flow-unaffected resolution and dynamic binding capacity. The latter is especially important for the purification of molecules on preparative level where the productivity is essential. One of the key features of monolithic units is their pore size distribution that should enable low backpressure at high throughputs together with high specific surface area, needed for high binding capacity. In this work the effect of different parameters on binding capacity of CIM® monolithic columns is presented.

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There is a rapidly increasing development of new materials in the field of chromatographic supports stimulated by the need to achieve fast and reliable separation of different solutes.

The generally used chromatographic supports are based on beads packed in the columns. Although these stationary phases have been continuously improved over the last decades, there are still some limitations present. The absence of flow within the pore matrix of particles, slow diffusional mass transfer of solutes, in some cases high back pressure and laborious handling represent the major hindrances.

Development of monolithic materials is a chronicle of efforts to overcome problems of packed particles. Monolithic separation media, made in one piece, contain only flow-through pores, which significantly augment the mass transfer based on convection. This enables use of high mobile phase velocities along with low back pressures and therefore fast separations without decrease of resolution.

This report presents the preparation of glycidylmethacrylatestearylmethacryate- ethylenedimethacrylate and styrene-divinylbenzene monoliths. The porous structure of the support obtained will be discussed. Finally, a few examples of separation of proteins and small molecules with monolithic CIM C-18 and CIM SDVB disks in reversed-phase chromatography will be displayed.

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Ion exchange chromatography is one of the most commonly used techniques for the purification and separation of polar samples such as minerals in water or charged biomolecules (Figure 1).

The technique is based upon reversible binding of the charged species to an oppositely charged group that is attached to an insoluble matrix. A quantitative measure of an ion exchanger’s ability to take up exchangeable counter-ions is its capacity, which strongly influence support properties and can be measured by potentiometric titration with a strong acid or base [2]. However, the time to achieve the ion exchange equilibrium (the stationary state the potentiometric titration is based upon) is very long [3]. Consequently, a new method to measure the total ionic capacity of anion exchange resins is being developed.

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CIM Convective Interaction Media® are polymer-based monolithic supports which were introduced for chromatographic analyses, in-process control, solid phase extraction, and purification of target biomolecules, both on an analytical and on a preparative scale 1, 2. CIM supports perform high-resolution separations within seconds. This is predominantly due to the convective mass transport of the biomolecules between the mobile and stationary phases and the very low dead volume of the separation unit. One of the main concerns in the last few years was the batch-to-batch reproducibility of the monoliths during manufacturing and the possibility of using the monolithic supports for validated analytical methods. The batch-to-batch reproducibility in product preparation as well as its stability during analytical work should fulfill all the requirements for a validated analytical method. To demonstrate that this is possible, we have selected one complex example – the determination of impurities in immunoglobulins (IgGs) where a multidimensional, so called CLC (Conjoint Liquid Chromatography), approach combining the ion exchange and affinity chromatography was needed to properly analyze the sample.

Therefore, two CIM Protein G disks and one CIM QA disk were placed in series in one housing. Binding conditions were optimized in a way that the IgGs were bound to the CIM Protein G disks while Transferrin and Albumin were separated on a CIM QA disk. A complete separation of all three proteins was achieved in five minutes.

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2000

Convective Interaction Media (CIM) are newly developed polymer-based monolithic supports which were introduced for chromatographic analyses, in-process control, solid phase extraction and laboratory purification of target biomolecules, both on analytical and on preparative scale. CIM supports allow high resolution separations which can, in case of analytical units - disks - be carried out within seconds (Figures 1 and 2). This is due to predominantly convective mass transport of biomolecules between the mobile and stationary phase and low dead volumes. Additionally, the dynamic binding capacity is not affected by high flow rates.

CIM can be scaled up to preparative level. For this purpose, the tubular-shaped monolithic units are prepared and placed in special housings (Figure 3). These preparative tubes are intended for very fast preparative purification of biomolecules from complex mixtures. Due to their special design, which allows radial flow of the liquid through the porous wall of the tube, and due to their low resistance to flow, the separations can be carried out at high flow rates and low back pressures (Figure 4). Small-scale preparative tubes are made of the same material as analytical CIM disks. In this way, the purification and monitoring processes can be performed on the same type of support by applying identical separation modes. The scaling-up from analytical to preparative level can therefore be carried out in a much shorter time, thus considerably reducing the cost of process development. In addition, this speed has an economic potential not only for faster and therefore cheaper production, but it will also lead to better quality and yield of unstable products.

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Production and downstream processing in biotechnology requires fast and accurate control of each step in the process. Liquid chromatography of biopolymers on so-called soft supports is typically slow, often causing significant product degradation. One way of improving these boundary conditions in liquid chromatography is the use of monolithic adsorbents. The basis for fast separations with such media is a reduced mass transfer resistance owing to the fact that pore diffusion is practically non-existent [1]. Chromatography with compact, porous units such as monolithic columns is being used increasingly for analytical and preparative separations of biopolymers with apparent molecular mass ranging from several thousand to up to several million [2]. This paper describes the use of a CIM® Convective Interaction Media [3] for fast in-process analyses and preparative separations (up-scaling) of pharmaceutically relevant biopolymers such as clotting factor IX. Human factor IX is a vitamin K-dependent multidomain glycoprotein synthesized in liver [4]. The absence or a defect of factor IX causes haemophilia B, a genetic disease in which the clotting cascade is disturbed. The concentration of factor IX in human plasma is about 5 μg/ml (0.1 μM). Because of the low concentration in human plasma, isolation of clotting factor IX has been performed by a combination of different chromatographic methods. However, it has not been possible to remove vitronectin, one of the final contaminants from factor IX purified with conventional gel supports used in the manufacturing process of commercial factor IX preparations. This paper investigates the application of CIM® monolithic columns for the separation of vitronectin from factor IX and fast in-process control of factor IX [5].

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CIM® disk monolithic columns are monolithic columns based on glycidyle methacrylate ethylene dimethacrylate copolymers. They have become popular for separation of proteins and polynucleotides. A method for directed synthesis of peptides on these monoliths was developed. With a peptide directed against human blood coagulation factor VIII, the functionality of the CIM® disk monolithic column was checked.

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Monoliths are becoming very attractive stationary phases due to their advantageous hydrodynamic characteristics. The main difference in comparison to conventional particle beds is in their structure. Conventional particle based supports consist of few-micrometer sized porous particles while the monoliths consist of a single piece of porous material. The pores are highly interconnected forming a network of channels. Since the flow of the liquid within the channels is driven by the pressure difference, the molecules to be separated are transported to the active sites located on the surface of the channels by convection increasing their mobility by several orders of magnitude. Because of that, it is possible to perform an efficient separation of large molecules within a very short time. Furthermore, the efficiency as well as the dynamic binding capacity are independent on linear velocity within the range of tested flow rates.

Glycidyl methacrylate based monoliths were introduced in 1990. They were polymerised from glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) and ethylene dimethacrylate (EDMA) in the presence of porogens and an initiator. So far they have been successfully applied in a variety of different applications on an analytical scale: for separation and purification of proteins, DNA, smaller molecules like organic acids, hydroxybenzoates, oligonucleotides and peptides as well as sensors incorporated in a FIA system1.

Preparation of large volume GMA-EDMA monoliths is however problematic. The reason is an increase of the temperature inside the monomer mixture during polymerisation since the reaction is highly exothermic. Because of the bulk polymerisation, temperature increase inside the monomer mixture during the polymerisation can not be avoided, resulting in an extremely inhomogeneous structure of the monolith2. In this work, we introduce an approach for the construction of large scale monoliths in the annulus shape and demonstrate their applicability for chromatographic separation and purification.

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1999

High performance membrane chromatography (HPMC) proved to be a very efficient method for fast protein separations. Recently, it was shown to be applicable also for the isocratic separation of plasmid DNAconformations. However, no study about the separation of small molecules was performed until now. In this work, we investigated the possibility of gradient and isocratic separations of small molecules with Convective Interaction Media (CIM) disks of different chemistries. We proved that it was possible to achieve efficient separations of oligonucleotides and peptides in the ion-exchange mode as well as the separation of small hydrophobic molecules in the reversed phase mode. Fairly good separation of four oligonucleotides could be achieved on the disk of 0.3 mm thickness. The effect of the gradient parameters on the resolution in the case of gradient mode was studied and compared with the separation under isocratic conditions.

It was shown that similar peak resolution can be achieved in both gradient and isocratic modes. In addition, it was found that the flow rate does not have a pronounced influence on the resolution in the flow rate range between 1 and 10 mL/min. However, it seems that the resolution with the flow rate even slightly increases as a consequence of the increased pore accessibility. In accordance with conventional particle HPLC columns, the resolution increases with the monolith thickness. On the other hand, the mobile phase composition has to be carefully adjusted to obtain optimal resolution, especially in the case of isocratic separations. Because of this feature, CIM monoliths seem to be competitive to other, commercially available stationary phases.

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Organic acids are important metabolites of several biochemical pathways in microorganisms and as such they are frequent main or by-products in different bioprocesses. Consequently, a demand for their monitoring is often present. One of the most applied methods for organic acids determination is certainly HPLC using different separation mechanisms such as reversed-phase, ion-exchange or ion-exclusion chromatography, all based on separation under isocratic flow conditions. To achieve the isocratic separation, multiple steps of adsorption-desorption process are needed and therefore conventional chromatographic columns with long layer of separation material were considered as a necessary tool for achieving this effect.

Recently, it was shown that isocratic separation could also be performed on thin monolithic layers. The isocratic separations of plasmid DNA conformers (1), oligonucleotides (2, 3) and peptides (3) in the ion-exchange mode were demonstrated as well as isocratic reversed-phase separation of a mixture of steroids was obtained (3) all on thin GMA-EDMA monoliths commercially available under trademark CIM™ (Convective Interaction Media). The results indicated the possibility of applying CIM™ monolithic columns also for isocratic separation of some other small charged molecules. Since the average analysis time using CIM™ disk monolithic columns is up to a few minutes, these supports can be a material of choice for separation of organic acids.

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Found recently serine protease called, as tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) is able to dissolve efficiently the blood clots. Thus this protein seems to be extremely useful in clinical practice in the cases of heart attack victims.

Real process of fibrinolysis in human blood system represents very complicated network of simultaneous biological events. It is clear that t-PA has a branched set of functional complements with their own, and probably different, affinity to this enzyme. It seems to be possible and quite interesting to investigate all these pairs separately creating them in vitro. At the same time, it is clear that the affinity chromatography approach could become as the most convenient way to create such biological pairs.

The recently developed High Performance Membrane (Monolith) Chromatography (HPMC) is quite promising in this regard, because of its high capacity and selectivity, combined with low backpressure and short operation times. Due to the inherent speed of the isolation it facilitates the recovery of a biologically active product, since the exposure to putative denaturing influences.

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Convective Interaction Technology (CIM®) offers a number of benefits for the purification of large molecules in comparison with conventional chromatography. The innovative matrix, cast as a single homogeneous piece, means that monolithic columns have a high pressure tolerance and allow fast operating flow rates.

Because the matrix structure is composed of large pores, mass transfer is essentially convective in contrast to conventional chromatography beads, where mass transfer is essentially diffusive. Therefore, CIM can be used at high flow rates without compromising binding capacity.

For these reasons, a monolithic column with anion exchange properties (CIM® QA) was selected to purify a very large protein (8 Mega Dalton) extracted from a marine mollusc.

Because 150 g of protein was required to perform preclinical trials, a scale-up of the process had to be designed and implemented. Early stage process development was carried out on an 8 mL column to determine the column loading capacity as well as the yield and the process reproducibility.

To improve binding on the column, stabilising agents had to be removed prior to this purification step. The protein had been observed to precipitate within hours of the removal of these reagents. Therefore, a suitable time frame for protein processing had to accommodate this instability.

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