Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 54, Issue 1–3, pp 173–191 | Cite as

Genetic engineering to enhance the selectivity of protein separations

  • Charles E. Glatz
  • Clark F. Ford
Part III Emerging Technologies In Bioseparations


The ability to recover and purify natural and recombinant proteins, and the costs of doing so remain a major task in introducing the potential products of biotechnology. The bases for separation range from specific binding onto tailored reagents to solubility and partitioning behavior governed by a mixed bag of size, charge, and hydrophobicity. In most cases, a combination of methods is used in sequence, and improvements in the selectivity at an early stage can enhance the effectiveness of subsequent (and usually more costly) steps. Genetic engineering provides a means of improving the selectivity within the context of existing separation methods.

By this strategy, improvements in selectivity are sought by bestowing a distinctive property on the protein of interest. The primary sequence of amino acids is altered, such that the protein can be selectively removed from other components of the multicomponent mixture in which such products are commonly found. In this article, the range of these “distinctive properties” and their pairing with various separation methods will be reviewed. Specific examples from our work, in which a distinctive charge is provided via a polypeptide “purification” fusion tail, will be discussed. Separation methods we have used with these fusion proteins are precipitation, two-phase aqueous extraction, reversed micellar extraction, and ion exchange using both resins and membranes.

Index Entries

Protein separation purification fusion precipitation ion exchange genetic engineering 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles E. Glatz
    • 1
  • Clark F. Ford
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmes
  2. 2.Department of Food Science and Human NutritionIowa State UniversityAmes

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