In this work, physicochemical properties of two globular proteinsbovine serum albumin (BSA) having a molecular weight of 67 kDa and human serum albumin (HSA) having a molecular weight of 69 kDawere characterized. The bulk characteristics of these proteins involved the diffusion coefficient (hydrodynamic radius), electrophoretic mobility, and dynamic viscosity as a function of protein solution concentration for various pH values. The hydrodynamic radius data suggested an association of protein molecules, most probably forming compact dimers. Using the hydrodynamic diameter and the electropheretic mobility data allowed the determination of the number of uncompensated (electrokinetic) charges on protein surfaces. The electrophoretic mobility data were converted to zeta potential values, which allowed one to determine the isoelectric point (iep) of these proteins. It was found to be at pH 5.1 for both proteins, in accordance with previous experimental data and theoretical estimations derived from amino acid composition and p K values. To determine further the stability of protein solutions, dynamic viscosity measurements were carried out as a function of their bulk volume concentration for various pH values. The intrinsic viscosity derived from these measurements was interpreted in terms of the Brenner model, which is applicable to hard spheroidal particles. It was found that the experimental values of the intrinsic viscosity of these proteins were in good agreement with this model when assuming protein dimensions of 9.5 x 5 x 5 nm3 (prolate spheroid). The possibility of forming linear aggregates of association degree higher than 2 was excluded by these measurements. It was concluded that the combination of dynamic viscosity and dynamic light scattering can be exploited as a convenient tool for detecting not only the onset of protein aggregation in suspensions but also the form and composition of these aggregates.
Adsorption of fibrinogen from aqueous solutions on mica was studied using AFM and in situ streaming potential measurements. In the first stage, bulk physicochemical properties of fibrinogen and the mica substrate were characterized for various ionic strength and pH. The zeta potential and number of uncompensated (electrokinetic) charges on the protein surfaces were determined from microelectrophoretic measurements. Analogously, using streaming potential measurements, the electrokinetic charge density of mica was determined for pH range 3-10 and the NaCl background electrolyte concentration of 10(-3) and 10(-2) M. Next, the kinetics of fibrinogen adsorption at pH 3.5 and 7.4 in the diffusion cell was studied using a direct AFM determination of the number of molecules per unit area of the mica substrate. Then, streaming potential measurements were performed to determine the apparent zeta potential of fibrinogen-covered mica for different pH and ionic strength in terms of its surface concentration. A quantitative interpretation of these streaming potential measurements was achieved in terms of the theoretical model postulating a side-on adsorption of fibrinogen molecules as discrete particles. On the basis of these results, the maximum coverage of fibrinogen Θ close to 0.29 was predicted, in accordance with previous theoretical predictions. It was also suggested that anomalous adsorption for pH 7.4, where fibrinogen and the mica substrate were both negatively charged, can be explained in terms of a heterogeneous charge distribution on fibrinogen molecules. It was estimated that the positive charge was 12 e (for NaCl concentration of 10(-2) M and pH 7.4) compared with the net charge of fibrinogen at this pH, equal to -21 e. Results obtained in this work proved that the coverage of fibrinogen can be quantitatively determined using the streaming potential method, especially for Θ < 0.2, where other experimental methods become less accurate.
The zeta potentials of natural mica, bare and covered by positively charged latex particles of micrometer
size range, were determined by the streaming potential method. Measurements were carried out using
the parallel-plate channel formed by clamping together two mica sheets separated by a Teflon spacer. The
dependence of streaming potential on surface coverage (ϑ) of adsorbed particles was determined for various
ionic strengths and particle sizes. The coverage was determined directly by optical and electron microscope
counting procedures. It was found that the negative streaming potential for bare mica E
s was significantly
increased by the presence of adsorbed particles. The dependence of the reduced streaming potential E
is the zeta potential in the presence of particles) on ϑ exhibited an universal behavior being
independent of particle size and ionic strength. These experimental data were interpreted in terms of a
theoretical model postulating that the streaming potential change was due to flow damping over the
interface and by charge transport from the double-layer surrounding adsorbed particles. In contrast with
previous approaches no assumption of the slip (shear) plane shift upon particle adsorption was made. By
exploiting the experimental results it was suggested that colloid and bioparticle adsorption kinetics can
be studied in situ using the streaming potential method.
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