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Ataíde, F, Azevedo C, Clemente JJ, Cunha AE, Freitas F, Reis MAM, Roque ACA, Oliveira R.  2012.  Analysis of oxygen transport enhancement by functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (FMP) in bioprocesses. New Biotechnology. 29S:S75.Website
Fernandes, CSM, dos Santos R, Ottengy S, Viecinski AC, Béhar G, Mouratou B, Pecorari F, Roque ACA.  2016.  Affitins for protein purification by affinity magnetic fishing. Journal of Chromatography A. 1457:50–58.: Elsevier B.V. AbstractWebsite

Currently most economical and technological bottlenecks in protein production are placed in the down-stream processes. With the aim of increasing the efficiency and reducing the associated costs, variousaffinity ligands have been developed. Affitins are small, yet robust and easy to produce, proteins derivedfrom the archaeal extremophilic “7 kDa DNA-binding” protein family. By means of combinatorial pro-tein engineering and ribosome display selection techniques, Affitins have shown to bind a diversity oftargets. In this work, two previously developed Affitins (anti-lysozyme and anti-IgG) were immobilizedonto magnetic particles to assess their potential for protein purification by magnetic fishing. The opti-mal lysozyme and human IgG binding conditions yielded 58 mg lysozyme/g support and 165 mg IgG/gsupport, respectively. The recovery of proteins was possible in high yield (≥95{%}) and with high purity,namely ≥95{%} and 81{%}, when recovering lysozyme from Escherichia coli supernatant and IgG from humanplasma, respectively. Static binding studies indicated affinity constants of 5.0 × 104M−1and 9.3 × 105M−1for the anti-lysozyme and anti-IgG magnetic supports. This work demonstrated that Affitins, which canbe virtually evolved for any protein of interest, can be coupled onto magnetic particles creating novelaffinity adsorbents for purification by magnetic fishing.

Fernandes, C, Pina AS, Barbosa AJM, Padrão I, Duarte F, Andreia C, Teixeira S, Alves V, Gomes P, Fernandes TG, Dias AMGC, Roque ACA.  2019.  Affinity‐triggered assemblies based on a designed peptide‐peptide affinity pair. Biotechnology Journal. -(-):-. AbstractWebsite

Affinity‐triggered assemblies rely on affinity interactions as the driving force to assemble physically‐crosslinked networks. WW domains are small hydrophobic proteins binding to proline‐rich peptides that are typically produced in the insoluble form. Previous works attempted the biological production of the full WW domain in tandem to generate multivalent components for affinity‐triggered hydrogels. In this work, an alternative approach was followed by engineering a 13‐mer minimal version of the WW domain that retains the ability to bind to target proline‐rich peptides. Both ligand and target peptides were produced chemically and conjugated to multivalent polyethylene glycol, yielding two components. Upon mixing, they together form soft biocompatible affinity‐triggered assemblies, stable in stem cell culture media, and displaying mechanical properties in the same order of magnitude as for those hydrogels formed with the full WW protein in tandem.

Fernandes, CSM, Pina AS, Roque ACA.  2021.  Affinity-triggered hydrogels: Developments and prospects in biomaterials science. Biomaterials. 268:120563.
Roque, ACA, Silva CSO, Taipa ÂM.  2007.  Affinity-based methodologies and ligands for antibody purification: Advances and perspectives. Journal of Chromatography A. 1160:44–55., Number 1-2 AbstractWebsite

Many successful, recent therapies for life-threatening diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis are based on the recognition between native or genetically engineered antibodies and cell-surface receptors. Although naturally produced by the immune system, the need for antibodies with unique specificities and designed for single application, has encouraged the search for novel antibody purification strategies. The availability of these products to the end-consumer is strictly related to manufacture costs, particularly those attributed to downstream processing. Over the last decades, academia and industry have developed different types of interactions and separation techniques for antibody purification, affinity-based strategies being the most common and efficient methodologies. The affinity ligands utilized range from biological to synthetic designed molecules with enhanced resistance and stability. Despite the successes achieved, the purification “paradigm” still moves interests and efforts in the continuous demand for improved separation performances. This review will focus on recent advances and perspectives in antibody purification by affinity interactions using different techniques, with particular emphasis on affinity chromatography.

Palma, SICJ, Fernandes AR, Roque ACA.  2016.  An affinity triggered MRI nanoprobe for pH-dependent cell labeling. RSC Adv.. 6:113503–113512., Number 114: Royal Society of Chemistry AbstractWebsite

The pH-sensitive affinity pair composed by neutravidin and iminobiotin was used to develop a multilayered Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) nanoprobe responsive to the acidic pH of tumor microenvironment. The multilayer system was assembled on meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid-coated iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNP), which convey negative MRI contrast enhancement properties to the nanoprobe. The outer stealth PEG-layer is altered in acidic media due to the disruption of interactions between neutravidin–iminobiotin. As a consequence, the positively charged inner layer is exposed and enhances interactions with cells. The nanoprobe uptake by HCT116 cells cultured in vitro under acidic conditions had a 2-fold increase compared to the uptake at physiological pH. The uptake difference is particularly clear in T2-weighted MRI phantoms of cells incubated with the nanoprobes at both pH conditions. This work sets the proof-of-concept of a MNP-based MRI nanoprobe targeting acidic tumor microenvironment through the use of a specific bio-recognition interaction that is pH-sensitive. This tumor targeting strategy is potentially applicable to the generality of tumors since the typical hypoxic conditions and high glycolysis rate in cancer cells create an acidic environment common to the majority of cancer types.

Pina, AS, Batalha IL, Dias AMGC, Roque ACA.  2021.  Affinity tags in protein purification and peptide enrichment: An overview, in Protein Downstream Processing: Design, Development, and Application of High and Low-Resolution Methods. Methods in Molecular Biology. :107-132.: Springer-Humana Press
Pina, AS, Batalha IL, Roque ACA.  2014.  Affinity Tags in Protein Purification and Peptide Enrichment: An Overview. Protein Downstream Processing: Design, Development and Application of High and Low-Resolution Methods. (Labrou, Nikolaos, Ed.).:147-168.: Springer Abstract

The reversible interaction between an affinity ligand and a complementary receptor has been widely explored in purification systems for several biomolecules. The development of tailored affinity ligands highly specific towards particular target biomolecules is one of the options in affinity purification systems. However, both genetic and chemical modifications on proteins and peptides widen the application of affinity ligand-tag receptor pairs towards universal capture and purification strategies. In particular, this chapter will focus on two case studies highly relevant for biotechnology and biomedical areas, namely, the affinity tags and receptors employed on the production of recombinant fusion proteins and the chemical modification of phosphate groups on proteins and peptides and the subsequent specific capture and enrichment, a mandatory step before further proteomic analysis.

Roque, ACA, Lowe CR.  2007.  Affinity chromatography: History, Perspectives, Limitations and Prospects. Affinity Chromatography: Methods and Protocols. (M. Zachariou, Ed.).:1-23., U.S.A.: Humana Press Inc. Abstract

Biomolecule separation and purification has until very recently steadfastly remained one of the more empirical aspects of modern biotechnology. Affinity chromatography, one of several types of adsorption chromatography, is particularly suited for the efficient isolation of biomolecules. This technique relies on the adsorbent bed material that has biological affinity for the substance to be isolated. This review is intended to place affinity chromatography in historical perspective and describe the current status, limitations and future prospects for the technique in modern biotechnology.

Dias, AMGC, dos Santos R, Iranzo O, Roque ACA.  2016.  Affinity adsorbents for proline-rich peptide sequences: a new role for WW domains. RSC Adv.. 6:68979-68988.: The Royal Society of Chemistry AbstractWebsite

The WW domain derived from human Yes-associated protein (hYAP65_WW) recognizes proline-rich peptides. The structural and chemical robustness of WW domains makes them appealing candidates to target and capture these peptides in affinity purification processes. In this work{,} the chemical synthesis of the hYAP65_WW domain containing a terminal cysteine for oriented coupling onto the chromatographic matrix was successfully achieved by a fragment solution condensation reaction and by incorporation of pseudoproline dipeptide units. Both strategies yielded a hYAP65_WW protein with the characteristic WW domain folding. The purified hYAP65_WW domain was immobilized in a chromatographic matrix and tested for binding to a proline-rich peptide. The adsorbent bound 92 ng of peptide per mg of support and the elution was particularly efficient when employing a low pH or an increase in salt concentration. This work sets the ground for the application of WW domains as affinity reagents towards the capture and elution of peptides and proteins rich in proline sequences.

Roque, ACA, Wilson OC.  2008.  Adsorption of gum Arabic on bioceramic nanoparticles. Materials Science & Engineering C.- Biomimetic and Supramolecular Systems. 28:443–447., Number 3 Abstract


Santana, SDF, Pina AS, Roque ACA.  2012.   Immobilization of enterokinase on magnetic supports for the cleavage of fusion proteins. Journal of Biotechnology. 161:378–382. AbstractWebsite

Magnetic nanobiocatalysts for tag cleavage on fusion proteins have been prepared by immobilizing
enterokinase (EK) onto iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles coated with biopolymers. Two different
chemistries have been explored for the covalent coupling of EK, namely carbodiimide (EDC coupling)
and maleimide activation (Sulfo coupling). Upon immobilization, EK initial activity lowered but EDC coupling lead to higher activity retention. Regarding the stability ofthe nanobiocatalysts,thesewere recycled
up to ten times with the greater activity losses observed in the first two cycles. The immobilized EK also
proved to cleave a control fusion protein and to greatly simplify the separation of the enzyme from the
reaction mixture.