Specific volume and adiabatic compressibility measurements of native and aggregated recombinant human interleukin-1 receptor antagonist: density differences enable pressure-modulated refolding.
High hydrostatic pressures have been used to dissociate non-native protein aggregates and foster refolding to the native conformation. In this study, partial specific volume and adiabatic compressibility measurements were used to examine the volumetric contributions to pressure-modulated refolding. The thermodynamics of pressure-modulated refolding from non-native aggregates of recombinant human interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) were determined by partial specific volume and adiabatic compressibility measurements. Aggregates of IL-1ra formed at elevated temperatures (55 degrees C) were found to be less dense than native IL-1ra and refolded at 31 degrees C under 1,500 bar pressure with a yield of 57%. Partial specific adiabatic compressibility measurements suggest that the formation of solvent-free cavities within the interior of IL-1ra aggregates cause the apparent increase in specific volume. Dense, pressure-stable aggregates could be formed at 2,000 bar which could not be refolded with additional high pressure treatment, demonstrating that aggregate formation conditions and structure dictate pressure-modulated refolding yields