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Glutaraldehyde cross‐linking increases the stability of Lumbricus terrestris erythrocruorin

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Since donated red blood cells must be constantly refrigerated, they are not available in remote areas and battlefields. We have previously shown that the hemoglobin of the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris (LtEc) is an effective and safe substitute for donated blood that is stable enough to be stored for long periods at the relatively high temperatures that may be encountered in remote areas. The goal of this study was to further increase the thermal stability of LtEc by covalently cross‐linking LtEc with glutaraldehyde (gLtEc). Our results show that the melting temperatures of the gLtEc samples steadily increase as the molar ratio of glutaraldehyde to heme increases (from Tm = 57°C for native LtEc up to Tm = 68°C at a ratio of 128:1). In addition, while native LtEc is susceptible to subunit dissociation at alkaline pH (8–10), cross‐linking with glutaraldehyde completely prevents dissociation of gLtEc at pH 10. Increasing the molar ratio of glutaraldehyde:heme also significantly increased the oxygen affinity of gLtEc, but this effect was decreased by cross‐linking gLtEc in the deoxygenated T state. Finally, while gLtEc samples cross‐linked at low G:H ratios (e.g., 2:1) exhibited slight increases in oxidation rate in Tris buffer, no significant difference in oxidation rate was observed between native LtEc and the gLtEc samples in Ringer's Solution, which contains antioxidants. Overall, cross‐linking LtEc with glutaraldehyde significantly increases its thermal and structural stability without any loss of function, making gLtEc an attractive blood substitute for deployment in remote areas and battlefields. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 34:521–528, 2018
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Keywords: HBOC; Lumbricus terrestris; blood substitute; erythrocruorin; glutaraldehyde; hemoglobin‐based oxygen carrier

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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