Predicting the activity coefficients of free-solvent for concentrated globular protein solutions using independently determined physical parameters.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0081933
The activity coefficient is largely considered an empirical parameter that was traditionally introduced to correct the non-ideality observed in thermodynamic systems such as osmotic pressure. Here, the activity coefficient of free-solvent is related to physically realistic parameters and a mathematical expression is developed to directly predict the activity coefficients of free-solvent, for aqueous protein solutions up to near-saturation concentrations. The model is based on the free-solvent model, which has previously been shown to provide excellent prediction of the osmotic pressure of concentrated and crowded globular proteins in aqueous solutions up to near-saturation concentrations. Thus, this model uses only the independently determined, physically realizable quantities: mole fraction, solvent accessible surface area, and ion binding, in its prediction. Predictions are presented for the activity coefficients of free-solvent for near-saturated protein solutions containing either bovine serum albumin or hemoglobin. As a verification step, the predictability of the model for the activity coefficient of sucrose solutions was evaluated. The predicted activity coefficients of free-solvent are compared to the calculated activity coefficients of free-solvent based on osmotic pressure data. It is observed that the predicted activity coefficients are increasingly dependent on the solute-solvent parameters as the protein concentration increases to near-saturation concentrations.