On the nature of the forces controlling selectivity in the high performance capillary electrochromatographic separation of peptides.Biopolymers. 2003; 71(4):429-53.B
In this minireview, the nature of the forces controlling selectivity in the high performance capillary electrochromatographic (HP-CEC) separation of peptides has been examined. For uncharged and charged peptides, a synergistic interplay occurs in HP-CEC systems between adsorptive/partitioning events and electrokinetically driven motion. Moreover, at high field strengths, both bulk electrophoretic migration and surface electrodiffusion occur. Thus, the migration behavior of peptides in different HP-CEC systems can be rationalized in terms of the combined consequences of these various processes. Moreover, in HP-CEC, the buffer electrolyte interacts with both the peptide analytes and the sorbent as bulk phenomena. These buffer-mediated processes control the solvational characteristics, ionization status and conformational behavior of the peptides as well as regulate the double-layer properties of the sorbent, and the ion flux and electro-osmotic flow characteristics of the HP-CEC system per se. These buffer electrolyte effects mediate mutual interactions between the peptide and the sorbent, irrespective of whether the interaction occurs at the surface of microparticles packed into a capillary, at the surface of a contiguous monolithic structure formed or inserted within the capillary or at the walls of the capillary as is the case with open tubular HP-CEC. Diverse molecular and submolecular forces thus coalesce to provide the basis for the different experimental modes under which HP-CEC can be carried out. As a consequence of this interplay, experimental parameters governing the separation of peptides in HP-CEC can be varied over a wide range of conditions, ensuring numerous options for enhanced selectivity, speed, and resolution of peptides. The focus of the peptide separation examples presented in this minireview has been deliberately restricted to the use of HP-CEC capillaries packed with n-alkyl-bonded silicas or mixed-mode strong ion exchange sorbents, although other types of sorbent chemistries can be employed. From these examples, several conclusions have been drawn related to the use of HP-CEC in the peptide sciences. These observations confirm that variation of a specific parameter, such as the pH or the content of the organic solvent modifier in the buffer electrolyte, simultaneously influences all other physicochemical aspects of the specific HP-CEC separation. Peptide selectivity in HP-CEC thus cannot be fine-tuned solely through the use of single parameter optimization methods. In this context, HP-CEC differs significantly from the analogous reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) procedures with peptides. Rather, more sophisticated multiparameter optimization procedures, involving knowledge of (a) the field strength polarity, (b) its contour and flux characteristics, (c) effects of buffer electrolyte composition and pH, (e) the influence of the temperature, and (f) the impact of the sorbent characteristics, are required if the full capabilities offered by HP-CEC procedures are to be exploited. In this minireview, the HP-CEC migration behavior of several different sets of synthetic peptides has been examined, and general guidelines elaborated from these fundamental considerations to facilitate the interpretation and modulation of peptide selectivity in HP-CEC.