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PEGs show a spectrum of unique physical and chemical properties, which have been described in literature extensively by the pioneers in PEGylation: Harris, Veronese and recently by Hermanson. Here are summarized the most common known properties.
- PEG fragments can be attached to many different positions in a protein. Amino groups of any solvent accessible lysines as well as the N-termini are the most prominent candidates for conjugation together with thiol functions of available cysteins. The C-terminus or carboxylic groups from aspartic acid and glutamic acid in theory are also possible for conjugation, however, are rarely used.
- PEG can also serve as spacer or cross linker between two moieties.
- PEG derivatives are available from pure, monodisperse, discrete molecules with short chain lengths or even one ethylene oxide unit only, to long polydisperse both linear and branched constructs, allowing regio-specific chemical conjugation with small molecules, proteins, peptides and biopharmaceuticals through their broad variety of terminal chemical groups available.