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Anchored clathrate waters bind antifreeze proteins to ice.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
1091-6490
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Volume
108
Issue
18
Pages
7363–7367
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1100429108
PMID: 21482800
Source
Medline

Abstract

The mechanism by which antifreeze proteins (AFPs) irreversibly bind to ice has not yet been resolved. The ice-binding site of an AFP is relatively hydrophobic, but also contains many potential hydrogen bond donors/acceptors. The extent to which hydrogen bonding and the hydrophobic effect contribute to ice binding has been debated for over 30 years. Here we have elucidated the ice-binding mechanism through solving the first crystal structure of an Antarctic bacterial AFP. This 34-kDa domain, the largest AFP structure determined to date, folds as a Ca(2+)-bound parallel beta-helix with an extensive array of ice-like surface waters that are anchored via hydrogen bonds directly to the polypeptide backbone and adjacent side chains. These bound waters make an excellent three-dimensional match to both the primary prism and basal planes of ice and in effect provide an extensive X-ray crystallographic picture of the AFPice interaction. This unobstructed view, free from crystal-packing artefacts, shows the contributions of both the hydrophobic effect and hydrogen bonding during AFP adsorption to ice. We term this mode of binding the "anchored clathrate" mechanism of AFP action.

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