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A model for binding of an antifreeze polypeptide to ice.

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  • Research Article


A model is proposed, based on recent peptide analog and ice crystal etching studies, whereby an alanine-rich, alpha-helical antifreeze polypeptide (AFP) from the winter flounder inhibits the growth of ice crystals by hydrogen bonding of Thr, Asn, and Asp side chains in a specific pattern to the [2021] hexagonal bipyramidal planes of ice. It is further suggested that this mode of binding is unidirectional, maximizing opportunities for packing of AFPs on the ice surface, and that ice crystal growth inhibition occurs by a two-step mechanism involving hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interpeptide interactions.

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