Induced ice melting by the snow flea antifreeze protein from molecular dynamics simulations.

Todde G, Whitman C, Hovmöller S, Laaksonen A

J Phys Chem B 118 (47) 13527-13534 [2014-11-26; online 2014-11-12]

Antifreeze proteins (AFP) allow different life forms, insects as well as fish and plants, to survive in subzero environments. AFPs prevent freezing of the physiological fluids. We have studied, through molecular dynamics simulations, the behavior of the small isoform of the AFP found in the snow flea (sfAFP), both in water and at the ice/water interface, of four different ice planes. In water at room temperature, the structure of the sfAFP is found to be slightly unstable. The loop between two polyproline II helices has large fluctuations as well as the C-terminus. Torsional angle analyses show a decrease of the polyproline II helix area in the Ramachandran plots. The protein structure instability, in any case, should not affect its antifreeze activity. At the ice/water interface the sfAFP triggers local melting of the ice surface. Bipyramidal, secondary prism, and prism ice planes melt in the presence of AFP at temperatures below the melting point of ice. Only the basal plane is found to be stable at the same temperatures, indicating an adsorption of the sfAFP on this ice plane as confirmed by experimental evidence.

Affiliated researcher

PubMed 25353109

DOI 10.1021/jp508992e

Crossref 10.1021/jp508992e