Ice-binding proteins adsorb to their ligand via anchored clathrate waters
Garnham, Christopher P.
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The main success of my thesis has been to establish the mechanism by which antifreeze proteins (AFPs) bind irreversibly to ice crystals, and hence prevent their growth. AFPs organize ice-like water on their ice-binding site, which then merges and freezes with the quasi-liquid layer of ice. This was revealed from studying the exceptionally large (ca. 1.5-MDa) Ca 2+-dependent AFP from the Antarctic bacterium Marinomonas primoryensis (MpAFP). The 34-kDa antifreeze- active region of MpAFP was predicted to fold as a novel Ca 2+-binding β-helix. Site-directed mutagenesis confirmed the model and demonstrated that its ice-binding site (IBS) consisted of solvent-exposed Thr and Asx parallel arrays on the Ca 2+-binding turns. The X-ray crystal structure of the antifreeze region was solved to a resolution of 1.7 Å. Two of the four molecules within the unit cell of the crystal had portions of their IBSs freely exposed to solvent. Identical clathrate-like cages of water molecules were present on each IBS. These waters were organized by the hydrophobic effect and anchored to the protein via hydrogen bonds. They matched the spacing of water molecules in an ice lattice, demonstrating that anchored clathrate waters bind AFPs to ice. This mechanism was extended to other AFPs including the globular type III AFP from fishes. Site-directed mutagenesis and a modified ice-etching technique demonstrated this protein uses a compound ice-binding site, comprised of two flat and relatively hydrophobic surfaces, to bind at least two planes of ice. Reinvestigation of several crystal structures of type III AFP identified anchored clathrate waters on the solvent-exposed portion of its compound IBS that matched the spacing of waters on the primary prism plane of ice. Ice nucleation proteins (INPs), which can raise the temperature at which ice forms in solution to just slightly below 0oC, have the opposite effect to AFPs. A novel dimeric β-helical model was proposed for the INP produced by the bacterium Pseudomonas borealis. Molecular dynamics simulations showed that INPs are also capable of ordering water molecules into an ice- like lattice. However, their multimerization brings together sufficient ordered waters to form an ice nucleus and initiate freezing.