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Specialized iNANO Lecture: Ice-binding proteins: roles, recent evolution, and mechanism of action

Professor Peter L. Davies, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Science, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

2018.05.18 | Trine Møller Hansen

Date Tue 29 May
Time 14:15 15:00
Location AUD VI, Dept. of Chemistry, Langelandsgade 140, 8000 Aarhus C

Professor Peter L. Davies
Department of Biomedical and Molecular Science
Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario

Ice-binding proteins: roles, recent evolution, and mechanism of action

Ice-binding proteins (IBPs) were first discovered in marine fishes that need protection from freezing in icy seawater. This antifreeze role is also seen in overwintering terrestrial insects, where more potent IBPs evolved to help prevent freezing down to -30 °C.  IBPs are widespread across biological kingdoms, and their functions include assisting plants tolerate freezing by inhibiting the recrystallization of ice.  In at least one example an ice-binding domain has been incorporated into an adhesion protein that positions its marine bacterial host on the underside of sea ice in symbiosis with photosynthetic microorganisms. IBPs have remarkably diverse folds, which is consistent with their recent, independent evolution. In fishes, we can trace back the origins of antifreeze proteins to global cooling, which took place during the latter half of the Eocene some 20 – 40 mya. Prior to this period the Earth was in a warmer climate state without any evidenced of sea-level glaciation. IBPs are freely soluble in water and yet bind irreversibly to ice – the solid state of water. IBPs have ice-binding sites on their surface that are typically flat, extensive, and relatively hydrophobic. There is increasing evidence that these sites organize water into an ice-like arrangement that merges with, and freezes to, the quasi-liquid layer next to the ice lattice. IBPs have many potential applications in cryobiology, organ transplantation, crop protection, and gas hydrate inhibition.  


Funded by CIHR

The seminar is part of the Atmospherica Network seminar series.

In keeping with the topic of the seminar and Peter Davies' research - there will be ice cream at 14:00-14:15.

Host: Associate professor Tobias Weidner, Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University

Specialized iNANO Lectures