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J Biol Chem. 2003 Oct 3;278(40):38942-7. Epub 2003 Jul 17.

Antifreeze protein dimer: when two ice-binding faces are better than one.

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Department of Biochemistry, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada.


A naturally occurring tandem duplication of the 7-kDa type III antifreeze protein from Antarctic eel pout (Lycodichthys dearborni) is twice as active as the monomer in depressing the freezing point of a solution. We have investigated the basis for this enhanced activity by producing recombinant analogues of the linked dimer that assess the effects of protein size and the number and area of the ice-binding site(s). The recombinant dimer connected by a peptide linker had twice the activity of the monomer. When one of the two ice-binding sites was inactivated by site-directed mutagenesis, the linked dimer was only 1.2 times more effective than the monomer. When the two monomers were linked through a C-terminal disulfide bond in such a way that their two ice-binding sites were opposite each other and unable to engage the same ice surface simultaneously, the dimer was again only 1.2 times as active as the monomer. We conclude from these analyses that the enhanced activity of the dimer stems from the two ice-binding sites being able to engage to ice at the same time, effectively doubling the area of the ice-binding site.

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