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J Biol Chem. 1992 Aug 15;267(23):16069-75.

Structure of an antifreeze polypeptide from the sea raven. Disulfide bonds and similarity to lectin-binding proteins.

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Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.


The antifreeze polypeptide (AFP) from the sea raven, Hemitripterus americanus, is a member of the cystine-rich class of blood antifreeze proteins which enable survival of certain fishes at sub-zero temperatures. Sea raven AFP contains 129 residues with 10 half-cystine residues. We have analyzed these half-cystine residues and established that all 10 of the half-cystine residues appeared to be involved in disulfide bond formation and that disulfide bonds linked Cys7 to Cys18, Cys35 to Cys125, and Cys89 to Cys117. These assignments were established by extensive proteolytic digestions of native AFP using pepsin and thermolysin and purification of the peptides by Sephadex G-15 gel filtration chromatography, anion exchange chromatography, and C18 reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography. Cystine-containing peptides were detected by a colorimetric assay using nitrothiosulfobenzoate. Disulfide-containing peptides were reduced and alkylated, purified, and analyzed by amino acid analysis. The unreduced disulfide-linked peptides were sequenced directly by automated Edman degradations to confirm the disulfide assignments. Possible arrangements of the two remaining disulfide bonds include linkages Cys69/111 to Cys100/101. The sea raven AFP shares structural similarity with pancreatic stone protein and several lectin-binding proteins, especially with respect to half-cystines, glycines, and bulky aromatic residues. Two of the disulfide linkages we determined for sea raven AFP: Cys7-Cys18 and Cys35-Cys125, are conserved in these proteins. These similarities in covalent structure suggest that the sea raven AFP, pancreatic stone protein, and several lectin-binding proteins comprise a family of proteins which may possess a common fold.

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