Send to

Choose Destination
Protein Sci. 2007 Feb;16(2):227-38. Epub 2006 Dec 22.

Thermodynamic stability of a cold-adapted protein, type III antifreeze protein, and energetic contribution of salt bridges.

Author information

Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


A thermodynamic analysis of a cold-adapted protein, type III anti-freeze protein (AFP), was carried out. The results indicate that the folding equilibrium of type III AFP is a reversible, unimolecular, two-state process with no populated intermediates. Compared to most mesophilic proteins whose folding is two-state, the psychrophilic type III AFP has a much lower thermodynamic stability at 25 degrees C, approximately 3 kcal/mol, and presents a remarkably downshifted stability-temperature curve, reaching a maximum of 5 kcal/mol around 0 degrees C. Type III AFPs contain few and non-optimally distributed surface charges relative to their mesophilic homologs, the C-terminal domains of sialic acid synthases. We used thermodynamic double mutant cycles to evaluate the energetic role of every surface salt bridge in type III AFP. Two isolated salt bridges provided no contribution to stability, while the Asp36-Arg39 salt bridge, involved in a salt bridge network with the C-terminal carboxylate, had a substantial contribution (approximately 1 kcal/mol). However, this contribution was more than counteracted by the destabilizing effect of the Asp36 carboxylate itself, whose removal led to a net 30% increase in stability at 25 degrees C. This study suggests that type III AFPs may have evolved for a minimally acceptable stability at the restricted, low temperature range (around 0 degrees C) at which AFPs must function. In addition, it indicates that salt bridge networks are used in nature also for the stability of psychrophilic proteins, and has led to a type III AFP variant of increased stability that could be used for biotechnological purposes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center