Key proteins protect wildlife when the temperature drops
It is hard to imagine what some fish, carrots and tiny snow fleas might have in common, but it turns out it is something key to their survival when the temperature drops below freezing.
The common trait, also shared by insects, bacteria and other microorganisms, is antifreeze proteins (AFP). As the name suggests, AFPs work “to prevent organisms from freezing or to help them survive in a frozen state,” explained Dr. Peter Davies, a professor at Queen’s University and Canada Research Chair in Protein Engineering.
Davies has been studying these unique proteins for about 40 years. His latest research, aided by X-ray diffraction techniques at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan was recently published in The FEBS Journal. This study continues to build knowledge about AFP structures, their function and evolution.
Read more on the CLS website
Image: A snow flea (Granisotoma rainieri) that was collected in Japan by coauthor Dr Sakae Tsuda
Credit: Canadian Light Source (CLS)