Long-range protein-water dynamics in hyperactive insect antifreeze proteins

Konrad Meister, Simon Ebbinghaus, Yao Xu, John G. Duman, Arthur Devries, Martin Gruebele, David M. Leitner, Martina Havenith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) are specific proteins that are able to lower the freezing point of aqueous solutions relative to the melting point. Hyperactive AFPs, identified in insects, have an especially high ability to depress the freezing point by far exceeding the abilities of other AFPs. In previous studies, we postulated that the activity of AFPs can be attributed to two distinct molecular mechanisms: (i) short-range direct interaction of the protein surface with the growing ice face and (ii) long-range interaction by protein-induced water dynamics extending up to 20 Å from the protein surface. In the present paper, we combine terahertz spectroscopy and molecular simulations to prove that long-range protein-water interactions make essential contributions to the high antifreeze activity of insect AFPs from the beetle Dendroides canadensis. We also support our hypothesis by studying the effect of the addition of the osmolyte sodium citrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1617-1622
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 29 2013


  • Hydration dynamics
  • THz spetroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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