The effect of habitat temperature on serum antifreeze glycoprotein (AFGP) activity in Notothenia rossii (Pisces: Nototheniidae) in the Southern Ocean

Tshoanelo Miya, Ofer Gon, Monica Mwale, C. H. Christina Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The marble notothen, Notothenia rossii, is widely distributed around the waters of sub-Antarctic islands in the Southern Ocean and is exposed to different temperatures that range from-1.5 to 8°C. This study investigates whether the different environmental conditions experienced by N. rossii at different latitudes in the Southern Ocean affect the levels of its blood serum antifreeze glycoprotein (AFGP). N. rossii specimens were collected from four localities, including the Ob’ Seamount in the Indian Ocean sector, and South Georgia Island, South Shetland Islands and Dallman Bay in the Atlantic Ocean sector. Serum AFGP activity was determined in terms of thermal hysteresis, i.e. the difference between the equilibrium melting and non-equilibrium freezing points (f.p.s.). Among the four populations, the Ob’ Seamount specimen had the lowest serum AFGP activity (0.44°C) and concentration (4.88 mg/mL), and the highest nonequilibrium f.p. (-1.39°C). These results are consistent with the warmer, ice-free waters around the Ob’ Seamount. The other three higher latitude populations have 2-3 times greater serum AFGP activity and concentration, and much lower non-equilibrium f.p.s. In contrast, the physiological profiles of serum AFGP size isoforms revealed that all N. rossii populations, including the Ob’ Seamount specimen, possess an extensive complements of AFGP proteins. Isoform variation was observed, especially in the large size isoforms (AFGPs 1-5), when compared to AFGP of the high Antarctic Dissostichus mawsoni. The lower levels of AFGP and the absence of some of the large isoforms are likely responsible for higher non-equilibrium f.p.s. of the Ob’ seamount specimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
JournalPolar Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • AFGP levels
  • Atlantic ocean sector
  • Freezing avoidance
  • Indian ocean sector
  • Seawater temperature
  • Sub-antarctic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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