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Biochemical Adaptation to the Freezing Environment - the Biology of Fish Antifreeze Proteins
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  • Journal title : Ocean and Polar Research
  • Volume 25, Issue 4,  2003, pp.607-615
  • Publisher : Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology
  • DOI : 10.4217/OPR.2003.25.4.607
 Title & Authors
Biochemical Adaptation to the Freezing Environment - the Biology of Fish Antifreeze Proteins
Li, Zhengjun; Li, n Qingsong; Low Woon-Kai; Miao Megan; Hew Choy L.;
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Many organisms are known to survive in icy environments. These include both over wintering terrestrial insects and plants as well the marine fish inhabiting high latitudes. The adaptation of these organisms is both a fascinating and important topic in biology. Marine teleosts in particular, can encounter ice-laden seawater that is approximately colder than the colligative freezing point of their body fluids. These animals produce a unique group of proteins, the antifreeze proteins (AFPs) or antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) that absorb the ice nuclei and prevent ice crystal growth. Presently, there are at least four different AFP types and one AFGP type that are isolated from a wide variety of fish. Despite their functional similarity, there is no apparent common protein homology or ice-binding motifs among these proteins, except that the surface-surface complementarity between the protein and ice are important for binding. The remarkable diversity of these proteins and their odd phylogenetic distribution would suggest that these proteins might have evolved recently in response to sea level glaciations just 1-2 million years ago in the northern hemisphere and 10-30 million years ago around Antarctica. Winter flounder, Pleuronectes americanus, has been used as a popular model to study the regulation of AFP gene expression. It has a built-in annual cycle of AFP expression controlled negatively by the growth hormone. The signal transduction pathways, transcription factors and promoter elements involved in this process have been studied in our laboratory and these studies will be presented.
low temperature adaptation;antifreeze glycoproteins;antifreeze proteins;
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