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Ice-Nucleating and Antifreeze Proteins Recognize Ice through a Diversity of Anchored Clathrate and Ice-like Motifs

Hudait, Arpa, Odendahl, Nathan, Qiu, Yuqing, Paesani, Francesco, Molinero, Valeria
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2018 v.140 no.14 pp. 4905-4912
Pseudomonas borealis, Pseudomonas syringae, amino acid sequences, antifreeze proteins, binding proteins, crystal structure, ice, ice nucleation, insects, models, molecular dynamics
Cold-adapted organisms produce antifreeze and ice-nucleating proteins to prevent and promote ice formation. The crystal structure of hyperactive bacterial antifreeze protein (AFP) MpAFP suggests that this protein binds ice through an anchored clathrate motif. It is not known whether other hyperactive AFPs and ice-nucleating proteins (INPs) use the same motif to recognize or nucleate ice. Here we use molecular simulations to elucidate the ice-binding motifs of hyperactive insect AFPs and a model INP of Pseudomonas syringae. We find that insect AFPs recognize ice through anchored clathrate motifs distinct from that of MpAFP. By performing simulations of ice nucleation by PsINP, we identify two distinct ice-binding sites on opposite sides of the β-helix. The ice-nucleating sequences identified in the simulations agree with those previously proposed for the closely related INP of Pseudomonas borealis based on the structure of the protein. The simulations indicate that these sites have comparable ice-nucleating efficiency, but distinct binding motifs, controlled by the amino acid sequence: one is an anchored clathrate and the other ice-like. We conclude that anchored clathrate and ice-like motifs can be equally effective for binding proteins to ice and promoting ice nucleation.