Observation of ice-like water layers at an aqueous protein surface
We study the properties of water at the surface of an antifreeze protein with femtosecond surface sum frequency generation spectroscopy. We find clear evidence for the presence of ice-like water layers at the ice-binding site of the protein in aqueous solution at temperatures above the freezing point. Decreasing the temperature to the biological working temperature of the protein (0 °C to -2 °C) increases the amount of ice-like water, while a single point mutation in the ice-binding site is observed to completely disrupt the ice-like character and to eliminate antifreeze activity. Our observations indicate that not the protein itself but ordered ice-like water layers are responsible for the recognition and binding to ice.
Meister, K, Strazdaite, S, DeVries, A.L, Lotze, S, Olijve, L.L.C, Voets, I.K, & Bakker, H.J. (2014). Observation of ice-like water layers at an aqueous protein surface. PNAS, 111(50), 17732–17736. doi:10.1073/pnas.1414188111