A bacterial ice-binding protein from the Vostok ice core
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Bacterial and yeast isolates recovered from a deep Antarctic ice core were screened for proteins with ice-binding activity, an indicator of adaptation to icy environments. A bacterial strain recovered from glacial ice at a depth of 3,519 m, just above the accreted ice from Subglacial Lake Vostok, was found to produce a 54 kDa ice-binding protein (GenBank EU694412) that is similar to ice-binding proteins previously found in sea ice diatoms, a snow mold, and a sea ice bacterium. The protein has the ability to inhibit the recrystallization of ice, a phenotype that has clear advantages for survival in ice.