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.
KeywordsSubglacial Lake Vostok Flavobacteriaceae Ice-binding protein Recrystallization inhibition Ice grain boundaries
We thank A. Chien, K. Schegg, B. Arnold for valuable assistance, S. Doyle for microscopic imaging, and J. Priscu for discussion. This work was partially supported by an NIH IMBRE grant. B. C. is supported by NSF grants EAR-0525567 and OPP-0636828.
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