• Disaccharide Residues are Required for Native Antifreeze Glycoprotein Activity.

      Sun, Yuling; Giubertoni, Giulia; Bakker, Huib J; Liu, Jie; Wagner, Manfred; Ng, David Y W; Devries, Arthur L; Meister, Konrad (ACS Publications, 2021-05-06)
      Antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) are able to bind to ice, halt its growth, and are the most potent inhibitors of ice recrystallization known. The structural basis for AFGP’s unique properties remains largely elusive. Here we determined the antifreeze activities of AFGP variants that we constructed by chemically modifying the hydroxyl groups of the disaccharide of natural AFGPs. Using nuclear magnetic resonance, two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy, and circular dichroism, the expected modifications were confirmed as well as their effect on AFGPs solution structure. We find that the presence of all the hydroxyls on the disaccharides is a requirement for the native AFGP hysteresis as well as the maximal inhibition of ice recrystallization. The saccharide hydroxyls are apparently as important as the acetyl group on the galactosamine, the α-linkage between the disaccharide and threonine, and the methyl groups on the threonine and alanine. We conclude that the use of hydrogen-bonding through the hydroxyl groups of the disaccharide and hydrophobic interactions through the polypeptide backbone are equally important in promoting the antifreeze activities observed in the native AFGPs. These important criteria should be considered when designing synthetic mimics.
    • Ice Recrystallization Inhibition Is Insufficient to Explain Cryopreservation Abilities of Antifreeze Proteins

      Sun, Yuling; Maltseva, Daria; Liu, Jie; Hooker II, Theordore; Mailänder, Volker; Ramløv, Hans; DeVries, Arthur, L.; Bonn, Mischa; Meister, Konrad (American Chemical Society, 2022-01-26)
      Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) and glycoproteins (AFGPs) are exemplary at modifying ice crystal growth and at inhibiting ice recrystallization (IRI) in frozen solutions. These properties make them highly attractive for cold storage and cryopreservation applications of biological tissue, food, and other water-based materials. The specific requirements for optimal cryostorage remain unknown, but high IRI activity has been proposed to be crucial. Here, we show that high IRI activity alone is insufficient to explain the beneficial effects of AF(G)Ps on human red blood cell (hRBC) survival. We show that AF(G)Ps with different IRI activities cause similar cell recoveries of hRBCs and that a modified AFGP variant with decreased IRI activity shows increased cell recovery. The AFGP variant was found to have enhanced interactions with a hRBC model membrane, indicating that the capability to stabilize cell membranes is another important factor for increasing the survival of cells after cryostorage. This information should be considered when designing novel synthetic cryoprotectants.