Scientific Correspondence

Nature 388, 727-728 (21 August 1997) |

Hyperactive antifreeze protein from beetles

Laurie A. Graham1, Yih-Cherng Liou1, Virginia K. Walker1 and Peter L. Davies1

We have purified a thermal hysteresis (antifreeze) protein, with up to 100 times the specific activity of fish antifreeze proteins, from the common yellow mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor. It is a threonine- and cysteine-rich protein, of relative molecular mass 8,400, composed largely of 12-amino-acid repeats. We estimate that a concentration of roughly 1 mg ml-1 of this protein can account for the 5.5 °C of thermal hysteresis found in Tenebrio larvae (Fig. 1).

  1. Departments of Biochemistry and Biology, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 1N6, Canada