Structures of shorthorn sculpin antifreeze polypeptides
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The amino acid sequences of the two major antifreeze polypeptides (AFP) from the shorthorn sculpin have been determined using an automatic protein sequencer and enzymic digestion. These two polypeptides, SS-3 and SS-8, consist of 33 and 45 amino acid residues respectively. The N-terminal methionyl residue is blocked in both the polypeptides. When aligned for maximum structural similarity these two AFP are 80% homologous, and there appears a deletion of 12 amino acid residues at the N-terminal portion of SS-3. Like the winter flounder AFP, both the sculpin AFP also contain the 11-amino-acid repeat sequences. The secondary structure of the sculpin AFP is mainly alpha-helical as deduced from circular dichroic spectral data. The helical content of SS-8 is high (73%), while that of SS-3 is moderate (about 45%). The latter exhibits a relatively weak antifreeze activity. Removal of the blocked N-terminal residue in SS-8 did not alter the helical content significantly but did reduce the antifreeze activity. Helical contents of proteolytically generated fragments of AFP are much lower, and they are devoid of activity. The alpha-helix in the SS-8 component is seen to be amphiphilic in character. The relevance of this feature to the mechanism of the antifreeze action is briefly discussed.
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