- Winter flounder contains two distinct anti-freeze protein isoforms, which are the liver-type extracellular anti-freeze proteins and the skin-type intracellular anti-freeze protein. The skin-type anti-freeze proteins exhibit lower anti-freeze activities than the liver-type isoforms and this might be due to their lacking complete ice-binding motifs. One of the skin-type anti-freeze proteins, skin-type anti-freeze protein-3, does contain putative overlapping ice-binding motifs with the sequences '-K-DT-' and '-DT-K-'. Synthetic anti-freezes containing 0-3 repeats of the '-DT-K-' motif were tested for stability and activity. Loss of the single '-DT-K-' of skin-type anti-freeze protein-3 increases the anti-freeze activity and increasing the number of motifs to two or three lowers the activity. The decrease in activity with an increasing frequency of the motif correlates with a decrease in the helical content of these peptides at 0 degrees C.