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Abstract

The interaction between a winter flounder antifreeze polypeptide and an ice/water interface was studied using Molecular Dynamics computer simulation techniques to study the mechanism of action of this class of antifreeze molecules. Simple Point Charge models were used for the water molecules, and a molecular mechanics program (CHARMM) was used to construct the model for the polypeptide. A (2021) face was exposed on the ice surface, as this is believed to be the experimentally favored ice face for peptide binding. The polypeptide binds strongly to the ice surface even though it was placed with its four polar threonine (Thr) groups pointing away from the ice surface. This tested the previously advanced hypothesis that adsorption occurs primarily between these groups and the ice due to a matching of the spacing between oxygen atoms in the ice lattice and the polar Thr residues. As well as contacts with other polar groups on the peptide, the binding to the ice produces a good steric fit of the peptide with the corrugated ice interface. The presence of the peptide did not induce any melting of the ice at 200 K.