Protein aggregates nucleate ice: the example of apoferritin
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Author/sCascajo-Castresana, María; David, Robert O.; Iriarte-Alonso, Maiara A.; Bittner, Alexander M.; Marcolli, Claudia
Biological material has gained increasing attention recently as a source of ice-nucleating particles that may account for cloud glaciation at moderate supercooling. While the ice-nucleation (IN) ability of some bacteria can be related to membrane-bound proteins with epitaxial fit to ice, little is known about the IN-active entities present in biological material in general. To elucidate the potential of proteins and viruses to contribute to the IN activity of biological material, we performed bulk freezing experiments with the newly developed drop freezing assay DRoplet Ice Nuclei Counter Zurich (DRINCZ), which allows the simultaneous cooling of 96 sample aliquots in a chilled ethanol bath. We performed a screening of common proteins, namely the iron storage protein ferritin and its iron-free counterpart apoferritin, the milk protein casein, the egg protein ovalbumin, two hydrophobins, and a yeast ice-binding protein, all of which revealed IN activity with active site densities > 0.1 mg−1 ...