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Dance of water molecules turns fire-coloured beetles into antifreeze artists

PNAS: RUB researchers and colleagues describe new mode of action for antifreeze proteins.

 

 

Certain plants and animals protect themselves against temperatures below freezing with antifreeze proteins. How the larva of the beetle Dendroides Canadensis manages to withstand temperatures down to -30 degrees Celsius is reported by an international team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Martina Havenith from the Department of Physical Chemistry II at the Ruhr-Universität in the journal PNAS. Together with American colleagues, the RUB-researchers showed that interactions between the antifreeze proteins and water molecules contribute significantly to protection against the cold. Previously, it was assumed that the effect was only achieved through direct contact of the protein with ice crystals. The team obtained the results through a combination of terahertz spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations.

 

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