The equilibrium heat stability and the kinetic heat tolerance of a recombinant antifreeze protein (AFP) from the beetle Rhagium mordax (RmAFP1) are studied through differential scanning calorimetry and circular dichroism spectroscopy. In contrast to other insect AFPs studied with this respect, the RmAFP1 has only one disulfide bridge. The melting temperature, Tm, of the protein is determined to be 28.5°C (pH 7.4), which is much lower than most of those reported for AFPs or globular proteins in general. Despite its low melting temperature, both biophysical and activity measurements show that the protein almost completely refolds into the native state after repeated exposure of 70°C. RmAFP1 thus appears to be kinetically stable even far above its melting temperature. Thermodynamically, the insect AFPs seem to be dividable in three groups, relating to their content of disulfide bridges and widths of the ice binding motifs; high melting temperature AFPs (high disulfide content, TxT motifs), low melting temperature but high refolding capability AFPs (one disulfide bridge, TxTxTxT motifs) and irreversibly unfolded AFPs at low temperatures (no disulfide bridges, TxTxTxTxT motifs). The property of being able to cope with high temperature exposures may appear peculiar for proteins which strictly have their effect at subzero temperatures. Different aspects of this are discussed.
Protein Science, 2014, Vol 23, Issue 6, p. 760-768