Determining the ice-binding planes of antifreeze proteins by fluorescence-based ice plane affinity

Koli Basu, Christopher P. Garnham, Yoshiyuki Nishimiya, Sakae Tsuda, Ido Braslavsky, Peter Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) are expressed in a variety of cold-hardy organisms to prevent or slow internal ice growth. AFPs bind to specific planes of ice through their ice-binding surfaces. Fluorescence-based ice plane affinity (FIPA) analysis is a modified technique used to determine the ice planes to which the AFPs bind. FIPA is based on the original ice-etching method for determining AFP-bound ice-planes. It produces clearer images in a shortened experimental time. In FIPA analysis, AFPs are fluorescently labeled with a chimeric tag or a covalent dye then slowly incorporated into a macroscopic single ice crystal, which has been preformed into a hemisphere and oriented to determine the a- and c-axes. The AFP-bound ice hemisphere is imaged under UV light to visualize AFP-bound planes using filters to block out nonspecific light. Fluorescent labeling of the AFPs allows real-time monitoring of AFP adsorption into ice. The labels have been found not to influence the planes to which AFPs bind. FIPA analysis also introduces the option to bind more than one differently tagged AFP on the same single ice crystal to help differentiate their binding planes. These applications of FIPA are helping to advance our understanding of how AFPs bind to ice to halt its growth and why many AFP-producing organisms express multiple AFP isoforms.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere51185
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number83
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2014


  • Antifreeze proteins
  • Chemistry
  • Fluorescent labeling
  • Ice adsorption
  • Ice lattice planes
  • Ice-binding proteins
  • Issue 83
  • Life sciences
  • Materials
  • Optics
  • Single ice crystal


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