Shwanavidin is an avidin-like protein from the marine proteobactrium Shewanella denitrificans, which exhibits an innate dimeric structure while maintaining high affinity toward biotin. A unique residue (Phe-43) from the L3,4 loop and a distinctive disulfide bridge were shown to account for the high affinity toward biotin. Phe-43 emulates the function and position of the critical intermonomeric Trp that characterizes the tetrameric avidins but is lacking in shwanavidin. The 18 copies of the apomonomer revealed distinctive snapshots of L3,4 and Phe-43, providing rare insight into loop flexibility, binding site accessibility, and psychrophilic adaptation. Nevertheless, as in all avidins, shwanavidin also displays high thermostability properties. The unique features of shwanavidin may provide a platform for the design of a long sought after monovalent form of avidin, which would be ideal for novel types of biotechnological application.