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Antifreeze Protein Holds Promise For Organ Preservation

Date:
August 3, 1998
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
Frost-damaged oranges and freezer burn on your favourite ice cream might soon be a problem of the past thanks to an antifreeze protein found in some arctic fish, according to researchers at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children.

Frost-damaged oranges and freezer burn on your favourite ice cream might soon be a problem of the past thanks to an antifreeze protein found in some arctic fish, according to researchers at U of T and The Hospital for Sick Children.

The investigators have found the protein plays a role in preventing damage inflicted by extremely cold temperatures. "These proteins have many unusual properties and have become an important model for understanding how protein and ice interact," says Choy Hew, a professor of laboratory medicine and pathobiology at U of T and senior scientist in structural biology and biochemistry at HSC. "They are also helping us understand how genes are influenced by the environment and hormones."

Hew's research team is examining how the proteins enable fish to adapt to freezing temperatures by exploring the protein's structure, function and mode of action as well as the molecular mechanisms involved in switching the genes on and off.

"This research should have a significant impact on agricultural, aquacultural and other biotechnological industries," explains Hew, who originally identified the antifreeze gene. The research has far-reaching applications such as improvements in cell and organ preservation as well as the development of freeze-resistant crops and of other fish species that can survive cold temperatures. Their preliminary findings have already been used to lengthen platelet preservation times at cooler temperatures and lower the temperature at which Atlantic salmon can survive.

Hew's research is supported by the Medical Research Council of Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

CONTACT:
Christina Marshall
U of T Public Affairs
(416) 978-5949
christina.marshall@utoronto.ca


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Antifreeze Protein Holds Promise For Organ Preservation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980803072300.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (1998, August 3). Antifreeze Protein Holds Promise For Organ Preservation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980803072300.htm
University Of Toronto. "Antifreeze Protein Holds Promise For Organ Preservation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980803072300.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

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