Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Antifreeze Protein Found In Fleas May Allow Longer Storage Of Transplant Organs

Date:
October 21, 2005
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
A new antifreeze protein discovered in tiny snow fleas by Queen's University researchers may lengthen the shelf life of human organs for transplantation.

A new antifreeze protein discovered in tiny snow fleas by Queen’s University researchers may lengthen the shelf life of human organs for transplantation.
Credit: Image courtesy of Queen's University

A new antifreeze protein discovered in tiny snow fleas by Queen’s University researchers may lengthen the shelf life of human organs for transplantation.

Related Articles


Drs. Laurie Graham and Peter Davies, from the Department of Biochemistry, found that the potent protein produced by the fleas to protect themselves against freezing is capable of inhibiting ice growth by about six Celsius degrees. This would allow organs to be stored at lower temperatures, expanding the time allowed between removal and transplant.

The results of the Queen’s study, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), are published today in the international journal Science.

“Transplant organs must now be kept at the freezing point or slightly warmer,” says Dr. Graham. “If we can drop the temperature at which the organ is safely stored, there will be a longer preservation period.”

The hyperactive antifreeze protein produced by snow fleas is different from two other insect proteins discovered earlier at Queen’s, the researchers say.

“Unlike the antifreeze proteins in beetles and moths, AFPs in snow fleas break down and lose their structure at higher temperatures,” explains Dr Davies, Canada Research Chair in Protein Engineering. “This means that if used to store organs for transplants, they will be cleared from a person’s system very quickly, reducing the possibility of harmful antibodies forming.”

An ancient species related to modern insects, snow fleas are also known as “springtails” because of the distinctive springing organ under their abdomen which allows them to leap hundreds of times their one-millimeter length. Dr. Graham first noticed them while cross-country skiing, and brought several samples into the lab. “It was serendipity,” she says now. “They looked like dots of pepper sprinkled on the snow. Later we were able to collect large numbers for testing at the Queen’s University Biological Station.”

Using a process called ice affinity purification, the team isolated the new protein, which is rich in an amino acid called glycine. “When you grow a ‘popsicle’ of ice in the presence of these proteins, the AFPs bind to the ice and become included, while other proteins are excluded,” says Dr. Davies. “We use their affinity for ice as a tool to purify the protein.”

The antifreeze mechanism of snow fleas has been reported in other parts of the world, including Antarctica, but until now no one has isolated the protein. As well as its potential for use in organ transplants, the researchers suggest it could help to increase frost resistance in plants, and inhibit crystallization in frozen foods.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "New Antifreeze Protein Found In Fleas May Allow Longer Storage Of Transplant Organs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051021123223.htm>.
Queen's University. (2005, October 21). New Antifreeze Protein Found In Fleas May Allow Longer Storage Of Transplant Organs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051021123223.htm
Queen's University. "New Antifreeze Protein Found In Fleas May Allow Longer Storage Of Transplant Organs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051021123223.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins