From the Cover: A nonprotein thermal hysteresis-producing xylomannan antifreeze in the freeze-tolerant Alaskan beetle Upis ceramboides
Thermal hysteresis (TH), a difference between the melting and freezing points of a solution that is indicative of the presence of large-molecular-mass antifreezes (e.g., antifreeze proteins), has been described in animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi. Although all previously described TH-producing biomolecules are proteins, most thermal hysteresis factors (THFs) have not yet been structurally characterized, and none have been characterized from a freeze-tolerant animal. We isolated a highly active THF from the freeze-tolerant beetle, Upis ceramboides, by means of ice affinity. Amino acid chromatographic analysis, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, UV-Vis spectrophotometry, and NMR spectroscopy indicated that the THF contained little or no protein, yet it produced 3.7 ± 0.3 °C of TH at 5 mg/ml, comparable to that of the most active insect antifreeze proteins. Compositional and structural analyses indicated that this antifreeze contains a β-mannopyranosyl-(1→4) β-xylopyranose backbone and a fatty acid component, although the lipid may not be covalently linked to the saccharide. Consistent with the proposed structure, treatment with endo-β-(1→4)xylanase ablated TH activity. This xylomannan is the first TH-producing antifreeze isolated from a freeze-tolerant animal and the first in a new class of highly active THFs that contain little or no protein.