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Biomolecules 2019, 9(4), 139;

Freeze Tolerance in Sculpins (Pisces; Cottoidea) Inhabiting North Pacific and Arctic Oceans: Antifreeze Activity and Gene Sequences of the Antifreeze Protein

Nanae Fresh-Water Station, Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University, Nanae Town Kameda-gun 041-1105, Japan
Bioproduction Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Sapporo 062-8517, Japan
Graduate School of Environmental Sciences, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
Usujiri Fisheries Station, Field Science Center of Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University, Hakodate 041-1613, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 6 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifreeze Protein: New Insight from Different Approaches)
PDF [5702 KB, uploaded 6 April 2019]


Many marine species inhabiting icy seawater produce antifreeze proteins (AFPs) to prevent their body fluids from freezing. The sculpin species of the superfamily Cottoidea are widely found from the Arctic to southern hemisphere, some of which are known to express AFP. Here we clarified DNA sequence encoding type I AFP for 3 species of 2 families (Cottidae and Agonidae) belonging to Cottoidea. We also examined antifreeze activity for 3 families and 32 species of Cottoidea (Cottidae, Agonidae, and Rhamphocottidae). These fishes were collected in 2013–2015 from the Arctic Ocean, Alaska, Japan. We could identify 8 distinct DNA sequences exhibiting a high similarity to those reported for Myoxocephalus species, suggesting that Cottidae and Agonidae share the same DNA sequence encoding type I AFP. Among the 3 families, Rhamphocottidae that experience a warm current did not show antifreeze activity. The species inhabiting the Arctic Ocean and Northern Japan that often covered with ice floe showed high activity, while those inhabiting Alaska, Southern Japan with a warm current showed low/no activity. These results suggest that Cottoidea acquires type I AFP gene before dividing into Cottidae and Agonidae, and have adapted to each location with optimal antifreeze activity level. View Full-Text
Keywords: antifreeze proteins; cold adaptations; Cottoidea; thermal hysteresis antifreeze proteins; cold adaptations; Cottoidea; thermal hysteresis

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Yamazaki, A.; Nishimiya, Y.; Tsuda, S.; Togashi, K.; Munehara, H. Freeze Tolerance in Sculpins (Pisces; Cottoidea) Inhabiting North Pacific and Arctic Oceans: Antifreeze Activity and Gene Sequences of the Antifreeze Protein. Biomolecules 2019, 9, 139.

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