A 9kDa antifreeze protein from the Antarctic springtail, Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni

  • T.C. Hawes, C.J. Marshall, D.A. Wharton
  • Cryobiology, August 2014, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.cryobiol.2014.07.001

A new small antifreeze protein from an Antarctic springtail

What is it about?

Springtails are found all around the world and are surprisingly tough. Only a few animals live their whole lives in Antarctica and these include a handful of springtail species. Freezing is one of the things Antarctic animals have to cope with. Springtails generally avoid freezing which is an unusual approach if you live in such a cold place. This work describes something about how Antarctic springtails avoid freezing.

Why is it important?

Antifreeze proteins from Canadian springtails have a unique structure and composition. Our initial work on this Antarctic antifreeze suggests it is a very different molecule from the one already described. This suggests that antifreeze proteins might have arisen at least twice in the rather ancient springtail lineage. We would like to find out more about this interesting protein.


Dr Craig J Marshall
University of Otago

This is a particularly hard problem for us to continue with. Getting material is difficult as it involves a trip to Antarctica. Even when there, finding enough springtails to do this work is also not easy. I would very much like to find out more about this protein leading to a sequence and eventually a structure.

Read Publication


The following have contributed to this page: Dr Craig J Marshall