Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 357 (1423), 937-43

Physiological and Ecological Significance of Biological Ice Nucleators

Affiliations
Review

Physiological and Ecological Significance of Biological Ice Nucleators

Rolv Lundheim. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci.

Abstract

When a pure water sample is cooled it can remain in the liquid state at temperatures well below its melting point (0 degrees C). The initiation of the transition from the liquid state to ice is called nucleation. Substances that facilitate this transition so that it takes place at a relatively high sub-zero temperature are called ice nucleators. Many living organisms produce ice nucleators. In some cases, plausible reasons for their production have been suggested. In bacteria, they could induce frost damage to their hosts, giving the bacteria access to nutrients. In freeze-tolerant animals, it has been suggested that ice nucleators help to control the ice formation so that it is tolerable to the animal. Such ice nucleators can be called adaptive ice nucleators. There are, however, also examples of ice nucleators in living organisms where the adaptive value is difficult to understand. These ice nucleators might be structures with functions other than facilitating ice formation. These structures might be called incidental ice nucleators.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 7 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Eur J Biochem. 1994 Jun 15;222(3):1047-54 - PubMed
    1. Protein Sci. 2001 Jan;10(1):149-60 - PubMed
    1. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1994 Jun;311(2):460-8 - PubMed
    1. Plant Physiol. 1992 Jun;99(2):519-25 - PubMed
    1. Eur J Biochem. 2001 Mar;268(5):1400-3 - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback