Five genes coding for ice-active proteins were identified from an expressed sequence tag database of Lolium perenne cDNA libraries. Each of the five genes were characterized by the presence of an N-terminal signal peptide, a region enriched in hydrophilic amino acids and a leucine-rich region in four of the five genes that is homologous with the receptor domain of receptor-like protein kinases of plants. The C-terminal region of all five genes contains sequence homologous with Lolium and Triticum ice-active proteins. Of the four ice-active proteins (IAP1, IAP2, IAP3 and IAP5) cloned, three could be expressed in Escherichia coli and recovered in a functional form in order to study their ice activity. All three ice-active proteins had recrystallization inhibition activity but showed no detectable antifreeze or ice nucleation activity at the concentration tested. IAP2 and IAP5 formed distinct hexagonal-shaped crystals in the nanolitre osmometer as compared to the weakly hexagonal crystals produced by IAP3.