Cloning of Putative Tardigrade Ice-Binding Proteins
My mentor’s project aims to develop tardigrades (also known as water bears) as a model for physiological adaptations to freezing, specifically investigating molecular mechanisms for cold tolerance. One suspected mechanism that tardigrades may use is making antifreeze proteins that bind ice crystals to prevent their further growth. So far, several possible ice-binding proteins have been identified. I will be working on cloning the genes for these proteins into E. coli, where over-expressing the genes will generate amounts of proteins that, when purified, can be assayed to figure out if they do indeed bind to ice, and if so, how.