Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) inhibit ice re-crystallization by a mechanism remaining largely elusive. Dynamics of AFPs’ hydration water and its involvement in the antifreeze activity have not been identified conclusively. We herein, by simulation and theory, examined the water reorientation dynamics in the first hydration layer of an AFP from the spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana, compared with a protein cytochrome P450 (CYP). The increase of potential acceptor water molecules around donor water molecules leads to the acceleration of hydrogen bond exchange between water molecules. Therefore, the jump reorientation of water molecules around the AFP active region is accelerated. Due to the mutual coupling and excitation of hydrogen bond exchange, with the acceleration of hydrogen bond exchange, the rearrangement of the hydrogen bond network and the frame reorientation of water are accelerated. Therefore, the water reorientation dynamics of AFP is faster than that of CYP. The results of this study provide a new physical image of antifreeze protein and a new understanding of the antifreeze mechanism of antifreeze proteins.

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