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Closed Access item Exploiting the downhill folding regime via experiment

Authors:Muñoz van den Eynde, Víctor
Sadqi, Mourad
Naganathan, Athi N.
Sancho, David de
Keywords:Free energy, Molecular biophysics, Molecular force constants, Proteins, Thermodynamics
Issue Date:13-Oct-2008
Publisher:Human frontier science program
Citation:HFSP journal 3(6): 342-353 (2008)
Abstract:Traditionally, folding experiments have been directed at determining equilibrium and relaxation rate constants of proteins that fold with two-state-like kinetics. More recently, the combination of free energy surface approaches inspired by theory with the discovery of proteins that fold in the downhill regime has greatly widened the battlefield for experimentalists. Downhill folding proteins cross very small or no free energy barrier at all so that all relevant partially folded conformations become experimentally accessible. From these combined efforts we now have tools to estimate the height of thermodynamic and kinetic folding barriers. Procedures to measure with atomic resolution the structural heterogeneity of conformational ensembles at varying unfolding degrees are also available. Moreover, determining the dynamic modes driving folding and how they change as folding proceeds is finally at our fingertips. These developments allow us to address via experiment fundamental questions such as the origin of folding cooperativity, the relationship between structure and stability, or how to engineer folding barriers. Moreover, the level of detail attained in this new breed of experiments should provide powerful benchmarks for computer simulations of folding and force-field refinement.
Description:12 pages.-- PACS: 82.37.Rs; 87.14.E-
Publisher version (URL):http://dx.doi.org/10.2976/1.2988030
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10261/21896
ISSN:1955-2068
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