Simple off-lattice model to study the folding and aggregation of peptides
We present a numerical study of a new protein model. This off-lattice model takes into account both the hydrogen bonds and the amino-acid interactions. It reproduces the folding of a small protein (peptide): morphological analysis of the conformations at low temperature shows two well-known substructures agr-helix and b.beta-sheet depending on the chosen sequence. The folding pathway in the scope of this model is studied through a free-energy analysis. We then study the aggregation of proteins. Proteins in the aggregate are mainly bound via hydrogen bonds. Performing a free-energy analysis we show that the addition of a peptide to such an aggregate is not favourable. We qualitatively reproduce the abnormal aggregation of proteins in prion diseases.