Designing refoldable model molecules
We report a numerical study of the design of lattice heteropolymers that can refold when the properties of only a few monomers are changed. If we assume that the effect of an external agent on a heteropolymer is to alter the interactions between its constituent monomers, our simulations provide a description of a simple allosteric transition. We characterize the free energy surfaces of the initial and the modified chain molecule. We find that there is a region of conformation space where molecules can be made to refold with minimal free energy cost. This region is accessible by thermal fluctuations. The efficiency of a motor based on such an allosteric transition would be enhanced by "borrowing" heat from the environment in the initial stages of the refolding, and "paying back" later. In fact, the power cycle of many real molecular motors does involve such a borrowing activation step.
|Journal||Phys. Rev. E|
Coluzza, I, Muller, H. G, & Frenkel, D. (2003). Designing refoldable model molecules. Phys. Rev. E, 68(Article number: 46703), 1–9.