Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Oct 28;100(22):12570-5. Epub 2003 Oct 17.

Nonlinear elasticity, proteinquakes, and the energy landscapes of functional transitions in proteins.

Author information

  • 1Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, Department of Physics, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Large-scale motions of biomolecules involve linear elastic deformations along low-frequency normal modes, but for function nonlinearity is essential. In addition, unlike macroscopic machines, biological machines can locally break and then reassemble during function. We present a model for global structural transformations, such as allostery, that involve large-scale motion and possible partial unfolding, illustrating the method with the conformational transition of adenylate kinase. Structural deformation between open and closed states occurs via low-frequency modes on separate reactant and product surfaces, switching from one state to the other when energetically favorable. The switching model is the most straightforward anharmonic interpolation, which allows the barrier for a process to be estimated from a linear normal mode calculation, which by itself cannot be used for activated events. Local unfolding, or cracking, occurs in regions where the elastic stress becomes too high during the transition. Cracking leads to a counterintuitive catalytic effect of added denaturant on allosteric enzyme function. It also leads to unusual relationships between equilibrium constant and rate like those seen recently in single-molecule experiments of motor proteins.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk