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IUBMB Life. 2009 Jun;61(6):627-43. doi: 10.1002/iub.223.

Protein folding simulations: from coarse-grained model to all-atom model.

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  • 1National Laboratory of Solid State Microstructure, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.

Abstract

Protein folding is an important and challenging problem in molecular biology. During the last two decades, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation has proved to be a paramount tool and was widely used to study protein structures, folding kinetics and thermodynamics, and structure-stability-function relationship. It was also used to help engineering and designing new proteins, and to answer even more general questions such as the minimal number of amino acid or the evolution principle of protein families. Nowadays, the MD simulation is still undergoing rapid developments. The first trend is to toward developing new coarse-grained models and studying larger and more complex molecular systems such as protein-protein complex and their assembling process, amyloid related aggregations, and structure and motion of chaperons, motors, channels and virus capsides; the second trend is toward building high resolution models and explore more detailed and accurate pictures of protein folding and the associated processes, such as the coordination bond or disulfide bond involved folding, the polarization, charge transfer and protonate/deprotonate process involved in metal coupled folding, and the ion permeation and its coupling with the kinetics of channels. On these new territories, MD simulations have given many promising results and will continue to offer exciting views. Here, we review several new subjects investigated by using MD simulations as well as the corresponding developments of appropriate protein models. These include but are not limited to the attempt to go beyond the topology based Gō-like model and characterize the energetic factors in protein structures and dynamics, the study of the thermodynamics and kinetics of disulfide bond involved protein folding, the modeling of the interactions between chaperonin and the encapsulated protein and the protein folding under this circumstance, the effort to clarify the important yet still elusive folding mechanism of protein BBL, the development of discrete MD and its application in studying the alpha-beta conformational conversion and oligomer assembling process, and the modeling of metal ion involved protein folding.

(c) 2009 IUBMB.

PMID:
19472192
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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