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Proteins. 1999 Apr 1;35(1):34-40.

Factors that affect the folding ability of proteins.

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


The folding ability of a heteropolymer model for proteins subject to Monte Carlo dynamics on a simple cubic lattice is shown to be strongly correlated with the stability of the native state. We consider a number of estimates of the stability that can be determined without simulation, including the energy gap between the native state and the structurally dissimilar part of the spectrum (Z score) and, for sequences with fully compact native states, the gap in energy between the native and first excited fully compact states. These estimates are found to be more robust predictors of folding ability than a parameter sigma that requires simulation for its evaluation: sigma = 1 - Tf/Ttheta, where Tf is the temperature at which the fluctuation of an order parameter is at its maximum and Ttheta is the temperature at which the specific heat is at its maximum. We show that the interpretation of Ttheta as the collapse transition temperature is not correct in general and that the correlation between sigma and the folding ability arises from the fact that sigma is related to the energy gap (Z score).

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