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J Biosci. 2007 Aug;32(5):891-8.

Protein mechanics: a route from structure to function.

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Institut de Biologie et Chimie des Proteines, CNRS UMR 5086/Universite de Lyon, 7 passage du Vercors, Lyon 69367, France.


In order to better understand the mechanical properties of proteins, we have developed simulation tools which enable these properties to be analysed on a residue-by-residue basis. Although these calculations are relatively expensive with all-atom protein models, good results can be obtained much faster using coarse-grained approaches. The results show that proteins are surprisingly heterogeneous from a mechanical point of view and that functionally important residues often exhibit unusual mechanical behaviour. This finding offers a novel means for detecting functional sites and also potentially provides a route for understanding the links between structure and function in more general terms.

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