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J Phys Chem B. 2011 Feb 17;115(6):1512-23. doi: 10.1021/jp1089596. Epub 2011 Jan 21.

Kinetic network study of the diversity and temperature dependence of Trp-Cage folding pathways: combining transition path theory with stochastic simulations.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and BioMaPS Institute for Quantitative Biology, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.

Abstract

We present a new approach to study a multitude of folding pathways and different folding mechanisms for the 20-residue mini-protein Trp-Cage using the combined power of replica exchange molecular dynamics (REMD) simulations for conformational sampling, transition path theory (TPT) for constructing folding pathways, and stochastic simulations for sampling the pathways in a high dimensional structure space. REMD simulations of Trp-Cage with 16 replicas at temperatures between 270 and 566 K are carried out with an all-atom force field (OPLSAA) and an implicit solvent model (AGBNP). The conformations sampled from all temperatures are collected. They form a discretized state space that can be used to model the folding process. The equilibrium population for each state at a target temperature can be calculated using the weighted-histogram-analysis method (WHAM). By connecting states with similar structures and creating edges satisfying detailed balance conditions, we construct a kinetic network that preserves the equilibrium population distribution of the state space. After defining the folded and unfolded macrostates, committor probabilities (P(fold)) are calculated by solving a set of linear equations for each node in the network and pathways are extracted together with their fluxes using the TPT algorithm. By clustering the pathways into folding "tubes", a more physically meaningful picture of the diversity of folding routes emerges. Stochastic simulations are carried out on the network, and a procedure is developed to project sampled trajectories onto the folding tubes. The fluxes through the folding tubes calculated from the stochastic trajectories are in good agreement with the corresponding values obtained from the TPT analysis. The temperature dependence of the ensemble of Trp-Cage folding pathways is investigated. Above the folding temperature, a large number of diverse folding pathways with comparable fluxes flood the energy landscape. At low temperature, however, the folding transition is dominated by only a few localized pathways.

PMID:
21254767
PMCID:
PMC3059588
DOI:
10.1021/jp1089596
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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