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J Chem Phys. 2013 May 28;138(20):204102. doi: 10.1063/1.4801331.

Kinetics of molecular transitions with dynamic disorder in single-molecule pulling experiments.

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College of Chemistry, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, China.


Macromolecular transitions are subject to large fluctuations of rate constant, termed as dynamic disorder. The individual or intrinsic transition rates and activation free energies can be extracted from single-molecule pulling experiments. Here we present a theoretical framework based on a generalized Langevin equation with fractional Gaussian noise and power-law memory kernel to study the kinetics of macromolecular transitions to address the effects of dynamic disorder on barrier-crossing kinetics under external pulling force. By using the Kramers' rate theory, we have calculated the fluctuating rate constant of molecular transition, as well as the experimentally accessible quantities such as the force-dependent mean lifetime, the rupture force distribution, and the speed-dependent mean rupture force. Particular attention is paid to the discrepancies between the kinetics with and without dynamic disorder. We demonstrate that these discrepancies show strong and nontrivial dependence on the external force or the pulling speed, as well as the barrier height of the potential of mean force. Our results suggest that dynamic disorder is an important factor that should be taken into account properly in accurate interpretations of single-molecule pulling experiments.

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