Send to

Choose Destination
J R Soc Interface. 2015 Nov 6;12(112). pii: 20150876. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2015.0876.

Fold and flexibility: what can proteins' mechanical properties tell us about their folding nucleus?

Author information

Laboratoire de Biochimie Théorique, CNRS UPR9080, Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, 13 rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris, France


The determination of a protein's folding nucleus, i.e. a set of native contacts playing an important role during its folding process, remains an elusive yet essential problem in biochemistry. In this work, we investigate the mechanical properties of 70 protein structures belonging to 14 protein families presenting various folds using coarse-grain Brownian dynamics simulations. The resulting rigidity profiles combined with multiple sequence alignments show that a limited set of rigid residues, which we call the consensus nucleus, occupy conserved positions along the protein sequence. These residues' side chains form a tight interaction network within the protein's core, thus making our consensus nuclei potential folding nuclei. A review of experimental and theoretical literature shows that most (above 80%) of these residues were indeed identified as folding nucleus member in earlier studies.


coarse-grain simulations; folding nucleus; protein folding; protein mechanics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center