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Science. 1998 Oct 23;282(5389):740-4.

Pathways to a protein folding intermediate observed in a 1-microsecond simulation in aqueous solution.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


An implementation of classical molecular dynamics on parallel computers of increased efficiency has enabled a simulation of protein folding with explicit representation of water for 1 microsecond, about two orders of magnitude longer than the longest simulation of a protein in water reported to date. Starting with an unfolded state of villin headpiece subdomain, hydrophobic collapse and helix formation occur in an initial phase, followed by conformational readjustments. A marginally stable state, which has a lifetime of about 150 nanoseconds, a favorable solvation free energy, and shows significant resemblance to the native structure, is observed; two pathways to this state have been found.

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