Protein flexibility using constraints from molecular dynamics simulations

Tatyana Mamonova, Brandon Hespenheide, Rachel Straub, Michael Thorpe, Maria Kurnikova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Proteins are held together in the native state by hydrophobic interactions, hydrogen bonds and interactions with the surrounding water, whose strength as well as spatial and temporal distribution affects protein flexibility and hence function. We study these effects using 10 ns molecular dynamics simulations of pure water and of two proteins, the glutamate receptor ligand binding domain and barnase. We find that most of the noncovalent interactions flicker on and off over typically nanoseconds, and so we can obtain good statistics from the molecular dynamics simulations. Based on this information, a topological network of rigid bonds corresponding to a protein structure with covalent and noncovalent bonds is constructed, with account being taken of the influence of the flickering hydrogen bonds. We define the duty cycle for the noncovalent interactions as the percentage of time a given interaction is present, which we use as an input to investigate flexibility/rigidity patterns, in the algorithm FIRST which constructs and analyses topological networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S137-S147
JournalPhysical biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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