Coexistence of native and denatured phases in a single proteinlike molecule

Rose Du, Alexander Yu Grosberg, Toyoichi Tanaka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In order to understand the nuclei which develop during the course of protein folding and unfolding, we examine equilibrium coexistence of phases within a single heteropolymer chain. We computationally generate the phase segregation by applying a “folding pressure,” or adding an energetic bonus for native monomer-monomer contacts. The computer models reveal that in a polymer system some nuclei hinder folding via topological constraints. Using this insight, we show that the critical nucleus size is of the order of the entire chain and that unfolding time scales as exp(cN2/3), in the large N limit, N and c being the chain length and a constant, respectively.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)4670-4673
    Number of pages4
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Issue number22
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Physics and Astronomy


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