Effect of strong electric field on the conformational integrity of insulin

Xianwei Wang, Yongxiu Li, Xiao He, Shude Chen, John Z.H. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A series of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations up to 1 μs for bovine insulin monomer in different external electric fields were carried out to study the effect of external electric field on conformational integrity of insulin. Our results show that the secondary structure of insulin is kept intact under the external electric field strength below 0.15 V/nm, but disruption of secondary structure is observed at 0.25 V/nm or higher electric field strength. Although the starting time of secondary structure disruption of insulin is not clearly correlated with the strength of the external electric field ranging between 0.15 and 0.60 V/nm, long time MD simulations demonstrate that the cumulative effect of exposure time under the electric field is a major cause for the damage of insulin's secondary structure. In addition, the strength of the external electric field has a significant impact on the lifetime of hydrogen bonds when it is higher than 0.60 V/nm. The fast evolution of some hydrogen bonds of bovine insulin in the presence of the 1.0 V/nm electric field shows that different microwaves could either speed up protein folding or destroy the secondary structure of globular proteins deponding on the intensity of the external electric field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8942-8952
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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