Surprising Simplicity in the Single-Molecule Folding Mechanics of Proteins


  • M.S. gratefully acknowledges the support of the International Graduate School NanoBioTechnology (IDK-NBT). Financial support of the German Excellence Initiative through the “Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM)” is gratefully acknowledged.


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The anisotropy of the folding-energy landscape of proteins under force can be tested with cysteine engineering. The shorter the actively contracting polypeptide (see scheme, from blue to green), the higher the force at which the protein folds. The anisotropy of the folding mechanics can be described surprisingly simply with the help of a minimal model, mainly considering the entropic elasticity of the polypeptide.