Structural basis of hierarchical multiple substates of a protein. II: Monte carlo simulation of native thermal fluctuations and energy minimization



Conformational fluctuations in a globular protein, bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor, in the time range between picoseconds and nanoseconds are studied by a Monte Carlo simulation method. Multipleenergy minima are derived from sampled conformations by minimizing their energy. They are distributed in clusters in the conformational space. A hierarchical structure is observed in the simulated dynamics. In the time range between 10−14 and 10−10 seconds dynamics is well represented by a superposition of vibrational motions within an energy well with transitions among minima within each cluster. Transitions among clusters take place in the time range of nanoseconds or longer.