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Keywords:

  • collective motion;
  • hinge bending motion;
  • normal mode analysis;
  • anharmonic motion;
  • low-frequency motion

Abstract

A method is presented to describe the internal motions of proteins obtained from molecular dynamics or Monte Carlo simulations as motions of normal mode variables. This method calculates normal mode variables by projecting trajectories of these simulations onto the axes of normal modes and expresses the trajectories as a linear combination of normal mode variables. This method is applied to the result of the molecular dynamics and the Monte Carlo simulations of human lysozyme. The motion of the lowest frequency mode extracted from the simulations represents the hinge bending motion very faithfully. Analysis of the obtained motions of the normal mode variables provides an explanation of the anharmonic aspects of protein dynamics as due first to the anharmonicity of the actual potential energy surface near a minimum and second to trans-minimum conformational changes.