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Role of Backbone Dipole Interactions in the Formation of Secondary and Supersecondary Structures of Proteins

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015 by Sai J. Ganesan, S. Matysiak
We present a generic solvated coarse-grained protein model that can be used to characterize the driving forces behind protein folding. Each amino acid is coarse-grained with two beads, a backbone, and a side chain. Although the backbone beads are modeled as polar entities, side chains are hydrophobic, polar, or charged, thus allowing the exploration of how sequence patterning determines a protein fold. The change in orientation of the atoms of the coarse-grained unit is captured by the addition of two oppositely charged dummy particles inside the backbone coarse-grained bead. These two dummy charges represent a dipole that can fluctuate, thus introducing structural polarization into the coarse-grained model. Realistic α/β content is achieved de novo without any biases in the force field toward a particular secondary structure. The dipoles created by the dummy particles interact with each other and drive the protein models to fold into unique structures depending on the amino acid patterning and presence of capping residues. We have also characterized the role of dipole–dipole and dipole–charge interactions in shaping the secondary and supersecondary structure of proteins. Formation of helix bundles and β-strands are also discussed.