Unfolding and Folding Internal Friction of β-Hairpins Is Smaller than That of α-Helices

Julius C. F. Schulz , Markus S. Miettinen , and R. R. Netz, J. Phys. Chem. B

News from Mar 24, 2015

By the forced unfolding of polyglutamine and polyalanine homopeptides in competing α-helix and β-hairpin secondary structures, we disentangle equilibrium free energetics from nonequilibrium dissipative effects. We find that α-helices are characterized by larger friction or dissipation upon unfolding, regardless of whether they are free energetically preferred over β-hairpins or not. Our analysis, based on MD simulations for atomistic peptide models with explicit water, suggests that this difference is related to the internal friction and mostly caused by the different number of intrapeptide hydrogen bonds in the α-helix and β-hairpin states. doi

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