In order to better understand the mechanical properties of proteins, we have developed simulation tools which enable these properties to be analysed on a residue-by-residue basis. Although these calculations are relatively expensive with all-atom protein models, good results can be obtained much faster using coarse-grained approaches. The results show that proteins are surprisingly heterogeneous from a mechanical point of view and that functionally important residues often exhibit unusual mechanical behaviour. This finding offers a novel means for detecting functional sites and also potentially provides a route for understanding the links between structure and function in more general terms.
Volume 44 | Issue 5
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