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Report No.
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Rigidity of protein structure revealed by incoherent neutron scattering

Nakagawa, Hiroshi  ; Kataoka, Mikio*

The rigidity and flexibility of a protein is reflected in its structural dynamics. Studies on protein dynamics often focus on flexibility and softness; this review focuses on protein structural rigidity. The extent of rigidity can be assessed experimentally with incoherent neutron scattering; a method that is complementary to molecular dynamics simulation. This experimental technique can provide information about protein dynamics in timescales of pico- to nanoseconds and at spatial scales of nanometers; these dynamics can help quantify the rigidity of a protein by indices such as force constant, Boson peak, dynamical transition, and dynamical heterogeneity. These indicators also reflect the rigidity of a protein's secondary and tertiary structures. In addition, the indices reveal how rigidity is influenced by different environmental parameters, such as hydration, temperature, pressure, and protein-protein interactions. Hydration affects both rigidity and softness more than other environmental factors. Interestingly, hydration affects harmonic and anharmonic motions in opposite ways. This difference is probably due to the protein's dynamic coupling with water molecules via hydrogen bonding.

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Category:Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

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