Feb 8, 2017

Comparative Study of the Collective Dynamics of Proteins and Inorganic Nanoparticles

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics

Interesting read for those interested in inorganic protein (NP) states from a solid to a liquid as the research proves inorganic NPs are in a ‘glassy’ state while transitioning from a solid to a liquid form.

Molecular dynamics simulations of ubiquitin in water/glycerol solutions are used to test the suggestion by Karplus and coworkers that proteins in their biologically active state should exhibit a dynamics similar to ‘surface-melted’ inorganic nanoparticles (NPs). Motivated by recent studies indicating that surface-melted inorganic NPs are in a ‘glassy’ state that is an intermediate dynamical state between a solid and liquid, we probe the validity and significance of this proposed analogy. In particular, atomistic simulations of ubiquitin in solution based on CHARMM36 force field and pre-melted Ni NPs (Voter-Chen Embedded Atom Method potential) indicate a common dynamic heterogeneity, along with other features of glass-forming (GF) liquids such as collective atomic motion in the form of string -like atomic displacements, potential energy fluctuations and particle displacements with long range correlations (‘colored’ or ‘pink’ noise), and particle displacement events having a power law scaling in magnitude, as found in earthquakes. On the other hand, we find the dynamics of ubiquitin to be even more like a polycrystalline material in which the α-helix and β-sheet regions of the protein are similar to crystal grains so that the string -like collective atomic motion is concentrated in regions between the α-helix and β-sheet domains.

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