We present a model, based on symmetry and geometry, for proteins. Using elementary ideas from mathematics and physics, we derive the geometries of discrete helices and sheets. We postulate a compatible solvent-mediated emergent pairwise attraction that assembles these building blocks, while respecting their individual symmetries. Instead of seeking to mimic the complexity of proteins, we look for a simple abstraction of reality that yet captures the essence of proteins. We employ analytic calculations and detailed Monte Carlo simulations to explore some consequences of our theory. The predictions of our approach are in accord with experimental data. Our framework provides a rationalization for understanding the common characteristics of proteins. Our results show that the free energy landscape of a globular protein is pre-sculpted at the backbone level, sequences and functionalities evolve in the fixed backdrop of the folds determined by geometry and symmetry, and that protein structures are unique in being simultaneously characterized by stability, diversity, and sensitivity.

A geometrical framework for thinking about proteins

Achille Giacometti;Amos Maritan;Tatjana Skrbic
2023-01-01

Abstract

We present a model, based on symmetry and geometry, for proteins. Using elementary ideas from mathematics and physics, we derive the geometries of discrete helices and sheets. We postulate a compatible solvent-mediated emergent pairwise attraction that assembles these building blocks, while respecting their individual symmetries. Instead of seeking to mimic the complexity of proteins, we look for a simple abstraction of reality that yet captures the essence of proteins. We employ analytic calculations and detailed Monte Carlo simulations to explore some consequences of our theory. The predictions of our approach are in accord with experimental data. Our framework provides a rationalization for understanding the common characteristics of proteins. Our results show that the free energy landscape of a globular protein is pre-sculpted at the backbone level, sequences and functionalities evolve in the fixed backdrop of the folds determined by geometry and symmetry, and that protein structures are unique in being simultaneously characterized by stability, diversity, and sensitivity.
2023
91
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5036160
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