Protein folding as a result of 'self-regulated stochastic resonance': A new paradigm?
Journal article, 2008
We scrutinize the available (seemingly disparate) theories of protein folding and propose a new concept which brings them under one roof. First, we single out dipole-dipole coupling within protein backbone as the main reason for intrinsic double-well nature of the protein potential. Then, protein folding as a whole ought to be (at least) a two-stage process, namely: (a) both amino-acid side chains and solvent enslave the dynamics of the backbone to reach the folding transition state with the help of stochastic resonance, and (b) the backbone funnels the whole protein into the global potential energy minimum by enslaving the dynamics of the amino-acid side chains plus solvent, and simultaneously arresting the stochastic resonance prerequisites to lock the protein in its folded state. The latter is accomplished owing to the concerted action of the protein compactization (enthalpic contribution) and thermal motion intensification (entropic contribution), which is, in fact, a physical hallmark of enthalpy-entropy compensation.