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Protein chains coil into alpha-helices and beta-sheet structures. Knowing the timescales and mechanism of formation of these basic structural elements is essential for understanding how proteins fold. For the past 40 years, alpha-helix formation has been extensively investigated in synthetic and natural peptides, including by nanosecond kinetic studies. In(More)
An elementary statistical mechanical model was used to calculate the folding rates for 22 proteins from their known three-dimensional structures. In this model, residues come into contact only after all of the intervening chain is in the native conformation. An additional simplifying assumption is that native structure grows from localized regions that then(More)
Understanding the mechanism of protein secondary structure formation is an essential part of the protein-folding puzzle. Here, we describe a simple statistical mechanical model for the formation of a beta-hairpin, the minimal structural element of the antiparallel beta-pleated sheet. The model accurately describes the thermodynamic and kinetic behavior of a(More)
This review describes how kinetic experiments using techniques with dramatically improved time resolution have contributed to understanding mechanisms in protein folding. Optical triggering with nanosecond laser pulses has made it possible to study the fastest-folding proteins as well as fundamental processes in folding for the first time. These include(More)
Current experimental data show a 9-orders-of-magnitude span in the folding times of proteins. Such a wide range is typically considered a direct consequence of the complexity in structural and sequence patterns of natural proteins. By using a database of 69 proteins and peptides analyzed experimentally, we observe that the folding time scales with the(More)
Theory predicts the existence of barrierless protein folding. Without barriers, folding should be noncooperative and the degree of native structure should be coupled to overall protein stability. We investigated the thermal unfolding of the peripheral subunit binding domain from Escherichia coli's 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase multienzyme complex (termed(More)
Protein folding barriers, which range from zero to the tens of RT that result in classical two-state kinetics, are primarily determined by protein size and structural topology [Plaxco KW, Simons KT, Baker D (1998) J Mol Biol 277:985-994]. Here, we investigate the thermodynamic folding barriers of two relatively large proteins of the same size and topology:(More)
The discovery of beta-sheet structure in Alzheimer's amyloid fibrils, and then in many other disease-related protein fibrils, has led to the widely believed view that beta-sheet formation is the general mechanism of aberrant protein aggregation leading to disease. This notion is further reinforced by recent findings, which indicate that normal proteins can(More)
New experimental methods permit observation of protein folding and unfolding on the previously inaccessible nanosecond-microsecond timescale. These studies are beginning to establish times for the elementary motions in protein folding - secondary structure and loop formation, local hydrophobic collapse, and global collapse to the compact denatured state.(More)
One of the most recurring questions in protein folding refers to the interplay between formation of secondary structure and hydrophobic collapse. In contrast with secondary structure, it is hard to isolate hydrophobic collapse from other folding events. We have directly measured the dynamics of protein hydrophobic collapse in the absence of competing(More)