It is important to extract reaction coordinates or order parameters from protein simulations in order to investigate the local minimum-energy states and the transitions between them. The most popular method to obtain such data is principal component analysis, which extracts modes of large conformational fluctuations around an average structure. We recently applied relaxation mode analysis for protein systems, which approximately estimates the slow relaxation modes and times from a simulation and enables investigations of the dynamic properties underlying the structural fluctuations of proteins. In this study, we apply this relaxation mode analysis to extract reaction coordinates for a system in which there are large conformational changes such as those commonly observed in protein folding/unfolding. We performed a 750-ns simulation of chignolin protein near its folding transition temperature and observed many transitions between the most stable, misfolded, intermediate, and unfolded states. We then applied principal component analysis and relaxation mode analysis to the system. In the relaxation mode analysis, we could automatically extract good reaction coordinates. The free-energy surfaces provide a clearer understanding of the transitions not only between local minimum-energy states but also between the folded and unfolded states, even though the simulation involved large conformational changes. Moreover, we propose a new analysis method called Markov state relaxation mode analysis. We applied the new method to states with slow relaxation, which are defined by the free-energy surface obtained in the relaxation mode analysis. Finally, the relaxation times of the states obtained with a simple Markov state model and the proposed Markov state relaxation mode analysis are compared and discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry