Sequence- and Temperature-Dependent Properties of Unfolded and Disordered Proteins from Atomistic Simulations. Academic Article uri icon


  • We use all-atom molecular simulation with explicit solvent to study the properties of selected intrinsically disordered proteins and unfolded states of foldable proteins, which include chain dimensions and shape, secondary structure propensity, solvent accessible surface area, and contact formation. We find that the qualitative scaling behavior of the chains matches expectations from theory under ambient conditions. In particular, unfolded globular proteins tend to be more collapsed under the same conditions than charged disordered sequences of the same length. However, inclusion of explicit solvent in addition naturally captures temperature-dependent solvation effects, which results in an initial collapse of the chains as temperature is increased, in qualitative agreement with experiment. There is a universal origin to the collapse, revealed in the change of hydration of individual residues as a function of temperature: namely, that the initial collapse is driven by unfavorable solvation free energy of individual residues, which in turn has a strong temperature dependence. We also observe that in unfolded globular proteins, increased temperature also initially favors formation of native-like (rather than non-native-like) structure. Our results help to establish how sequence encodes the degree of intrinsic disorder or order as well as its response to changes in environmental conditions.

published proceedings

  • J Phys Chem B

author list (cited authors)

  • Zerze, G. H., Best, R. B., & Mittal, J.

citation count

  • 55

complete list of authors

  • Zerze, Gül H||Best, Robert B||Mittal, Jeetain

publication date

  • November 2015