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Understanding how proteins fold has remained a problem of great interest in biophysical research. Atomistic computer simulations using physics-based force fields can provide important insights on the interplay of different interactions and energetics and their roles in governing the folding thermodynamics and mechanism. In particular, generalized Born (GB)-based implicit solvent force fields can be optimized to provide an appropriate balance between solvation and intramolecular interactions and successfully recapitulate experimental conformational equilibria for a set of helical and β-hairpin peptides. Here, we further demonstrate that key thermodynamic properties and their temperature dependence obtained from replica exchange molecular dynamics simulations of these peptides are in quantitative agreement with experimental results. Useful lessons can be learned on how the interplay of entropy and sequentially long-range interactions governs the mechanism and cooperativity of folding. These results highlight the great potential of high-quality implicit solvent force fields for studying protein folding and large-scale conformational transitions.
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Chen, Jianlin; Liu, Xiaorong; and Chen, Jianhan, "Atomistic Peptide Folding Simulations Reveal Interplay of Entropy and Long-Range Interactions in Folding Cooperativity" (2018). Scientific Reports. 1453.