Slow normal modes of proteins are accurately reproduced across different platforms

Hyuntae Na, Daniel Ben-Avraham, Monique M. Tirion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The Protein data bank (PDB) (Berman et al 2000 Nucl. Acids Res. 28 235-42) contains the atomic structures of over 105 biomolecules with better than 2.8 Å resolution. The listing of the identities and coordinates of the atoms comprising each macromolecule permits an analysis of the slow-time vibrational response of these large systems to minor perturbations. 3D video animations of individual modes of oscillation demonstrate how regions interdigitate to create cohesive collective motions, providing a comprehensive framework for and familiarity with the overall 3D architecture. Furthermore, the isolation and representation of the softest, slowest deformation coordinates provide opportunities for the development of mechanical models of enzyme function. The eigenvector decomposition, therefore, must be accurate, reliable as well as rapid to be generally reported upon. We obtain the eigenmodes of a 1.2 Å 34 kDa PDB entry using either exclusively heavy atoms or partly or fully reduced atomic sets; Cartesian or internal coordinates; interatomic force fields derived either from a full Cartesian potential, a reduced atomic potential or a Gaussian distance-dependent potential; and independently developed software. These varied technologies are similar in that each maintains proper stereochemistry either by use of dihedral degrees of freedom which freezes bond lengths and bond angles, or by use of a full atomic potential that includes realistic bond length and angle restraints. We find that the shapes of the slowest eigenvectors are nearly identical, not merely similar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016003
JournalPhysical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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