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Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 098103 (2005)

ISSN: 0031-9007, SCI

Form of growing strings

D. Marenduzzo, T. X. Hoang, F. Seno, M. Vendruscolo and A. Maritan

Patterns and forms adopted by nature are often the results of simple dynamical paradigms. Here we show that a growing self-interacting string attached to a tracking origin, modeled to resemble nascent polypeptides in vivo, develops helical structures which are more pronounced at the growing end. We also show that the dynamic growth ensemble shares several features of an equilibrium ensemble in which the growing end of the polymer is under an effective stretching force. A statistical analysis of native states of proteins shows that the signature of this nonequilibrium phenomenon has been fixed by evolution at the C terminus, the growing end of a nascent protein. These findings suggest how evolution may have built on the properties of a generic nonequilibrium growth process in favoring helical structures in nascent chains.


DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.95.098103

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