PerspectiveSTATISTICAL THERMODYNAMICS

Taking a Walk on a Landscape

Science  27 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5530, pp. 612-613
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062559
The free energy landscape for protein folding.

Folding occurs through the progressive organization of ensembles of structures [shown here for the src-SH3 domain (left)] on a funnel-shaped free energy landscape (right). Conformational entropy loss during folding is compensated by the free energy gained as more native interactions are formed. Kinetics is determined by the local roughness of the landscape, relative to thermal energy. Key interactions in early folding (dashed circle) coincide, for this protein, with experimentally determined regions.

CREDIT: C. CLEMENTI AND G. BAMBERG