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Physics  1997 

Thermodynamic stability of folded proteins against mutations

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.79.3530

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Abstract:

By balancing the average energy gap with its typical change due to mutations for protein-like heteropolymers with M residues, we show that native states are unstable to mutations on a scale M* ~ (lambda/sigma_mu)^(1/zeta_s), where lambda is the dispersion in the interaction free energies and sigma_mu their typical change. Theoretical bounds and numerical estimates (based on complete enumeration on four lattices) of the instability exponent zeta_s are given. Our analysis suggests that a limiting size of single-domain proteins should exist, and leads to the prediction that small proteins are insensitive to random mutations.

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