A model for the accidental catalysis of protein unfolding in vivoR. P. Sear
Department of Physics, University of Surrey - Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
received 13 May 2004; accepted in final form 28 September 2004
published online 20 October 2004
Activated processes such as protein unfolding are highly sensitive to heterogeneity in the environment. We study a highly simplified model of a protein in a random heterogeneous environment, a model of the in vivo environment. It is found that if the heterogeneity is sufficiently large, the total rate of the process is essentially a random variable; this may be the cause of the species-to-species variability in the rate of prion protein conversion found by Deleault et al. (Nature 425 (2003) 717).
87.15.Nn - Properties of solutions; aggregation and crystallization of macromolecules.
87.14.Ee - Proteins.
87.15.He - Dynamics and conformational changes.
© EDP Sciences 2004