The Scientific World Journal

The Scientific World Journal / 2003 / Article

Mini-Review Article | Open Access

Volume 3 |Article ID 291690 |

Ivan Y. Torshin, Robert W. Harrison, "Protein Folding: Search for Basic Physical Models", The Scientific World Journal, vol. 3, Article ID 291690, 13 pages, 2003.

Protein Folding: Search for Basic Physical Models

Academic Editor: Antonio Scarpa


How a unique three-dimensional structure is rapidly formed from the linear sequence of a polypeptide is one of the important questions in contemporary science. Apart from biological context of in vivo protein folding (which has been studied only for a few proteins), the roles of the fundamental physical forces in the in vitro folding remain largely unstudied. Despite a degree of success in using descriptions based on statistical and/or thermodynamic approaches, few of the current models explicitly include more basic physical forces (such as electrostatics and Van Der Waals forces). Moreover, the present-day models rarely take into account that the protein folding is, essentially, a rapid process that produces a highly specific architecture. This review considers several physical models that may provide more direct links between sequence and tertiary structure in terms of the physical forces. In particular, elaboration of such simple models is likely to produce extremely effective computational techniques with value for modern genomics.

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