Mechanical properties of biomolecules and their response to mechanical forces may be studied using Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations. However, high computational cost is a primary drawback of MD simulations. This paper presents a computational framework based on the integration of the Finite Element Method (FEM) with MD simulations to calculate the mechanical properties of polyalanine α-helix proteins. In this method, proteins are treated as continuum elastic solids with molecular volume defined exclusively by their atomic surface. Therefore, all solid mechanics theories would be applicable for the presumed elastic media. All-atom normal mode analysis is used to calculate protein’s elastic stiffness as input to the FEM. In addition, constant force molecular dynamics (CFMD) simulations can be used to predict other effective mechanical properties, such as the Poisson’s Ratio. Force versus strain data help elucidate the mechanical behavior of α-helices upon application of constant load. The proposed method may be useful in identifying the mechanical properties of any protein or protein assembly with known atomic structure.
Mechanical Properties of α-Helices Estimated Using Molecular Dynamics and Finite Element Simulations
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Honarmandi, P, Bransford, P, & Kamm, RD. "Mechanical Properties of α-Helices Estimated Using Molecular Dynamics and Finite Element Simulations." Proceedings of the ASME 2008 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Volume 12: Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Fluids. Boston, Massachusetts, USA. October 31–November 6, 2008. pp. 157-163. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2008-69058
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