Analytical methods for structural ensembles and dynamics of intrinsically disordered proteins

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Intrinsically disordered proteins, proteins that do not have a well-defined three-dimensional structure, make up a significant proportion of our proteome and are particularly prevalent in signaling and regulation. Although their importance has been realized for two decades, there is a lack of high-resolution experimental data. Molecular dynamics simulations have been crucial in reaching our current understanding of the dynamical structural ensemble sampled by intrinsically disordered proteins. In this review, we discuss enhanced sampling simulation methods that are particularly suitable to characterize the structural ensemble, along with examples of applications and limitations. The dynamics within the ensemble can be rigorously analyzed using Markov state models. We discuss recent developments that make Markov state modeling a viable approach for studying intrinsically disordered proteins. Finally, we briefly discuss challenges and future directions when applying molecular dynamics simulations to study intrinsically disordered proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-439
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical Reviews
Issue number4
Early online date22 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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