Simplified lattice model for polypeptide fibrillar transitions

Xuhui Xiao, Ming Chya Wu

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3 Scopus citations


Polypeptide fibrillar transitions are studied using a simplified lattice model, modified from the three-state Potts model, where uniform residues as spins, placed on a cubic lattice, can interact with neighbors to form coil, helical, sheet, or fibrillar structure. Using the transfer matrix method and numerical calculations, we analyzed the partition function and construct phase diagrams. The model manifests phase transitions among coil, helix, sheet, and fibril through parameterizing bond coupling energy h,s,f, structural entropies sh,ss,sf of helical, sheet, and fibrillar states, and number density ρ. The phase diagrams show the transition sequence is basically governed by h, s, and f, while the transition temperature is determined by the competition among h, s, and f, as well as sh, ss, sf, and ρ. Furthermore, the fibrillation is accompanied with an abrupt phase transition from coil, helix, or sheet to fibril even for short polypeptide length, resembling the feature of nucleation-growth process. The finite-size effect in specific heat at transitions for the nonfibrillation case can be described by the scaling form of lattice model. With rich phase-transition properties, our model provides a useful reference for protein aggregation experiments and modeling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number042701
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2014


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