Asymptotic strength limit of hydrogen bond assemblies in proteins at vanishing pulling rates

Sinan Keten, Markus J. Buehler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Experimental and computational studies on mechanical unfolding of proteins suggest that rupture forces approach a limiting value of a few hundred pN at vanishing pulling velocities. We develop a fracture mechanics based theoretical framework that considers the free energy competition between entropic elasticity of polypeptide chains and rupture of peptide hydrogen bonds, which we use here to provide an explanation for the intrinsic strength limit of proteins. Our analysis predicts that individual protein domains stabilized by hydrogen bonds can not exhibit rupture forces larger than ≈ 200 pN, regardless of the presence of a large number of hydrogen bonds. This result explains a wide range of experimental and computational observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSociety for Experimental Mechanics - 11th International Congress and Exhibition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics 2008
Pages433-438
Number of pages6
Volume1
StatePublished - Dec 23 2008
Event11th International Congress and Exhibition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics 2008 - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Jun 2 2008Jun 5 2008

Other

Other11th International Congress and Exhibition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics 2008
CountryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL
Period6/2/086/5/08

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials

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