Tensile mechanics of α-helical polypeptides

Korosh Torabi*, George C Schatz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We have developed a statistical mechanical model of the force-extension behavior of α-helical polypeptides, by coupling a random-coil polypeptide elastic model of an inhomogeneous partially freely rotating chain, with the latest version of the helix-coil transition model AGADIR. The model is capable of making quantitatively accurate predictions of force-extension behavior of a given polypeptide sequence including its dependence on pH, temperature and ionic strength. This makes the model a valuable tool for single-molecule protein unfolding experimental studies. Our model predicts the highly reversible unraveling of α-helical structures at small forces of about 20 pN, in good agreement with recent experimental studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7947-7956
Number of pages10
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 8 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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