A Lennard-Jones-like perspective on first order transitions in biological helices

Nikolay N. Oskolkov, Jakob Bohr

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    Helical structures with Lennard-Jones self-interactions are studied for optimal conformations. For this purpose, their self-energy is analyzed for extrema with respect to the geometric parameters of the helices. It is found that Lennard-Jones helices exhibit a first order phase transition from a state with large curvature of the helical backbone to one with a small curvature. I.e. from a dense helix to an extended helix. A transition from one helical structure to another is a phenomenon known to take place in self-assembling helices formed in multicomponent solutions with cholesterol.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCentral European Journal of Physics
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)357-362
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Cholesterol
    • Denaturation
    • Helix
    • Phase transition

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