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Self-assembly dynamics for the transition of a globular aggregate to a fibril network of lysozyme proteins via a coarse-grained Monte Carlo simulation
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The self-organizing dynamics of lysozymes (an amyloid protein with 148 residues) with different numbers of protein chains, Nc = 1,5,10, and 15 (concentration 0.004 – 0.063) is studied by a coarse-grained Monte Carlo simulation with knowledge-based residue-residue interactions. The dynamics of an isolated lysozyme (Nc = 1) is ultra-slow (quasi-static) at low temperatures and becomes diffusive asymptotically on raising the temperature. In contrast, the presence of interacting proteins leads to concentration induced protein diffusion at low temperatures and concentration-tempering sub-diffusion at high temperatures. Variation of the radius of gyration of the protein with temperature shows a systematic transition from a globular structure (at low T) to a random coil (high T) conformation when the proteins are isolated. The crossover from globular to random coil becomes sharper upon increasing the protein concentration (i.e. with Nc = 5,10), with larger Rg
at higher temperatures and concentration; Rg
becomes smaller on adding more protein chains (e.g. Nc = 15) a non-monotonic response to protein concentration. Analysis of the structure factor (S(q)) provides an estimate of the effective dimension (D ≥ 3, globular conformation at low temperature, and D ∼ 1.7, random coil, at high temperatures) of the isolated protein. With many interacting proteins, the morphology of the self-assembly varies with scale, i.e. at the low temperature (T = 0.015), D ∼ 2.9 on the scale comparable to the radius of gyration of the protein, and D ∼ 2.3 at the large scale over the entire sample. The global network of fibrils appears at high temperature (T = 0.021) with D ∼ 1.7 (i.e. a random coil morphology at large scale) involving tenuous distribution of micro-globules (at small scales).
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