Author(s): Dinner AR, Sali A, Smith LJ, Dobson CM, Karplus M
Abstract The ability of protein molecules to fold into their highly structured functional states is one of the most remarkable evolutionary achievements of biology. In recent years, our understanding of the way in which this complex self-assembly process takes place has increased dramatically. Much of the reason for this advance has been the development of energy surfaces (landscapes), which allow the folding reaction to be described and visualized in a meaningful manner. Analysis of these surfaces, derived from the constructive interplay between theory and experiment, has led to the development of a unified mechanism for folding and a recognition of the underlying factors that control the rates and products of the folding process.