Understanding the physical mechanisms behind the folding and conformational dynamics of biomolecules is one of the major unsolved challenges of soft matter theory. In this contribution, a theoretical framework for biomolecular dynamics is introduced, employing selected aspects of statistical mechanics, dimensionality reduction, the perturbation theory, and the theory of matrices. Biomolecular dynamics is represented by time-dependent orthogonal conformational modes, the dynamics of the modes is investigated, and invariant properties that persist are identified. As an example, the dynamics of a human prion protein is considered. The theory provides a rigorous background for assessing the stable dynamical properties of biomolecules, such as their coarse-grained structure, through a multiscale approach using short subnanosecond segments of molecular dynamics trajectories. Furthermore, the paper offers a theoretical platform for models of conformational changes in macromolecules, which may allow complementing molecular dynamics simulations.
- Received 27 December 2010
©2012 American Physical Society