Quanta of local conformational change: conformons in α-helical proteins
New Journal of Physics Vol. 12, Nº 055003, pp. NA - NA, May, 2010.
ISSN (print): 1367-2630
Journal Impact Factor: 3,558 (in 2014)
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1088/1367-2630/12/5/055003
We propose the conformon as a quantum of local conformational change for energy transfer in α-helical proteins. The underlying mechanism of interaction between the quantum of excitation and the conformational degrees of freedom is nonlinear and leads to solitary wave packets of conformational energy. The phenomenon is specific to α-helices and not to β-sheets in proteins due to the three strands of hydrogen bonds constituting the α-helical backbone.