We are delighted to announce the publication of this paper, in the journal Nature Communications.


Protein conformational changes are at the heart of cell functions, from signalling to ion transport. However, the transient nature of the intermediates along transition pathways hampers their experimental detection, making the underlying mechanisms elusive. Here we retrieve dynamic information on the actual transition routes from principal component analysis (PCA) of structurally-rich ensembles and, in combination with coarse-grained simulations, explore the conformational landscapes of five well-studied proteins. Modelling them as elastic networks in a hybrid elastic-network Brownian dynamics simulation (eBDIMS), we generate trajectories connecting stable end-states that spontaneously sample the crystallographic motions, predicting the structures of known intermediates along the paths. We also show that the explored non-linear routes can delimit the lowest energy passages between end-states sampled by atomistic molecular dynamics. The integrative methodology presented here provides a powerful framework to extract and expand dynamic pathway information from the Protein Data Bank, as well as to validate sampling methods in general.


  • Laura Orellana
  • Ozge Yoluk
  • Oliver Carrillo
  • Modesto Orozco
  • Erik Lindahl


Laura Orellana, Ozge Yoluk, Oliver Carrillo, Modesto Orozco, Erik Lindahl. Prediction and validation of protein intermediate states from structurally rich ensembles and coarse-grained simulations. Nature Communications 7, Article number: 12575 (2016) doi:10.1038/ncomms12575

Link to full paper