A solvable model of secondary structure formation in random hetero-polymers

N. S. Skantzos*, J. Van Mourik, A. C.C. Coolen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose and solve a simple model describing secondary structure formation in random hetero-polymers. It describes monomers with a combination of one-dimensional short-range interactions (representing steric forces and hydrogen bonds) and infinite-range interactions (representing polarity forces). We solve our model using a combination of mean-field and random-field techniques, leading to phase diagrams exhibiting second-order transitions between folded, partially folded and unfolded states, including regions where folding depends on initial conditions. Our theoretical results, which are in excellent agreement with numerical simulations, lead to an appealing physical picture of the folding process: the polarity forces drive the transition to a collapsed state, the steric forces introduce monomer specificity and the hydrogen bonds stabilize the conformation by damping the frustration-induced multiplicity of states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4437-4457
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and General
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2001


Dive into the research topics of 'A solvable model of secondary structure formation in random hetero-polymers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this