The multidimensional potential energy surfaces of the peptide chains consisting of three and six alanine (Ala) residues have been studied with respect to the degrees of freedom related to the twist of these molecules relative to the peptide backbone (these degrees of freedom are responsible for the folding of such peptide molecules and proteins). The potential energy surfaces have been calculated ab initio within the framework of the density functional theory taking into account all electrons in the system. The probabilities of transitions between various stable conformations of polypeptide molecules are evaluated. The results are compared to the data obtained by molecular dynamics simulations and to the available experimental data. The influence of the secondary structure of the polypeptide chain on its conformational properties with respect to rotations has been studied. It is shown that, in a chain of six amino acid (Ala) residues, the secondary structure type (helix or sheet conformation) influences the stable isomer states of the polypeptide.
Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics, 2006, Vol 102, p. 314-326