The coil to globule transition of the polypeptide chain is the physical phenomenon behind the folding of globular proteins. Globular proteins with a single domain usually consist of about 30 to 100 amino acid residues, and this finite size extends the transition interval of the coil-globule phase transition. Based on the pedantic derivation of the two-state model, we introduce the number of amino acid residues of a polypeptide chain as a parameter in the expressions for two cooperativity measures and reveal their physical significance. We conclude that the
measure, defined as the ratio of van ’t Hoff and calorimetric enthalpy is related to the degeneracy of the denatured state and describes the number of cooperative units involved in the transition; additionally, it is found that the widely discussed
is just the necessary condition to classify the protein as the two-state folder. We also find that
, a quantity not limited from above and growing with system size, is simply proportional to the square of the transition interval. This fact allows us to perform the classical size scaling analysis of the coil-globule phase transition. Moreover, these two measures are shown to describe different characteristics of protein folding.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited