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Breather-mediated energy transfer in proteins

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  • In this paper we investigate how energy is redistributed across protein structures, following localized kicks, within the framework of a nonlinear network model. We show that energy is directed most of the times to a few specific sites, systematically within the stiffest regions. This effect is sharpened as the energy of the kicks is increased, with fractions of transferred energy as high as 70% already for kicks above $20$ kcal/mol. Remarkably, we show that such site-selective, high-yield transfers mark the spontaneous formation of spatially localized, time-periodic vibrations at the target sites, acting as efficient energy-collecting centers. A comparison of our simulations with a previously developed theory reveals that such energy-pinning modes are discrete breathers, able to carry energy across the structure in an quasi-coherent fashion by jumping from site to site.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 70-XX, 37-XX, 92-XX; Secondary: 70K75, 34C15, 37N25, 92C40.


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