Communication: a minimal model for the diffusion-relaxation backbone dynamics of proteins.
ABSTRACT We present a model for the local diffusion-relaxation dynamics of the C(α)-atoms in proteins describing both the diffusive short-time dynamics and the asymptotic long-time relaxation of the position autocorrelation functions. The relaxation rate spectra of the latter are represented by shifted gamma distributions, where the standard gamma distribution describes anomalous slow relaxation in macromolecular systems of infinite size and the shift accounts for a smallest local relaxation rate in macromolecules of finite size. The resulting autocorrelation functions are analytic for any time t ≥ 0. Using results from a molecular dynamics simulation of lysozyme, we demonstrate that the model fits the position autocorrelation functions of the C(α)-atoms exceptionally well and reveals moreover a strong correlation between the residue's solvent-accessible surface and the fitted model parameters.