Protein folding and evolution are driven by the Maxwell demon activity of proteins

Acta Biotheoretica 52 (3) (2004)
In this paper we propose a theoretical model of protein folding and protein evolution in which a polypeptide (sequence/structure) is assumed to behave as a Maxwell Demon or Information Gathering and Using System (IGUS) that performs measurements aiming at the construction of the native structure. Our model proposes that a physical meaning to Shannon information (H) and Chaitin's algorithmic information (K) parameters can be both defined and referred from the IGUS standpoint. Our hypothesis accounts for the interdependence of protein folding and protein evolution through mutual influencing relationships mediated by the IGUS. In brief, IGUS activity in protein folding determines long term tendencies that emerge at the evolutionary time-scale.Thus, protein evolution is a consequence of measurements executed by proteins at the cellular level, where the IGUS imposes a tendency to attain a highly unique stable native form that promotes the updating of the information content. The folding kinetics observed is, thus, the outcome of an evolutionary process where the polypeptide-IGUS drives the evolution of its linear sequence. Finally, we describe protein evolution as an entropic process that tends to increase the content of mutual algorithmic information between the sequence and the structure. This model enables one: 1. To comprehend that full determination of the three-dimensional structure by the linear sequence is a tendency where satisfaction is only possible at thermodynamic equilibrium .2. To account for the observed randomness of the amino acid sequences. 3. To predict an alternation of periods of selection and neutral diffusion during protein evolutionary time
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