The Glass-like Structure of Globular Proteins and the Boson Peak

Stefano Ciliberti 1, Paolo De Los Rios 2, Francesco Piazza 2

Physical Review Letters 96 (2006) 198103

Vibrational spectra of proteins and topologically disordered solids display a common anomaly at low frequencies, known as Boson peak. We show that such feature in globular proteins can be deciphered in terms of an energy landscape picture, as it is for glassy systems. Exploiting the tools of Euclidean random matrix theory, we clarify the physical origin of such anomaly in terms of a mechanical instability of the system. As a natural explanation, we argue that such instability is relevant for proteins in order for their molecular functions to be optimally rooted in their structures.

  • 1. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud
  • 2. Laboratoire de Biophysique Statistique-ITP,
    EPFL