The importance of collective motions in proteins, such as hinge-bending motions or motions involving domains, has been recognized. Occurrence of such motions and their experimental and theoretical studies are reviewed. Normal-mode analysis and principal component analysis are powerful theoretical tools for studying such motions. The former is based on the assumption of harmonicity of the dynamics, while the latter is valid even when the dynamics is highly anharmonic. The results of the latter analysis indicate that most important conformational events are taking place in a conformational subspace spanned by a rather small number of principal modes, and this important subspace is also spanned by a small number of normal modes. The normal-mode refinement method of protein X-ray crystallography, which is developed based on the concept of the above important subspace, is discussed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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