Elastically coupled two-level systems as a model for biopolymer extensibility

Matthias Rief, Julio M. Fernandez, Hermann E. Gaub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

428 Scopus citations


We present Monte Carlo simulations for the elasticity of biopolymers consisting of segments that can undergo conformational transitions. Based on the thermodynamics of an elastically coupled two-level system, the probability for a transition and a related change in length of each segment was calculated. Good agreement between this model description and measured data was found for both the polysaccharide dextran where the conformational changes are fast and the muscle protein titin where the marked rate dependence of the transition forces could be explained by nonequilibrium processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4764-4767
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Elastically coupled two-level systems as a model for biopolymer extensibility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this