Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 1199–1210

Complexity of protein folding

  • Aviezri S. Fraenkel

DOI: 10.1007/BF02460704

Cite this article as:
Fraenkel, A.S. Bltn Mathcal Biology (1993) 55: 1199. doi:10.1007/BF02460704


It is believed that the native folded three-dimensional conformation of a protein is its lowest free energy state, or one of its lowest. It is shown here that both a two-and three-dimensional mathematical model describing the folding process as a free energy minimization problems is NP-hard. This means that the problem belongs to a large set of computational problems, assumed to be very hard (“conditionally intractable”). Some of the possible ramifications of this results are speculated upon.

Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aviezri S. Fraenkel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer ScienceThe Weizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

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