Quantitative Biology

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 143–158 | Cite as

Quantum conformational transition in biological macromolecule

  • Liaofu Luo
  • Jun Lv



Recently we proposed a quantum theory on the conformational change of biomolecule, deduced several equations on protein folding rate from the first principles and discussed the experimental tests of the theory. The article is a review of these works.


Based on the general equation of the conformation-transitional rate several theoretical results are deduced and compared with experimental data through bioinformatics methods.


The temperature dependence and the denaturant concentration dependence of the protein folding rate are deduced and compared with experimental data. The quantitative relation between protein folding rate and torsional mode number (or chain length) is deduced and the obtained formula can be applied to RNA folding as well. The quantum transition theory of two-state protein is successfully generalized to multi-state protein folding. Then, how to make direct experimental tests on the quantum property of the conformational transition of biomolecule is discussed, which includes the study of protein photo-folding and the observation of the fluctuation of the fluorescence intensity emitted from the protein folding/unfolding event. Finally, the potential applications of the present quantum folding theory to molecular biological problems are sketched in two examples: the glucose transport across membrane and the induced pluripotency in stem cell.


The above results show that the quantum mechanics provides a unifying and logically simple theoretical starting point in studying the conformational change of biological macromolecules. The far-reaching results in practical application of the theory are expected.


conformational change quantum transition protein folding RNA folding temperature dependence 



Authors are indebted to Drs. Zhao Judong, Zhang Ying and Zhang Lirong for their numerous discussions and Dr. Bao Yulai for his help in literature searching. The work is partly supported by the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Natural Science Foundation (Nos. 2015MS0331 and 2016MS0306).

Supplementary material

40484_2016_87_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (817 kb)
Quantum conformational transition in biological macromolecule


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Physical Science and TechnologyInner Mongolia UniversityHohhotChina
  2. 2.Center for Physics Experiment, College of ScienceInner Mongolia University of TechnologyHohhotChina

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