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Nanomechanical sonification of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus spike protein through a materiomusical approach
Markus J Buehler.
Acceso Abierto
Proteins are key building blocks of virtually all life, providing the material foundation of spider silk, cells, and hair, but also offering other functions from enzymes to drugs, and pathogens like viruses. Based on a nanomechanical analysis of the structure and motions of atoms and molecules at multiple scales, we report sonified versions of the coronavirus spike protein of the pathogen of COVID-19, 2019-nCoV. The audio signal, created using a novel nanomechanical sonification method, features an overlay of the vibrational signatures of the protein's primary, secondary and higher-order structures. Presenting musical encoding in two versions - one in the amino-acid scale and one based on equal temperament tuning - the method allows for expressing protein structures in audible space, offering novel avenues to represent, analyze and design architectural features across length- and time-scales. We further report a hierarchical frequency spectrum analysis of five distinct protein structures, which offer insights into how genetic mutations, and the binding of the virus spike protein to the human ACE2 cell receptor directly influence the audio. Applications of the approach may include the development of de novo antibodies by designing protein sequences that match, through melodic counterpoints, the binding sites in the spike protein. Other applications of audible coding of matter include material design by manipulating sound, detecting mutations, and offering a way to reach out to broader communities to explain the physics of proteins. It also forms a physics-based compositional technique to create new art, referred to as materiomusic, which is akin to finding a new palette of colors for a painter. Here, the nanomechanical structure of matter, reflected in an oscillatory framework, presents a new palette for sound generation, and can complement or support human creativity.
Appears in Collections:Artículos científicos

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