Solution of levinthal’s paradox and a physical theory of protein folding times

Dmitry N. Ivankov, Alexei V. Finkelstein

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    “How do proteins fold?” Researchers have been studying different aspects of this question for more than 50 years. The most conceptual aspect of the problem is how protein can find the global free energy minimum in a biologically reasonable time, without exhaustive enumeration of all possible conformations, the so-called “Levinthal’s paradox.” Less conceptual but still critical are aspects about factors defining folding times of particular proteins and about perspectives of machine learning for their prediction. We will discuss in this review the key ideas and discoveries leading to the current understanding of folding kinetics, including the solution of Levinthal’s paradox, as well as the current state of the art in the prediction of protein folding times.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number250
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


    • Detailed balance principle
    • Folding funnel
    • Free energy barrier
    • Levinthal’s paradox
    • Protein folding
    • “all-or-none” transition


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