Two classes of λ6-85 mutants (those richer in alanine, and those richer in glycine) have very similar slopes in an Arrhenius plot of the unfolding rates but very different temperature dependencies of the folding rates. Temperature-dependent interactions (e.g., hydrophobicity) play a large role in the initial stages of folding but not in the initial stages of unfolding of λ6-85. Placement of the transition state in terms of its surface exposure and entropy shows that at least two reaction coordinates are required to describe folding of all mutants over the full temperature range. The unusual Arrhenius plots of the very fastest mutant provide an additional kinetic signature for downhill folding.
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