The atomic model of F-actin was refined against fiber diffraction data using long-range normal modes as adjustable parameters to account for the collective long-range filamentous deformations. To determine the effect of long-range deformations on the refinement, each of the four domains of G-actin was treated as a rigid body. It was found that among all modes, the bending modes make the most significant contributions to the improvement of the refinement. Inclusion of only 7-9 bending modes as adjustable parameters yielded a lowest R-factor of 6.3%. These results demonstrate that employing normal modes as refinement parameters has the advantage of using a small number of adjustable parameters to achieve a good fitting efficiency. Such a refinement procedure may therefore prevent the refinement from overfitting the structural model. More importantly, the results of this study demonstrate that, for any fiber diffraction data, a substantial amount of refinement error is due to long-range deformations, especially the bending, of the filaments. The effects of these intrinsic deformations cannot be easily compensated for by adjusting local structural parameters, and must be properly accounted for in the refinement to achieve improved fit of refined models with experimental diffraction data.
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