We present a dynamic coarse-graining technique that allows one to simulate the mechanical unfolding of biomolecules or molecular complexes on experimentally relevant time scales. It is based on Markov state models (MSMs), which we construct from molecular dynamics simulations using the pulling coordinate as an order parameter. We obtain a sequence of MSMs as a function of the discretized pulling coordinate, and the pulling process is modeled by switching among the MSMs according to the protocol applied to unfold the complex. This way we cover seven orders of magnitude in pulling speed. In the region of rapid pulling, we additionally perform steered molecular dynamics simulations and find excellent agreement between the results of the fully atomistic and the dynamically coarse-grained simulations. Our technique allows the determination of the rates of mechanical unfolding in a dynamical range from approximately 10−8/ns to 1/ns thus reaching experimentally accessible time regimes without abandoning atomistic resolution.

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