Understanding the dynamic disorder behind a process, i.e., the dynamic effect of fluctuations that occur on a timescale slower or comparable with the timescale of the process, is essential for elucidating the dynamics and kinetics of complicated molecular processes in biomolecules and liquids. Despite numerous theoretical studies of single-molecule kinetics, our microscopic understanding of dynamic disorder remains limited. In the present study, we investigate the microscopic aspects of dynamic disorder in the isomerization dynamics of the Cys14–Cys38 disulfide bond in the protein bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor, which has been observed by nuclear magnetic resonance. We use a theoretical model with a stochastic transition rate coefficient, which is calculated from the 1-ms-long time molecular dynamics trajectory obtained by Shaw et al. [Science 330, 341–346 (2010)]. The isomerization dynamics are expressed by the transitions between coarse-grained states consisting of internal states, i.e., conformational sub-states. In this description, the rate for the transition from the coarse-grained states is stochastically modulated due to fluctuations between internal states. We examine the survival probability for the conformational transitions from a coarse-grained state using a theoretical model, which is a good approximation to the directly calculated survival probability. The dynamic disorder changes from a slow modulation limit to a fast modulation limit depending on the aspects of the coarse-grained states. Our analysis of the rate modulations behind the survival probability, in relation to the fluctuations between internal states, reveals the microscopic origin of dynamic disorder.

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