Mechanical unfolding of polyproteins by force spectroscopy provides valuable insight into their free energy landscapes. Most experiments of the unfolding process have been fit to two-state and/or one dimensional models, with the details of the protein and its dynamics often subsumed into a zero-force unfolding rate and a distance x(u)(1D) to the transition state. We consider the entire phase space of a model protein under a constant force, and show that x(u)(1D) contains a sizeable contribution from exploring the full multidimensional energy landscape. This effect is greater for proteins with many degrees of freedom that are affected by force; and surprisingly, we predict that externally attached flexible linkers also contribute to the measured unfolding characteristics
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