Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Bayesian estimates of free energies from nonequilibrium work data in the presence of instrument noise

By Paul Maragakis, Felix Ritort, Carlos Bustamante, Martin Karplus and Gavin E. Crooks


The Jarzynski equality and the fluctuation theorem relate equilibrium free energy differences to nonequilibrium measurements of the work. These relations extend to single-molecule experiments that have probed the finite-time thermodynamics of proteins and nucleic acids. The effects of experimental error and instrument noise have not been considered previously. Here, we present a Bayesian formalism for estimating free energy changes from nonequilibrium work measurements that compensates for instrument noise and combines data from multiple driving protocols. We reanalyze a recent set of experiments in which a single RNA hairpin is unfolded and refolded using optical tweezers at three different rates. Interestingly, the fastest and farthest-from-equilibrium measurements contain the least instrumental noise and, therefore, provide a more accurate estimate of the free energies than a few slow, more noisy, near-equilibrium measurements. The methods we propose here will extend the scope of single-molecule experiments; they can be used in the analysis of data from measurements with atomic force microscopy, optical, and magnetic tweezers

Topics: Theoretical Methods and Algorithms
Publisher: American Institute of Physics
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.