We demonstrate that chain length is the main determinant of the folding rate for proteins with the three-state folding kinetics. The logarithm of their folding rate in water (k(f)) strongly anticorrelates with their chain length L (the correlation coefficient being -0.80). At the same time, the chain length has no correlation with the folding rate for two-state folding proteins (the correlation coefficient is -0.07). Another significant difference of these two groups of proteins is a strong anticorrelation between the folding rate and Baker's "relative contact order" for the two-state folders and the complete absence of such correlation for the three-state folders.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.