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Chapter 10 Mechanics of lipid membranes and interaction between inclusions

DOI: 10.1016/s1383-7303(01)80051-x
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics


Publisher Summary This chapter discusses the mechanics of lipid membranes and interaction between inclusions. A bilayer lipid membrane cannot be simply modeled as a thin liquid film because the hydrocarbon-chain interior of the membrane exhibits elastic behavior when its thickness is varied. The hybrid mechanical behavior of a lipid bilayer (neither liquid nor bulk elastic body) is described by means of a mechanical model that treats the membrane as a special elastic film (the hydrocarbon chain interior) sandwiched between two Gibbs dividing surfaces (the surface polar-headgroup layers of the membrane). A mechanical analysis of the bilayer deformations enables to derive expressions for the total stretching, bending and torsion (Gaussian) moduli of the membrane as a whole in terms of the aforementioned mechanical parameters of the model. Inclusions in a lipid membrane (like membrane proteins) cause deformations in the bilayer surfaces accompanied by displacements in the membrane hydrocarbon interior. The presented mechanical model provides a set of differential equations that have both monotonic and oscillatory solutions for the membrane profile. The mechanical model of lipid membranes presented is helpful for the theoretical description and interpretation of various processes involving bilayer deformations and interactions between protein inclusions.

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