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Issue 13, 2019
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Scaling of lipid membrane rigidity with domain area fraction

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Biological membranes are highly heterogeneous in composition which in turn leads to local variations in the physical properties. Here we quantify how heterogeneity in stiffness determines the effective bending modulus, κeff, of model phase-separated membranes with coexisting soft fluid and rigid gel domains. We find that the temperature- and composition- dependent trends in membrane rigidity collapse onto a single curve, such that κeff directly scales with the area fraction of the rigid gel domains. Using no adjustable parameters, the measurements are found to agree with theoretical predictions for inhomogenous membranes and indicate that κeff is sensitive to the lateral distribution of the rigid phase within the membrane. This key finding confirms that the properties of heterogeneous membranes can be quantitatively predicted if the area fraction and properties of the individual phases are known.

Graphical abstract: Scaling of lipid membrane rigidity with domain area fraction

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Nov 2018, accepted on 09 Feb 2019 and first published on 21 Feb 2019

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02362J
Soft Matter, 2019,15, 2762-2767

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    Scaling of lipid membrane rigidity with domain area fraction

    E. G. Kelley, P. D. Butler and M. Nagao, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 2762
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02362J

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