Molecular mechanism of vesicle division induced by coupling between lipid geometry and membrane curvatures†
We investigated the effects of lipid geometry on vesicle division using coarse grained molecular dynamics simulations. When the vesicle is composed of zero and negative spontaneous curvature lipids (ZSLs and NSLs), the difference in their molecular spontaneous curvatures destabilizes the neck of the limiting shape vesicle. In the vesicle division pathway, the neck developed into the stalk intermediates. The stalk was broken when the NSLs were expelled from the stalk. Free energy analysis shows that the coupling between the lipid geometry and the Gaussian rigidity is responsible for the observed vesicle division.