Modulated and spiral surface patterns on deformable lipid vesicles

Some of the possible domain shapes of phase-separated bilayer vesicles
Luo, Y.; Maibaum, L. Modulated and spiral surface patterns on deformable lipid vesicles. J. Chem. Phys. 2020, 153, 144901

We investigate the behavior of two-dimensional systems that exhibit a transition between homogeneous and spatially inhomogeneous phases, which have spherical topology, and whose mechanical properties depend on the local value of the order parameter. One example of such a system is multicomponent lipid bilayer vesicles, which serve as a model to study cellular membranes. Under certain conditions, such bilayers separate into coexisting liquid-ordered and liquid-disordered regions. When arranged into the shape of small vesicles, this phase coexistence can result in spatial patterns that are more complex than the basic two-domain configuration encountered in typical bulk systems. The difference in bending rigidity between the liquid-ordered and liquid-disordered regions couples the shape of the vesicle to the local composition. We show that this interplay gives rise to a rich phase diagram that includes homogeneous, separated, and axisymmetric modulated phases that are divided by regions of spiral patterns in the surface morphology.

Status of Research
Research Type