Europhys. Lett.
Volume 71, Number 1, July 2005
Page(s) 145 - 151
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 25 May 2005
Europhys. Lett., 71 (1), pp. 145-151 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10528-3

Self-assembly of linear aggregates on curved membranes

K. Bohinc1, 2, A. Iglic1 and S. May3

1  Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana Trzaska 25, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2  University College for Health Care, University of Ljubljana Poljanska 26a, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
3  Department of Physics, North Dakota State University Fargo, ND 58105-5566, USA

received 22 November 2004; accepted in final form 27 April 2005
published online 25 May 2005

Recent experiments evidence the strong influence that linear aggregation of beta-sheet peptides can have on the conformation and stability of lipid membranes. We have therefore studied in the dilute limit the self-assembly of one-dimensional aggregates bound to a fluid-like membrane of prescribed curvatures. Each aggregate is characterized by its persistence length and an interaction potential with the membrane. For strong adsorption of flexible aggregates the bending stiffness of the composite membrane grows linearly with the total concentration of aggregate-forming units. For weak adsorption of rigid aggregates the dependence is cubic for which we show -based on a hydrophobic matching hypothesis- that the aggregates can significantly contribute to or even dominate the bending stiffness. We also show how the membrane curvature affects the orientational and size distribution of the aggregates.

87.16.Dg - Membranes, bilayers, and vesicles.
81.16.Dn - Self-assembly.
82.35.Pq - Biopolymers, biopolymerization.

© EDP Sciences 2005