Pointlike Inclusion Interactions in Tubular Membranes

Afshin Vahid Belarghou, Timon Idema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Membrane tubes and tubular networks are ubiquitous in living cells. Inclusions like proteins are vital for both the stability and the dynamics of such networks. These inclusions interact via the curvature deformations they impose on the membrane. We analytically study the resulting membrane mediated interactions in strongly curved tubular membranes. We model inclusions as constraints coupled to the curvature tensor of the membrane tube. First, as special test cases, we analyze the interaction between ring- and rod-shaped inclusions. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we further show how pointlike inclusions interact to form linear aggregates. To minimize the curvature energy of the membrane, inclusions self-assemble into either line- or ringlike patterns. Our results show that the global curvature of the membrane strongly affects the interactions between proteins embedded in it, and can lead to the spontaneous formation of biologically relevant structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2016

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