Lipid bilayer membranes are known to form various structures like large sheets or vesicles. When both bilayer leaflets have equal composition, membranes preferentially form flat sheets or spherical vesicles. However, vesicles with a wide variety of shapes, including ellipsoids, discoids, pear-shaped, cup-shaped and budded vesicles, have been shown experimentally. Such shapes were predicted theoretically from energy minimization of continuous sheets as well. We show, using coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations, how relatively small asymmetry in composition between the two leaflets may result in spontaneously curved bilayers and all these vesicle shapes. Three types of bilayer asymmetry are considered. Firstly, the situation where the headgroup-solvent interaction and thus the lipid packing alters due to a change in pH or ion-concentration of the vesicle interior/exterior (A). Secondly, where asymmetry arises from phase separation of two lipid types (B). And thirdly, where asymmetry arises from growth of one of the bilayer leaflets by incorporation of additional lipids from the solvent (C).
|Conference||52th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, Februari 2-6, 2008, Long Beach, California, United States|
|Period||2/02/08 → 6/02/08|