Computer simulation of cytoskeleton-induced blebbing in lipid membranes


Blebs are balloon-shaped membrane protrusions that form during many physiological processes. Using computer simulation of a particle-based model for self-assembled lipid bilayers coupled to an elastic meshwork, we investigated the phase behavior and kinetics of blebbing. We found that blebs form for large values of the ratio between the areas of the bilayer and the cytoskeleton. We also found that blebbing can be induced when the cytoskeleton is subject to a localized ablation or a uniform compression. The results obtained are qualitatively in agreement with the experimental evidence and the model opens up the possibility to study the kinetics of bleb formation in detail. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Publication Title

Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics