Lateral organization of lipids In multi-component liposomes


Inspite of the fluid nature and low elastic modulus, membranes play a crucial role in maintaining the structural integrity of the cell. Recent experiments have challenged the passive nature of the membrane as proposed by the classical fluid mosaic model. Experiments indicate that biomembranes of eukaryotic cells may be laterally organized into small nanoscopic domains, called rafts, which are rich in sphingomyelin and cholesterol. It is largely believed that this in-plane organization is essential for a variety of physiological functions such as signaling, recruitment of specific proteins and endocytosis. However, elucidation of the fundamental issues including the mechanisms leading to the formation of lipid rafts, their stability, and their size remain difficult. This has reiterated the importance of understanding the equilibrium phase behavior and the kinetics of fluid multicomponent lipid membranes before attempts are made to find the effects of more complex mechanisms that may be involved in the formation and stability of lipid rafts. Current increase in interest in the domain formation in multicomponent membranes also stems from the experiments demonstrating fluid-fluid coexistence in mixtures of lipids and cholesterol and the success of several computational models in predicting their behavior. Here we review time dependent Ginzburg Landau model, dynamical triangulation Monte Carlo, and dissipative particle dynamics which are some of the methods that are commonly employed. © 2009 The Physical Society of Japan.

Publication Title

Journal of the Physical Society of Japan