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Elastic energy of polyhedral bilayer vesicles

Haselwandter, Christoph A. and Phillips, Rob (2011) Elastic energy of polyhedral bilayer vesicles. Physical Review E, 83 (6). Art. No. 061901. ISSN 1539-3755. PMCID PMC3236088.

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In recent experiments [M. Dubois, B. Demé, T. Gulik-Krzywicki, J.-C. Dedieu, C. Vautrin, S. Désert, E. Perez, and T. Zemb, Nature (London) 411, 672 (2001)] the spontaneous formation of hollow bilayer vesicles with polyhedral symmetry has been observed. On the basis of the experimental phenomenology it was suggested [M. Dubois, V. Lizunov, A. Meister, T. Gulik-Krzywicki, J. M. Verbavatz, E. Perez, J. Zimmerberg, and T. Zemb, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101, 15082 (2004)] that the mechanism for the formation of bilayer polyhedra is minimization of elastic bending energy. Motivated by these experiments, we study the elastic bending energy of polyhedral bilayer vesicles. In agreement with experiments, and provided that excess amphiphiles exhibiting spontaneous curvature are present in sufficient quantity, we find that polyhedral bilayer vesicles can indeed be energetically favorable compared to spherical bilayer vesicles. Consistent with experimental observations we also find that the bending energy associated with the vertices of bilayer polyhedra can be locally reduced through the formation of pores. However, the stabilization of polyhedral bilayer vesicles over spherical bilayer vesicles relies crucially on molecular segregation of excess amphiphiles along the ridges rather than the vertices of bilayer polyhedra. Furthermore, our analysis implies that, contrary to what has been suggested on the basis of experiments, the icosahedron does not minimize elastic bending energy among arbitrary polyhedral shapes and sizes. Instead, we find that, for large polyhedron sizes, the snub dodecahedron and the snub cube both have lower total bending energies than the icosahedron.

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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Phillips, Rob0000-0003-3082-2809
Additional Information:© 2011 American Physical Society. Received 15 February 2011; published 1 June 2011. This work was supported by a Collaborative Innovation Award of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Institutes of Health through NIH Award No. R01GM084211 and the Director’s Pioneer Award. We thank A. Agrawal, M. D. Betterton, M. B. Jackson, W. S. Klug, R. W. Pastor, T. R. Powers, D. C. Rees, M. H. B. Stowell, D. P. Tieleman, T. S. Ursell, D. Van Valen, and H. Yin for helpful comments.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
NIHR01 GM084211
Issue or Number:6
Classification Code:PACS:, 68.60.Bs
PubMed Central ID:PMC3236088
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110621-092111171
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:24147
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:21 Jun 2011 17:03
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 02:53

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