Dynamics of an asymmetric bilayer lipid membrane in a viscous solvent

R. J. Bingham, S. W. Smye, P. D. Olmsted

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Bilayer lipid membranes (BLMs) are an essential component of many biological systems, forming a functional barrier between the cell and the surrounding environment. When the membrane relaxes from a structural perturbation, the dynamics of the relaxation depends on the bilayer structure. We present a model of a BLM in a viscous solvent, including an explicit description of a "thick" membrane, where the fluctuations in the thickness of a monolayer leaflet are coupled to changes in the lipid density within that monolayer. We find dispersion relations describing three intuitive forms of bilayer motion, including a mode describing motion of the intermonolayer surface not noted previously in the literature. Two intrinsic length scales emerge that help characterise the dynamics; the well-known Saffman-Delbruck length and another, lr, resulting from the intermonolayer friction. The framework also allows for asymmetry in the BLM parameters between the monolayer leaflets, which is found to couple dynamic modes of bilayer motion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18004
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2015

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