Accumulating evidence indicates that membrane reshaping and fusion processes, as well as regulation of membrane protein function, depend on lipid composition. Although it is widely accepted that cell membranes are under considerable stress and frustration and can be locally highly curved, experimental approaches to determine the material properties of lipids usually rely on their study in a relaxed environment or in flat bilayers. Here, we propose a computational method to determine the elastic properties of lipid assemblies of arbitrarily shaped interfaces and apply it to lipidic mixtures in the inverted hexagonal and lamellar phases. We find that the bending rigidity critically depends on the geometry of the system and correlates with the changes in lipid chain order imposed by the specific environment. Our results are relevant for resolving local lipid properties of deformed, stressed, or frustrated membranes that notably emerge around integral membrane proteins or during different membrane remodeling processes.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Chemical Society.
- bending rigidity
- inverted hexagonal phase
- lamellar phase
- membrane elastic properties
- tilt modulus