Membrane-mediated interactions measured using membrane domains

Biophys J. 2009 Jun 17;96(12):4906-15. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2009.03.050.


Cell membrane organization is the result of the collective effect of many driving forces. Several of these, such as electrostatic and van der Waals forces, have been identified and studied in detail. In this article, we investigate and quantify another force, the interaction between inclusions via deformations of the membrane shape. For electrically neutral systems, this interaction is the dominant organizing force. As a model system to study membrane-mediated interactions, we use phase-separated biomimetic vesicles that exhibit coexistence of liquid-ordered and liquid-disordered lipid domains. The membrane-mediated interactions between these domains lead to a rich variety of effects, including the creation of long-range order and the setting of a preferred domain size. Our findings also apply to the interaction of membrane protein patches, which induce similar membrane shape deformations and hence experience similar interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / chemistry*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Monte Carlo Method


  • Membranes, Artificial