The Quantum Casimir Effect May Be a Universal Force Organizing the Bilayer Structure of the Cell Membrane

The Quantum Casimir Effect May Be a Universal Force Organizing the Bilayer Structure of the Cell... A mathematic–physical model of the interaction between cell membrane bilayer leaflets is proposed based on the Casimir effect in dielectrics. This model explains why the layers of a lipid membrane gently slide one past another rather than penetrate each other. The presented model reveals the dependence of variations in the free energy of the system on the membrane thickness. This function is characterized by the two close minima corresponding to the different levels of interdigitation of the lipids from neighbor layers. The energy barrier of the compressing transition between the predicted minima is estimated to be 5.7 kT/lipid, and the return energy is estimated to be 3.1 kT/lipid. The proposed model enables estimation of the value of the membrane elastic thickness modulus of compressibility, which is 1.7 × 109 N/m2, and the value of the interlayer friction coefficient, which is 1.9 × 108 Ns/m3. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Membrane Biology Springer Journals

The Quantum Casimir Effect May Be a Universal Force Organizing the Bilayer Structure of the Cell Membrane

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Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by The Author(s)
Subject
Life Sciences; Biochemistry, general; Human Physiology
ISSN
0022-2631
eISSN
1432-1424
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00232-013-9544-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A mathematic–physical model of the interaction between cell membrane bilayer leaflets is proposed based on the Casimir effect in dielectrics. This model explains why the layers of a lipid membrane gently slide one past another rather than penetrate each other. The presented model reveals the dependence of variations in the free energy of the system on the membrane thickness. This function is characterized by the two close minima corresponding to the different levels of interdigitation of the lipids from neighbor layers. The energy barrier of the compressing transition between the predicted minima is estimated to be 5.7 kT/lipid, and the return energy is estimated to be 3.1 kT/lipid. The proposed model enables estimation of the value of the membrane elastic thickness modulus of compressibility, which is 1.7 × 109 N/m2, and the value of the interlayer friction coefficient, which is 1.9 × 108 Ns/m3.

Journal

The Journal of Membrane BiologySpringer Journals

Published: Apr 24, 2013

References

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