Viral infections, fertilization, neurotransmission, and many other fundamental biological processes rely on membrane fusion. Straightforward calculations based on the celebrated Canham-Helfrich elastic model predict a large topological energy barrier that prevents the fusion process from being thermally activated. While such high energy is in accordance with the physical barrier function of lipid membranes, it is difficult to reconcile with the biological mechanisms involved in fusion processes. In this work, we use a Ginzburg-Landau type of free energy that recovers the Canham-Helfrich model in the limit of small width-to-vesicle-extension ratio, with the additional ability to handle topological transitions. We show that a local modification of the Gaussian modulus in the merging region both dramatically lowers the elastic energy barrier and substantially changes the minimal energy pathway for fusion, in accordance with experimental evidence. Therefore, we discuss biological examples in which such a modification might play a crucial role.

The local variation of the Gaussian modulus enables different pathways for fluid lipid vesicle fusion / Bottacchiari, Matteo; Gallo, Mirko; Bussoletti, Marco; Casciola, Carlo Massimo. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 14:1(2024). [10.1038/s41598-023-50922-7]

The local variation of the Gaussian modulus enables different pathways for fluid lipid vesicle fusion

Bottacchiari, Matteo;Gallo, Mirko;Bussoletti, Marco;Casciola, Carlo Massimo
2024

Abstract

Viral infections, fertilization, neurotransmission, and many other fundamental biological processes rely on membrane fusion. Straightforward calculations based on the celebrated Canham-Helfrich elastic model predict a large topological energy barrier that prevents the fusion process from being thermally activated. While such high energy is in accordance with the physical barrier function of lipid membranes, it is difficult to reconcile with the biological mechanisms involved in fusion processes. In this work, we use a Ginzburg-Landau type of free energy that recovers the Canham-Helfrich model in the limit of small width-to-vesicle-extension ratio, with the additional ability to handle topological transitions. We show that a local modification of the Gaussian modulus in the merging region both dramatically lowers the elastic energy barrier and substantially changes the minimal energy pathway for fusion, in accordance with experimental evidence. Therefore, we discuss biological examples in which such a modification might play a crucial role.
2024
fluid lipid vesicles; membranes; lipid bilayer; canham-helfrich; membrane fusion; viral fusion; topological transitions; Gaussian modulus
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
The local variation of the Gaussian modulus enables different pathways for fluid lipid vesicle fusion / Bottacchiari, Matteo; Gallo, Mirko; Bussoletti, Marco; Casciola, Carlo Massimo. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 14:1(2024). [10.1038/s41598-023-50922-7]
File allegati a questo prodotto
File Dimensione Formato  
Bottacchiari_the-local_2024.pdf

accesso aperto

Note: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-50922-7
Tipologia: Versione editoriale (versione pubblicata con il layout dell'editore)
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 1.81 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
1.81 MB Adobe PDF

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1699589
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus 2
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 1
social impact