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Soft Matter and Biological Physics


Eur. Phys. J. E 8, 59-66 (2002)
DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2002-10008-2

Adhesion of membranes with competing specific and generic interactions

T.R. Weikl1, D. Andelman2, S. Komura3 and R. Lipowsky1

1  MPI für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung, 14424 Potsdam, Germany
2  School of Physics and Astronomy, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
3  Department of Chemistry, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo 192-0397, Japan

(Received 24 January 2002 and Received in final form 24 April 2002)

Abstract
Biomimetic membranes in contact with a planar substrate or a second membrane are studied theoretically. The membranes contain specific adhesion molecules (stickers) which are attracted by the second surface. In the absence of stickers, the trans-interaction between the membrane and the second surface is assumed to be repulsive at short separations. It is shown that the interplay of specific attractive and generic repulsive interactions can lead to the formation of a potential barrier. This barrier induces a line tension between bound and unbound membrane segments which results in lateral phase separation during adhesion. The mechanism for adhesion-induced phase separation is rather general, as is demonstrated by considering two distinct cases involving: i) stickers with a linear attractive potential, and ii) stickers with a short-ranged square-well potential. In both cases, membrane fluctuations reduce the potential barrier and, therefore, decrease the tendency of phase separation.

PACS
87.16.Dg - Membranes, bilayers, and vesicles.
05.70.Np - Interface and surface thermodynamics.
64.75.+g - Solubility, segregation, and mixing; phase separation.


© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2002