Regular Article – Soft Matter
On the force between “rafts”
Department of Physics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
2 Department of Physics, Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA
Accepted: 8 September 2023
Published online: 22 September 2023
“Rafts” in the plasma membrane are nanoscopic domains rich in sphingolipids and cholesterol. Groups of them are thought to provide stable platforms for various proteins. How several rafts can form a larger stable platform has yet to be made clear. Here, we show that in the microemulsion theory of rafts, in which they, and the sea in which they float, are characterized by a naturally occurring length, rafts separated by a sea larger than this length will attract one another, thus making the sea smaller. Similarly, if rafts are separated by a sea that is smaller than the characteristic size, they will repel one another thus allowing the sea to increase in size. Such an elastic force can clearly stabilize a platform of many rafts.
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