Suspended Liquid Crystal Thin Film as Phenomenological Model for Cell Membrane
Lipid bilayers are the fundamental building blocks of cell membranes. Various kinds of cell membrane models are proposed. One of the models is to consider the bilayers as suspended liquid crystal phases in a thin film state, which are highly inhomogeneous and anisotropic. In this paper, the cell membrane is modelled with the unified coupled equations for the nematic type of suspended liquid crystal thin film. Pore walls of the ionic channels on the cell membrane, which formed by lipid arrays, are modelled through an analogy with the director field. This model indicates the solution space for membrane-bending coefficients and thickness of the membrane consisting with the measured experiment. The results also reveal that the two parameters are strongly conjugate by the ratio of the anchoring energy within the membrane plasma and the pore surface. Criteria for the membrane thickness are discussed which are applied to a conjecture about sickle cell anaemia.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2013
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