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Membrane fluctuations around inclusions

The free energy of inserting a protein into a membrane is determined by considering the variation in the spectrum of thermal fluctuations in response to the presence of a rigid inclusion. Both numerically and through a simple analytical approximation, we find that the primary effect of fluctuations is to reduce the effective surface tension, hampering the insertion at low surface tension. Our results, which should also be relevant for membrane pores, suggest (in contrast to classical nucleation theory) that a finite surface tension is necessary to facilitate the opening of a pore.

Authors:   Christian D. Santangelo, Oded Farago
Journal:   Journal of Computer-Aided Materials Design
Year:   2008
DOI:   10.1007/s10820-007-9081-x
Publication date:   15-Jan-2008
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