, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 79-90
Date: 20 Sep 2007

Vesicle self-reproduction: The involvement of membrane hydraulic and solute permeabilities

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Conditions for self-reproduction are sought for a growing vesicle with its growth defined by an exponential increase of vesicle membrane area and by adequate flow of the solution across the membrane. In the first step of the presumed vesicle self-reproduction process, the initially spherical vesicle must double its volume in the doubling time of the membrane area and, through the appropriate shape transformations, attain the shape of two equal spheres connected by an infinitesimally thin neck. The second step involves separation of the two spheres and relies on conditions that cause the neck to be broken. In this paper we consider the first step of this self-reproduction process for a vesicle suspended in a solution whose solute can permeate the vesicle membrane. It is shown that vesicle self-reproduction occurs only for certain combinations of the values of membrane hydraulic and solute permeabilities and the external solute concentration, these quantities being related to the mechanical properties of the membrane and the membrane area doubling time. The analysis includes also the relaxation of a perturbed system towards stationary self-reproduction behavior and the case where the final shape consists of two connected spheres of different radii.