European Biophysics Journal

, Volume 46, Issue 8, pp 705–718 | Cite as

On the role of external force of actin filaments in the formation of tubular protrusions of closed membrane shapes with anisotropic membrane components

  • Luka MesarecEmail author
  • Wojciech Góźdź
  • Samo Kralj
  • Miha Fošnarič
  • Samo Penič
  • Veronika Kralj-Iglič
  • Aleš Iglič
Original Article


Biological membranes are composed of different components and there is no a priori reason to assume that all components are isotropic. It was previously shown that the anisotropic properties of membrane components may explain the stability of membrane tubular protrusions even without the application of external force. Our theoretical study focuses on the role of anisotropic membrane components in the stability of membrane tubular structures generated or stabilized by actin filaments. We show that the growth of the actin cytoskeleton inside the vesicle can induce the partial lateral segregation of different membrane components. The entropy of mixing of membrane components hinders the total lateral segregation of the anisotropic and isotropic membrane components. Self-assembled aggregates formed by anisotropic membrane components facilitate the growth of long membrane tubular protrusions. Protrusive force generated by actin filaments favors strong segregation of membrane components by diminishing the opposing effect of mixing entropy.


Numerical study Biological membranes Vesicles Anisotropic membrane components Membrane tubular protrusions Actin cytoskeleton 


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© European Biophysical Societies' Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Biophysics, Faculty of Electrical EngineeringUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Institute of Physical Chemistry, Polish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  3. 3.Department of Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences and MathematicsUniversity of MariborMariborSlovenia
  4. 4.Jožef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  5. 5.Laboratory of Clinical Biophysics, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  6. 6.Laboratory of Clinical Biophysics, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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