Interaction of Particles and Pathogens with Biological Membranes

  • Thorsten AuthEmail author
  • Sabyasachi Dasgupta
  • Gerhard Gompper


Biological membranes are both barriers and communication interfaces of cells. Transport across membranes is therefore essential for life. It encompasses both endocytotic and exocytotic processes important for cell function, but also the invasion of cells by parasites and viruses, and targeted drug delivery. Whereas interactions on the molecular scale are important for particles with sizes comparable with the thickness of the membrane, the mechanical properties of the entire membrane determine its interaction with larger particles. We focus here on large particles and parasites and discuss wrapping of single particles by homogeneous and complex membranes. Both solid particles with various shapes as well as soft particles are considered. Membrane-mediated interactions of many particles lead to aggregation and tubulation. Finally, active biological mechanisms are shown to support the invasion of parasites, such as the malaria parasite, and to drive phagocytosis.


Nanoparticles Helfrich Hamiltonian Endocytosis Pathogens Malaria Phagocytosis 



Our research on the interaction of particles with biological membranes has been supported by the EU FP7 NMP collaborative project PreNanoTox (309666).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thorsten Auth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sabyasachi Dasgupta
    • 2
  • Gerhard Gompper
    • 1
  1. 1.Forschungzentrum Jülich, Theoretical Soft Matter and BiophysicsInstitute of Complex Systems and Institute for Advanced SimulationJülichGermany
  2. 2.National University of SingaporeMechanobiology InstituteSingaporeSingapore

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