Vol. 2, No. 6, 2007

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ISSN: 1559-3959
Quantitative evaluation of mechanical properties of cell membranes: an exact solution

Eveline Baesu, Sujatha Kalyanam and Marcelina Mocanu

Vol. 2 (2007), No. 6, 1193–1203
Abstract

Properties of cell membranes are determined by means of a single mechanical experiment involving probing of the membrane with an atomic force microscope. The membrane is modeled as a two-dimensional medium with bending resistance whose energy has three contributions: from the strain energy of the membrane itself, from the internal pressure, and from the point load applied by the microscope. The problem is cast into a variational form and the emerging Euler–Lagrange equations are linearized and solved for the shape of the deformed cell, which can be readily compared with experimental data on the deformed shape to yield the mechanical properties of the membrane.

Keywords
cell membrane, energy minimization, bilayer
Milestones
Received: 12 April 2007
Accepted: 20 April 2007
Published: 1 August 2007
Authors
Eveline Baesu
W304 Nebraska Hall
Department of Engineering Mechanics
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68588
United States
http://www.unl.edu/emhome/faculty/baesu.html
Sujatha Kalyanam
W317 Nebraska Hall
Department of Engineering Mechanics
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68588
United States
Marcelina Mocanu
Calea Mărăşeşti 157
Department of Mathematics
University of Bacău
Bacău 600115
Romania