Programmed bending reveals dynamic mechanochemical coupling in supported lipid bilayers


Sean F. Gilmore, Harika Nanduri, Atul N. Parikh, PLoS ONE 6, e28517 2011

In living cells, mechanochemical coupling represents a dynamic means by which membrane components are spatially organized. An extra-ordinary example of such coupling involves curvature-dependent polar localization of chemically-distinct lipid domains at bacterial poles, which also undergo dramatic reequilibration upon subtle changes in their interfacial environment such as during sporulation. Here, we demonstrate that such interfacially-triggered mechanochemical coupling can be recapitulated in vitro by simultaneous, real-time introduction of mechanically-generated periodic curvatures and attendant strain-induced lateral forces in lipid bilayers supported on elastomeric substrates. In particular, we show that real-time wrinkling of the elastomeric substrate prompts a dynamic domain reorganization within the adhering bilayer, producing large, oriented liquid-ordered domains in regions of low curvature. Our results suggest a mechanism in which interfacial forces generated during surface wrinkling and the topographical deformation of the bilayer combine to facilitate dynamic reequilibration prompting the observed domain reorganization. We anticipate this curvature-generating model system will prove to be a simple and versatile tool for a broad range of studies of curvature-dependent dynamic reorganizations in membranes that are constrained by the interfacial elastic and dynamic frameworks such as the cell wall, glycocalyx, and cytoskeleton.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028517