Computer simulation of interfacial fluctuation phenomena

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Mouritsen, Ole G.
  • Kent Jørgensen
  • John Hjort Ipsen
  • Kent Jørgensen
  • Martin J. Zuckermann
  • Leonor Cruzeiro-Hansson

Monte Carlo computer-simulation techniques applied to a microscopic interaction model of the gel-to-fluid chain-melting phase transition in pseudo-two-dimensional lipid membranes (mono- and bilayers) have shown that the density fluctuations at the transition induce formation of pseudo-one-dimensional fluctuating interfaces between lipid clusters in the membrane plane leading to dynamically heterogeneous membrane states. The characteristics of the fluctuations and the scaling properties of the clusters show that the membrane exhibits pseudo-critical behavior. In thermodynamic equilibrium, the interfacial area has a dramatic temperature dependence with an anomaly at the transition temperature. This anomaly is related to similar anomalies in response functions and in the transmembrane permeability. The interfacial area may be modulated by appropriate "impurities", e.g., by interfacially active molecules such as cholesterol or interstitial small molecules such as general anaesthetics. The properties of the interfacial area provide a means for understanding aspects of the functioning of certain interfacially active membrane-bound enzymes, such as phospholipase A2.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysica Scripta
Pages (from-to)42-51
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ID: 236894772