Formation and maintenance of tubular membrane projections: Experiments and numerical calculations

Tamiki Umeda, Takehiko Inaba, Akihiko Ishijima, Kingo Takiguchi, Hirokazu Hotani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


To study the mechanical properties of lipid membranes, we manipulated liposomes by using a system comprising polystyrene beads and laser tweezers, and measured the force required to transform their shapes. When two beads pushed the membrane from inside, spherical liposomes transformed into a lemon-shape. Then a discontinuous shape transformation occurred to form a membrane tube from either end of the liposomes, and the force dropped drastically. We analyzed these processes using a mathematical model based on the bending elasticity of the membranes. Numerical calculations showed that when the bead size was taken into account, the model reproduced both the liposomal shape transformation and the force-extension relation. This result suggests that the size of the beads is responsible for the existence of a force barrier for the tube formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul


  • Bending elasticity
  • Laser tweezer
  • Liposome
  • Membrane tube
  • Simulation
  • Vesicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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