Detailed mechanics of membrane-membrane adhesion and separation. I. Continuum of molecular cross-bridges


The mechanics of membrane-membrane adhesion are developed for the approximation that the molecular cross-bridging forces are continuously distributed as a normal stress (force per unit area). The significance of the analysis is that the finite range of the cross-bridging forces and the microscopic contact angle are not assumed negligible. Since the cross-bridging and adhesion forces are finite range interactions, there are two membrane regions: a free zone where the membranes are not subject to attractive forces; and an adherent zone where the membranes are held together by attractive stresses. The membrane is treated as an elastic continuum. The approach is to analyze the mechanics for each zone separately and then to require continuity of the solutions at the interface between the zones. Final solution yields the membrane contour and stresses proximal to and within the contact zone as well as the microscopic contact angle at the edge of the contact zone. It is demonstrated that the classical Young equation is consistent with this model. The results show that the microscopic contact angle becomes appreciable when the strength of adhesion is large or the length of the cross-bridge is large; however, the microscopic contact angle approaches zero as the membrane elastic stiffness increases. The solution predicts the width of the contact zone over which molecular bonds are stretched. It is this boundary region where increased biochemical activity is expected. In the classical model presented here, the level of tension necessary to oppose spreading of the contact is equal to the minimal level of tension required to separate the adherent membranes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS

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Last time updated on 6/4/2019

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