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Theory of Elasticity of Lipid Membranes

Теория Упругости Жидко-Кристаллических Мембран
All living organisms consists of cells. Cells are separated from each other by lipid membranes. Lipid membranes could be viewed as a sea in which proteins drift. Proteins carry many import biological functions, which depends on the properties and state of the lipid membrane. Lipid membranes could be studied within the theory of elasticity. In a nutshell, the theory splits given membrane conformation into three fundamental deformations: splay, twist and bend. Each deformation is described with a formula. Each formula has it macroscopic coefficient to be determined from experiment. If one knows the coefficients of deformations, one can calculate its energy. And by comparing energies of various conformations one can conclude on which is most favorable. This way some experimentally observed data can be explained: for example the size of lipid rafts — domains enriched with cholesterol. Theory can also suggest new phenomena and experiments should be performed to check if its true. If some experimental fact can not be explained within a theory — it means that not all is taken into account, or on the contrary — some thing which is acconted for has no place in reality. Any way it doesn't make theory of elasticity applied to lipid membranes less important and beautiful science. Working within elasticity theory on our Department is characterized distinguished with collaboration with experimantalists and scientists working in the field of computer simulation. The overall knowledge of lipid membranes defines the way drug developers think of the problems, which of course affects how they try to solve issues such as how to disfunct given protein, or facilitate the membrane fusion.


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