A new model is proposed to explain coiling of myelins composed of fluid bilayers. This model allows the constituent bilayer cylinders of a myelin to be non-coaxial and the bilayer lateral tension to vary from bilayer to bilayer. The calculations show that a myelin would bend or coil to lower its free energy when the bilayer lateral tension is sufficiently large. From a mechanical point of view, the proposed coiling mechanism is analogous to the classical Euler buckling of a thin elastic rod under axial compression. The analysis of a simple two-bilayer case suggests that a bilayer lateral tension of about 1 dyne/cm can easily induce coiling of myelins of typical lipid bilayers. This model signifies the importance of bilayer lateral tension in determining the morphology of myelinic structures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- 化學 (全部)