Transbilayer pores induced by thickness fluctuations

Liviu Movileanu, Dumitru Popescu, Stelian Ion, Aurel I. Popescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Thermally-induced fluctuations of individual phospholipids in a bilayer lipid membrane (BLM) are converted into collective motions due to the intermolecular interactions. Here, we demonstrate that transbilayer stochastic pores can be generated via collective thermal movements (CTM). Using the elastic theory of continuous media applied to smectic-A liquid crystals, we estimate the pore radius and the energetic requirements for pore appearance. Three types of thermally-induced transbilayer pores could be formed through BLMs: open and stable, open and unstable, and closed. In most of the situations, two open and stable pores with different radii could be generated. Notably, the two pores have the same generation probability. Unstable pores are possible to appear across thin bilayers that contain phospholipids with a large polar headgroup. Closed pores are present throughout the cases that we have inspected. The effects of hydrophobic thickness, polar headgroup size of phospholipids, temperature, surface tension, and elastic compression on the pore formation and pore stability have been examined as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1231-1255
Number of pages25
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Bilayer lipid membrane
  • Deformation free energy
  • Oscillations
  • Pore size
  • Stochastic pores
  • Thickness fluctuations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • General Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Pharmacology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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