The relations among membrane structure, mechanical properties, and cell shape have been investigated. The fluid mosaic membrane models used contains several components that move freely in the membrane plane. These components interact with each other and determine properties of the membrane such as curvature and elasticity. A free energy equation is postulated for such a multicomponent membrane and the condition of free energy minimum is used to obtain differential equations relating the distribution of membrane components and the local membrane curvature. The force that moves membrane components along the membrane in a variable curvature field is calculated. A change in the intramembrane interactions can bring about phase separation or particle clustering. This, in turn, may strongly affect the local curvature. The numerical solution of the set of equations for the two dimensional case allows determination of the cell shape and the component distribution along the membrane. The model has been applied to describe certain erythrocytes shape transformations.
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