Membrane mediated aggregation of curvature inducing nematogens and membrane tubulation
The shapes of cell membranes are largely regulated by membrane associated, curvature active, proteins. We use a numerical model of the membrane with elongated membrane inclusions, recently developed by us, which posses spontaneous directional curvatures that could be different along and perpendicular to its long axis. We show that, due to membrane mediated interactions these curvature inducing membrane nematogens can oligomerize spontaneously, even at low concentrations, and change the local shape of the membrane. We demonstrate that for a large group of such inclusions, where the two spontaneous curvatures have equal sign, the tubular conformation and sometime the sheet conformation of the membrane are the common equilibrium shapes. We elucidate the factors necessary for the formation of these protein lattices. Furthermore, the elastic properties of the tubes, like their compressional stiffness and persistence length are calculated. Finally, we discuss the possible role of nematic disclination in capping and branching of the tubular membranes.