Persistent collective motion of a dispersing membrane domain

Benjamin Sorkin, Haim Diamant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the Brownian motion of an assembly of mobile inclusions embedded in a fluid membrane. The motion includes the dispersal of the assembly, accompanied by the diffusion of its center of mass. Usually, the former process is much faster than the latter because the diffusion coefficient of the center of mass is inversely proportional to the number of particles. However, in the case of membrane inclusions, we find that the two processes occur on the same timescale, thus significantly prolonging the lifetime of the assembly as a collectively moving object. This effect is caused by the quasi-two-dimensional membrane flows, which couple the motions of even the most remote inclusions in the assembly. The same correlations also cause the diffusion coefficient of the center of mass to decay slowly with time, resulting in weak subdiffusion. We confirm our analytical results by Brownian dynamics simulations with flow-mediated correlations. The effect reported here should have implications for the stability of nanoscale membrane heterogeneities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2030-2039
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - 18 May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics


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