The present monograph reviews the results of experimental and theoretical research into the mechanical properties of lipid bilayers - the structural basis of biological membranes. The relation between membrane structure and viscoelastic properties is analyzed and new methods of measurement of the modulus of elasticity, particularly in transversal direction, developed by the authors, are presented. The authors use an approach fundamentally different from the usual one, namely an analysis of the lipid bilayer dynamics during various modes of deformation, arriving at a new, 'three-layer' model of lipid bilayer deformation, which accounts for the great heterogeneity of biomembranes. A wide variety of methods of measuring the macroscopic parameters of membranes as well as correlations between these parameters are revealed and discussed. The problem of dynamic changes of mechanical properties of lipid bilayers in the course of conformational transition of integral proteins, which has never before been sufficiently dealt with, is discussed here in detail. The extensive experimental work of the authors is presented, work which comprises many studies of viscoelastic parameters of reconstituted membrane systems with a defined functional response, e.g. insulin reception. It is demonstrated that during conformational changes of proteins, the structure of a bilayer undergoes transition reaching new stable state of the membranes.
This book is the first one to contain a comprehensive analysis of long-distance interaction in lipid bilayers, and of molecular mechanisms of mechanoreception. The insights and methods presented here will be useful for many scientists and graduate students whose work is in biophysics, membranology, physiology, medicine, pharmacology, bioelectronics, electrochemistry and colloid chemistry.