Pore formation in lipid membrane II: Energy landscape under external stress
Lipid membranes are extremely stable envelopes allowing cells to survive in various environments and to maintain desired internal composition. Membrane permeation through formation of transversal pores requires substantial external stress. Practically, pores are usually formed by application of lateral tension or transmembrane voltage. Using the same approach as was used for obtaining continuous trajectory of pore formation in the stress-less membrane in the previous article, we now consider the process of pore formation under the external stress. The waiting time to pore formation proved a non-monotonous function of the lateral tension, dropping from infinity at zero tension to a minimum at the tension of several millinewtons per meter. Transmembrane voltage, on the contrary, caused the waiting time to decrease monotonously. Analysis of pore formation trajectories for several lipid species with different spontaneous curvatures and elastic moduli under various external conditions provided instrumental insights into the mechanisms underlying some experimentally observed phenomena.