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Continuum Simulations Of Biomembrane Dynamics And The Importance Of Hydrodynamic Effects

Frank L. H. Brown

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AbstractTraditional particle-based simulation strategies are impractical for the study of lipid bilayers and biological membranes over the longest length and time scales (microns, seconds and longer) relevant to cellular biology. Continuum-based models developed within the frameworks of elasticity theory, fluid dynamics and statistical mechanics provide a framework for studying membrane biophysics over a range of mesoscopic to macroscopic length and time regimes, but the application of such ideas to simulation studies has occurred only relatively recently. We review some of our efforts in this direction with emphasis on the dynamics in model membrane systems. Several examples are presented that highlight the prominent role of hydrodynamics in membrane dynamics and we argue that careful consideration of fluid dynamics is key to understanding membrane biophysics at the cellular scale.