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Influence of softness on molecular recognition

Figure 1: Conjecture: the tendency of the lipids in a membrane to phase separate should favour non-selective adhesion.

In [1], we introduced a simple model of soft interacting patterned objects. It is shown that if properly designed, soft interacting partners can display a non-monotonic affinity constant Ka when the stiffness parameter in increased. Alternatively, we discuss the possibility of coding information within the mechanical (of stiffness) pattern, irrespective of any shape consideration. The approach introduced in [1] seems particularly well suited to study, in the future, both specific and non- specific interactions between a macromolecular object in solution and a membrane of given lipid composition, especially in the presence of lipid mixing entropy. A well documented example of such a situation is provided by the interaction between a charged Cytochrome C protein and a mitochondrial membrane containing negatively charged lipids.

[1F. Thalmann, A schematic model for molecular affinity and binding with Ising variables EPJE, 31, 441 (2010).