Spontaneous Translocation of a Polymer across a Curved Membrane
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The translocation of a hydrophobic polymer across a curved bilayer membrane has been studied using Monte Carlo methods. It is found that for curved membranes the polymer crosses spontaneously and almost irreversibly from the side of lower curvature to the side of higher curvature. This phenomenon can be understood based upon the curvature-induced difference of lipid fluctuations between the two halves of the bilayer. The difference of fluctuations drives the polymer across the bilayer in order to maximize the conformational entropy of the polymer.