Surface Lattices and Membrane Design

  • D. L. D. Caspar


The subject of membrane design affords ample opportunity for speculation. Until more is known experimentally about the structural role of the component parts, no sound theory can be formulated regarding the physically significant spacial relations between these parts. The finite thickness of cellular membranes corresponds most likely to the Davson-Danielli model of a bimolecular lipid layer plus an inside and outside layer of protein, but there is as yet, no clear picture of the nature of the ordering within these surface layers. Substructure has been observed in the surface of some specialized membranes by electron microscopy, as described by Porter, Robertson, Sjöstrand, Stoeckenius and others at this Symposium. The scale and symmetry of these surface patterns bear a superficial resemblance to the surface structure of icosahedral virus particles, but this morphological similarity does not necessarily imply any fundamental relation in their designs.


Protein Coat Surface Lattice Closed Surface Hexagonal Pattern Random Close Packing 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. L. D. Caspar
    • 1
  1. 1.Children’s Cancer Research FoundationThe Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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