Physical aspects of the initial phase of endocytosis
Journal article, 2013
The endocytotic mechanism of entry of virions into cells includes wrapping of a virion by the host membrane with subsequent formation of a vesicle covering a virion. The energy along this pathway depends on the ligand-receptor interaction and deformation of the cell membrane and underlying actin cytoskeleton. The available models describe the cytoskeleton deformation by using the conventional continuum theory of elasticity and predict that this factor often controls the repulsive part of the virion-cell interaction. This approach is, however, debatable because the size of virions is smaller than or comparable to the length scale characterizing the cytoskeleton structure. The author shows that the continuum theory appreciably (up to one order of magnitude) overestimates the cytoskeleton-deformation energy and that the scale of this energy is comparable to that of cell membrane bending.