Shape optimization in lipid nanotube networks
Journal article, 2008
Starting from a high surface free-energy state, lipid nanotube networks are capable to self-organize into tree-like structures with particular geometrical features. In this work we analyze the process of self-organization in such networks, and report a strong similarity to the Euclidian Steiner Tree Problem (ESTP). ESTP is a well-known NP-hard optimization problem of finding a network connecting a given set of terminal points on a plane, allowing addition of auxiliary points, with the overall objective to minimize the total network length. The present study shows that aggregate lipid structures self-organize into geometries that correspond to locally optimal solutions to such problems.