While the behavior of vesicles in thermodynamic equilibrium has been studied extensively, how active forces control vesicle shape transformations is not understood. Here, we combine theory and simulations to study the shape behavior of vesicles containing active Brownian particles. We show that the combination of active forces, dimensionality, and membrane bending free energy creates a plethora of novel phase transitions. At low swim pressure, the vesicle exhibits a discontinuous transition from a spherical to a prolate shape, which has no counterpart in two dimensions. At high swim pressure it exhibits stochastic spatiotemporal oscillations. Our work helps researchers to understand and control the shape dynamics of membranes in active-matter systems.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
Biochemical Networks

Li, Y., & ten Wolde, P. R. (2019). Shape Transformations of Vesicles Induced by Swim Pressure. Phys.Rev.Lett., 123(14), 148003: 1–6. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.123.148003