Diffusion is a fundamental mechanism for protein distribution in cell membranes. These membranes often exhibit complex shapes, which range from shallow domes to elongated tubular or pearl-like structures. Shape complexity of the membrane influences the diffusive spreading of proteins and molecules. Despite the importance membrane geometry plays in these diffusive processes, it is challenging to establish the dependence between diffusion and membrane morphology. We solve the diffusion equation numerically on various static curved shapes representative for experimentally observed membrane shapes. Our results show that membrane necks become diffusion barriers. We determine the diffusive half-time, i.e., the time that is required to reduce the amount of protein in the budded region by one half, and find a quadratic relation between the diffusive half-time and the averaged mean curvature of the membrane shape, which we rationalize by a scaling law. Our findings thus help estimate the characteristic diffusive timescale based on the simple measure of membrane mean curvature.
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