Understanding the shape of red blood cells

Categorie(s) : News, Research

Published : 1 June 2012

Why do some hollow biological objects (like red blood cells and pollen grains) lose their rounded form to take on a variety of multi-faceted shapes? To find out, scientists at INAC—in association with two other laboratories—carried out a series of experiments using water-filled gel-phase membrane vesicles ranging from 1 to 15 microns in diameter.
The scientists varied the osmotic pressure in the vesicles until they deflated into the shape of specific biological objects. The scientists then used these data to generate a computer model that could predict the shape and number of facets a vesicle would attain based on its original diameter and the deflation rate.

Contact: brigitte.pepin-donat@cea.fr

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