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.