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Shapes of Red Blood Cells: Comparison of 3D Confocal Images with the Bilayer-Couple Model

Overview of attention for article published in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, September 2008
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Title
Shapes of Red Blood Cells: Comparison of 3D Confocal Images with the Bilayer-Couple Model
Published in
Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, September 2008
DOI 10.1007/s12195-008-0019-5
Pubmed ID
Authors

Khaled Khairy, JiJinn Foo, Jonathon Howard

Abstract

Cells and organelles are shaped by the chemical and physical forces that bend cell membranes. The human red blood cell (RBC) is a model system for studying how such forces determine cell morphology. It is thought that RBCs, which are typically biconcave discoids, take the shape that minimizes their membrane-bending energies, subject to the constraints of fixed area and volume. However, recently it has been hypothesized that shear elasticity arising from the membrane-associated cytoskeleton (MS) is necessary to account for shapes of real RBCs, especially ones with highly curved features such as echinocytes. In this work we tested this hypothesis by following RBC shape changes using spherical harmonic series expansions of theoretical cell surfaces and those estimated from 3D confocal microscopy images of live cells. We found (i) quantitative agreement between shapes obtained from the theoretical model including the MS and real cells, (ii) that weakening the MS, by using urea (which denatures spectrin), leads to the theoretically predicted gradual decrease in spicule number of echinocytes, (iii) that the theory predicts that the MS is essential for stabilizing the discocyte morphology against changes in lipid composition, and that without it, the shape would default to the elliptocyte (a biconcave ellipsoid), (iv) that we were able to induce RBCs to adopt the predicted elliptocyte morphology by treating healthy discocytes with urea. The latter observation is consistent with the known connection between the blood disease hereditary elliptocytosis and spectrin mutations that weaken the cell cortex. We conclude that while the discocyte, in absence of shear, is indeed a minimum energy shape, its stabilization in healthy RBCs requires the MS, and that elliptocytosis can be explained based on purely mechanical considerations.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 116 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 3 3%
France 2 2%
Germany 2 2%
Brazil 1 <1%
Belgium 1 <1%
Netherlands 1 <1%
Unknown 106 91%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 36 31%
Researcher 26 22%
Student > Master 14 12%
Student > Bachelor 14 12%
Professor > Associate Professor 8 7%
Other 12 10%
Unknown 6 5%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Engineering 29 25%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 27 23%
Physics and Astronomy 21 18%
Chemistry 7 6%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 6 5%
Other 15 13%
Unknown 11 9%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 08 December 2010.
All research outputs
#11,165,621
of 12,550,210 outputs
Outputs from Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering
#264
of 270 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#121,492
of 145,151 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering
#2
of 2 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,550,210 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 1st percentile – i.e., 1% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 270 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 2.5. This one is in the 1st percentile – i.e., 1% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 145,151 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one is in the 1st percentile – i.e., 1% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.
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