Brown University School of Engineering

Fluids Seminar: Micromechanics of Red Blood Cells: Modeling and Experiments

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014 3:00pm - 4:00pm

George Lykotrafitis Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Connecticut Storrs, CT Micromechanics of Red Blood Cells: Modeling and Experiments We will discuss a two-component, coarse-grain molecular dynamics model for the erythrocyte membrane that represents explicitly the phospholipid bilayer, membrane proteins, and the cytoskeleton. The proposed model can simulate the red blood cell (RBC) membrane with the appropriate bending stiffness and shear modulus. Furthermore, we study how the interactions between cytoskeleton and lipid bilayer affects the diffusion of band-3 particles in the healthy and defective RBC membrane. In addition, we use atomic force microscopy to study the stiffness and adhesion of RBCs from patients with sickle cell disease. In particular, we have established an in vitro technique which enables detection of single BCAM/Lu proteins on the RBC surface and measures the binding force between BCAM/Lu and laminin-5. We showed that the expression of active BCAM/Lu receptors is higher in homozygous sickle RBCs (SS-RBCs) than normal RBCs and that it is critically dependent on the cAMP signaling pathway on both normal and SS-RBCs. Importantly, we illustrated that A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) are crucial for BCAM/Lu receptor activation.