Surface model of the human red blood cell simulating changes in membrane curvature under strain

Kuchel, Philip W. and Cox, Charles D. and Daners, Daniel and Shishmarev, Dmitry and Galvosas, Petrik (2021) Surface model of the human red blood cell simulating changes in membrane curvature under strain. Scientific Reports, 11 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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We present mathematical simulations of shapes of red blood cells (RBCs) and their cytoskeleton when they are subjected to linear strain. The cell surface is described by a previously reported quartic equation in three dimensional (3D) Cartesian space. Using recently available functions in Mathematica to triangularize the surfaces we computed four types of curvature of the membrane. We also mapped changes in mesh-triangle area and curvatures as the RBCs were distorted. The highly deformable red blood cell (erythrocyte; RBC) responds to mechanically imposed shape changes with enhanced glycolytic flux and cation transport. Such morphological changes are produced experimentally by suspending the cells in a gelatin gel, which is then elongated or compressed in a custom apparatus inside an NMR spectrometer. A key observation is the extent to which the maximum and minimum Principal Curvatures are localized symmetrically in patches at the poles or equators and distributed in rings around the main axis of the strained RBC. Changes on the nanometre to micro-meter scale of curvature, suggest activation of only a subset of the intrinsic mechanosensitive cation channels, Piezo1, during experiments carried out with controlled distortions, which persist for many hours. This finding is relevant to a proposal for non-uniform distribution of Piezo1 molecules around the RBC membrane. However, if the curvature that gates Piezo1 is at a very fine length scale, then membrane tension will determine local curvature; so, curvatures as computed here (in contrast to much finer surface irregularities) may not influence Piezo1 activity. Nevertheless, our analytical methods can be extended address these new mechanistic proposals. The geometrical reorganization of the simulated cytoskeleton informs ideas about the mechanism of concerted metabolic and cation-flux responses of the RBC to mechanically imposed shape changes.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2021 05:14
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 04:49

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