New research into the changes that occur in red bloods cell during their maturation has been published in British Journal of Haematology.
Mature red blood cells are formed from haematopoetic stem cells in the bone marrow. Late in the formation process, spherical immature red blood cells, or reticulocytes, undergo dynamic morphological changes to become deformable biconcave erythrocytes, or normocytes.
The team at Singapore University of Technology and Design analysed changes in protein expression and cytoarchitecture that occur at this stage to understand the molecular basis for these changes.
Proteomic analysis resulted in the identification and quantification of over 1800 proteins, revealing important changes in structural components of the cell including tubulin and talin. Other structural proteins such as those of the spectrin family, although not changing in abundance, demonstrated dramatic rearrangement. Advanced microscopic imaging revealed that filaments in the spectrin-based network shrunk by approximately 20%, an event that could contribute to the change in shape and deformability of the cells.
Principal investigator Professor Chandramohanadas said: "This robust dataset on the protein composition of human red blood cells could help promote understanding of pathological conditions that affect blood cell maturation and function. Furthermore, these results will facilitate targeted analysis of interactions between blood cells and infectious agents - such as Plasmodium vivax malaria parasites which only infect young human reticulocuytes."
Source: Chu, T. T. T., Sinha, A., Malleret, B., Suwanarusk, R., Park, J. E., Naidu, R., Das, R., Dutta, B., Ong, S. T., Verma, N. K., Chan, J. K., Nosten, F., Rénia, L., Sze, S. K., Russell, B. and Chandramohanadas, R. (2017), Quantitative mass spectrometry of human reticulocytes reveal proteome-wide modifications during maturation. Br J Haematol. doi:10.1111/bjh.14976
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