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Issue 15, 2016
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Modeling of band-3 protein diffusion in the normal and defective red blood cell membrane

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We employ a two-component red blood cell (RBC) membrane model to simulate lateral diffusion of band-3 proteins in the normal RBC and in the RBC with defective membrane proteins. The defects reduce the connectivity between the lipid bilayer and the membrane skeleton (vertical connectivity), or the connectivity of the membrane skeleton itself (horizontal connectivity), and are associated with the blood disorders of hereditary spherocytosis (HS) and hereditary elliptocytosis (HE) respectively. Initially, we demonstrate that the cytoskeleton limits band-3 lateral mobility by measuring the band-3 macroscopic diffusion coefficients in the normal RBC membrane and in a lipid bilayer without the cytoskeleton. Then, we study band-3 diffusion in the defective RBC membrane and quantify the relation between band-3 diffusion coefficients and percentage of protein defects in HE RBCs. In addition, we illustrate that at low spectrin network connectivity (horizontal connectivity) band-3 subdiffusion can be approximated as anomalous diffusion, while at high horizontal connectivity band-3 diffusion is characterized as confined diffusion. Our simulations show that the band-3 anomalous diffusion exponent depends on the percentage of protein defects in the membrane cytoskeleton. We also confirm that the introduction of attraction between the lipid bilayer and the spectrin network reduces band-3 diffusion, but we show that this reduction is lower than predicted by the percolation theory. Furthermore, we predict that the attractive force between the spectrin filament and the lipid bilayer is at least 20 times smaller than the binding forces at band-3 and glycophorin C, the two major membrane binding sites. Finally, we explore diffusion of band-3 particles in the RBC membrane with defects related to vertical connectivity. We demonstrate that in this case band-3 diffusion can be approximated as confined diffusion for all attraction levels between the spectrin network and the lipid bilayer. By comparing the diffusion coefficients measured in horizontal vs. vertical defects, we conclude that band-3 mobility is primarily controlled by the horizontal connectivity.

Graphical abstract: Modeling of band-3 protein diffusion in the normal and defective red blood cell membrane

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The article was received on 03 Oct 2014, accepted on 07 Mar 2016 and first published on 08 Mar 2016

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02201G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2016,12, 3643-3653
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    Modeling of band-3 protein diffusion in the normal and defective red blood cell membrane

    H. Li, Y. Zhang, V. Ha and G. Lykotrafitis, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 3643
    DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02201G

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