Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biophys J. 2001 Jul;81(1):43-56.

Direct measurement of the area expansion and shear moduli of the human red blood cell membrane skeleton.

Author information

Laboratoire de Biorhéologie et d'Hydrodynamique Physico-Chimique, ESA 7057 associée au CNRS et aux Universités Paris 6 et Paris 7, Paris, France.


The area expansion and the shear moduli of the free spectrin skeleton, freshly extracted from the membrane of a human red blood cell (RBC), are measured by using optical tweezers micromanipulation. An RBC is trapped by three silica beads bound to its membrane. After extraction, the skeleton is deformed by applying calibrated forces to the beads. The area expansion modulus K(C) and shear modulus mu(C) of the two-dimensional spectrin network are inferred from the deformations measured as functions of the applied stress. In low hypotonic buffer (25 mOsm/kg), one finds K(C) = 4.8 +/- 2.7 microN/m, mu(C) = 2.4 +/- 0.7 microN/m, and K(C)/mu(C) = 1.9 +/- 1.0. In isotonic buffer, one measures higher values for K(C), mu(C), and K(C)/mu(C), partly because the skeleton collapses in a high-ionic-strength environment. Some data concerning the time evolution of the mechanical properties of the skeleton after extraction and the influence of ATP are also reported. In the Discussion, it is shown that the measured values are consistent with estimates deduced from experiments carried out on the intact membrane and agree with theoretical and numerical predictions concerning two-dimensional networks of entropic springs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center