Sickle hemoglobin fibers - self assembly, interactions, growth and depolymerisation

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

Sickle hemoglobin fibers - self assembly, interactions, growth and depolymerisation

  • Event time: 1:00pm
  • Event date: 9th June 2008
  • Speaker: Matthew Turner (Warwick University)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

It has been known for many years that hemoglobin can aggregate into 'crosslinked gels' within the red blood cells of carriers of the defective sickle hemoglobin gene. However it is only relatively recently that we have started to understand the properties of the individual fibers that make up this gel. These fibers exhibit a variety of striking properties. They have preferred diameters that are larger than the size of the single monomer, and may therefore not be set by this length scale alone. Parallel fibers 'zipper' together into bundles due to interactions that we have been able to quantify rather precisely. The fiber growth rate constants can be sufficient to distort the shape of the red cell membrane and the fiber. Finally the fiber has a novel depolymerisation mechanism that involves two rate constants giving rise to a time scale for complete depolymerisation that is insensitive to the initial fiber length.

About Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

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