Nucleation and growth of fibres and gel formation in sickle cell haemoglobin

Raymond E. Samuel, E. D. Salmont, Robin W. Briehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

DEOXYGENATED sickle haemoglobin polymerizes into long 210-Å diameter fibres that distort and decrease the deformability of red blood cells, and cause sickle cell disease. The fibres consist of seven intertwined double strands1-3. They can form birefringent nematic liquid crystals (tactoids)4 and spherulites5,6. Rheologically, the system behaves as a gel7,8. The equilibria show a phase separation and a solubility9-14. The reaction kinetics show a delay time, are then roughly exponential and are highly dependent on concentration and temperature9,10,15-18, and accord with the double nucleation model5,19. But these conclusions are derived from macroscopic data, without direct observation of individual fibres. We have now used non-invasive video-enhanced differential interference contrast (DIC) and dark-field microscopy to observe nucleation, growth and interaction of sickle deoxyhaemoglobin fibres in real time. The fibres originate both from centres that produce many radially distributed fibres and on the surface of pre-existing fibres, from which they then branch. The resulting network is cross-linked and dynamic in that it is flexible and continues to grow and cross-link. Our results support most aspects of the double nucleation model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-835
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume345
Issue number6278
StatePublished - Jun 28 1990

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Sickle Hemoglobin
Gels
Liquid Crystals
Sickle Cell Anemia
Growth
Microscopy
Erythrocytes
Observation
sickle deoxyhemoglobin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Samuel, R. E., Salmont, E. D., & Briehl, R. W. (1990). Nucleation and growth of fibres and gel formation in sickle cell haemoglobin. Nature, 345(6278), 833-835.

Nucleation and growth of fibres and gel formation in sickle cell haemoglobin. / Samuel, Raymond E.; Salmont, E. D.; Briehl, Robin W.

In: Nature, Vol. 345, No. 6278, 28.06.1990, p. 833-835.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Samuel, RE, Salmont, ED & Briehl, RW 1990, 'Nucleation and growth of fibres and gel formation in sickle cell haemoglobin', Nature, vol. 345, no. 6278, pp. 833-835.
Samuel RE, Salmont ED, Briehl RW. Nucleation and growth of fibres and gel formation in sickle cell haemoglobin. Nature. 1990 Jun 28;345(6278):833-835.
Samuel, Raymond E. ; Salmont, E. D. ; Briehl, Robin W. / Nucleation and growth of fibres and gel formation in sickle cell haemoglobin. In: Nature. 1990 ; Vol. 345, No. 6278. pp. 833-835.
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N2 - DEOXYGENATED sickle haemoglobin polymerizes into long 210-Å diameter fibres that distort and decrease the deformability of red blood cells, and cause sickle cell disease. The fibres consist of seven intertwined double strands1-3. They can form birefringent nematic liquid crystals (tactoids)4 and spherulites5,6. Rheologically, the system behaves as a gel7,8. The equilibria show a phase separation and a solubility9-14. The reaction kinetics show a delay time, are then roughly exponential and are highly dependent on concentration and temperature9,10,15-18, and accord with the double nucleation model5,19. But these conclusions are derived from macroscopic data, without direct observation of individual fibres. We have now used non-invasive video-enhanced differential interference contrast (DIC) and dark-field microscopy to observe nucleation, growth and interaction of sickle deoxyhaemoglobin fibres in real time. The fibres originate both from centres that produce many radially distributed fibres and on the surface of pre-existing fibres, from which they then branch. The resulting network is cross-linked and dynamic in that it is flexible and continues to grow and cross-link. Our results support most aspects of the double nucleation model.

AB - DEOXYGENATED sickle haemoglobin polymerizes into long 210-Å diameter fibres that distort and decrease the deformability of red blood cells, and cause sickle cell disease. The fibres consist of seven intertwined double strands1-3. They can form birefringent nematic liquid crystals (tactoids)4 and spherulites5,6. Rheologically, the system behaves as a gel7,8. The equilibria show a phase separation and a solubility9-14. The reaction kinetics show a delay time, are then roughly exponential and are highly dependent on concentration and temperature9,10,15-18, and accord with the double nucleation model5,19. But these conclusions are derived from macroscopic data, without direct observation of individual fibres. We have now used non-invasive video-enhanced differential interference contrast (DIC) and dark-field microscopy to observe nucleation, growth and interaction of sickle deoxyhaemoglobin fibres in real time. The fibres originate both from centres that produce many radially distributed fibres and on the surface of pre-existing fibres, from which they then branch. The resulting network is cross-linked and dynamic in that it is flexible and continues to grow and cross-link. Our results support most aspects of the double nucleation model.

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