Model of red blood cell membrane skeleton: Electrical and mechanical properties

M. M. Kozlov, V. S. Markin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A theoretical membrane skeleton model of erythrocyte has been developed and successfully applied to interpret electrical and mechanical properties of the red blood cell spectrin-actin network. The model is based on the structure of the membrane skeleton that is comprised of unit cells each containing an actin protofilament and shooting forth a few spectrin heterodimers. The loose ends of the heterodimers of adjacent cells can form bonds with each other giving rise to an integrated network. The number of bonds depends on the temperature. The bond length being excessive (2·6 times the distance between the centers of adjacent cells), the bonds are flexible, and can thus be regarded as entropy springs. The advanced model has been employed to calculate the shear modulus of the membrane skeleton as well as to establish its temperature dependence. In a wide range of temperatures μ(T) is a decreasing function well fitting the experimental data. The relationship between the membrane bilayer-free size of the skeleton and the ionic strength of the solution has been derived to appear in good agreement with the results obtained previously. Experimental data combined with the advanced theory yield the average number of heterodimers per unit cell, m0, as equal to ca. 5; the spectrin heterodimer charge has been estimated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-452
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 21 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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