Deciphering the mechanotransductional effects in red blood cells
through interendothelial splenic slits
Team: Anne Charrier (CINAM) - Charlotte Perrin (I2M)
November 2020 - present | CENTURI PhD student
2018 - 2020 | MSc Physics - IIT Bombay, Mumbai (India)
2015 - 2018 | BSc Physics - University of Hyderabad (India)
About his PhD project
Although their apparent simple morphology, red blood cells (RBCs) are very deformable with well-adjusted rheological and mechanotransductional properties enabling their fast, efficient and resilient transport into the microvasculature. In the spleen, RBCs pass the most stringent physical fitness test of the blood circulation, consisting in squeezing through submicronic splenic slits where they undergo extreme deformations. This test is believed to filter RBCs by retaining the stiff ones. But the mechanisms, including the complex fluid-structure interactions that govern the cell dynamics through the slits are not known. CINAM has developed microfluidic chips with slits of physiological dimensions where RBCs are observed when crossing the slits. The mathematical laboratory I2M is specialist in complex fluid modeling, fluid mechanics, and collective motion. We will combine our expertise to decipher, both from experiments and mathematical modeling, the role of RBC rheological properties and active processes on their ability to cross the splenic filter. In particular, the active processes targeted by the project are the activation of the mechanosensitive ionic channel PIEZO1 and its interaction with the Gardos channel resulting in a possible modulation of the RBC volume.