"The surface of human red blood cells after treatment with an antibiotic peptide"

Dr Luciano Paulino Silva. Embrapa Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnologia (Brazil)

Image Description:
Phyllomelittin is a novel antibiotic peptide isolated from the skin of the monkey frog Phyllomedusa hypochondrialis. It has been demonstrated that antibiotic peptides exert their activities by disrupting cell membranes. Therefore, the study of the effects of such peptides on cell membranes has been the focus of intense research efforts using the atomic force microscopy (AFM). The aim of this study was to investigate the surface of human red blood cells (RBCs) after treatment with phyllomelittin. The cells were deposited onto a glass slide (blue) and fixed with methanol for 5 minutes. The image shows the intermittent contact mode topography (14.5 µm x 14.5 µm x 819 nm) of three RBCs after 25 minutes of incubation with phyllomelittin at 32 µM. A large number of elevations of few nanometers (yellow) were found to be distributed heterogeneously on the RBCs surface (red), presumably reflecting the regions of the cell membrane disrupted by and/or interacting with phyllomelittin molecules.


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