Mechanics of extracellular vesicles derived from malaria parasiteinfected Red Blood Cells

Raya Sorkin, Daan Vorselen, Yifat Ofir-Birin, Wouter H. Roos, Fred C. MacKintosh, Neta Regev-Rudzki, Gijs J. L. Wuite

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractAcademic

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Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes, with Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) causing the most severe form of malaria (1). Very recently it was discovered that Pf infected red blood cells (iRBC) directly transfer information between parasites within a population using exosome like-vesicles that are capable of delivering genes (2). This communication promotes parasite differentiation to sexual forms and is critical for its survival in the host and transmission to mosquitoes. Efficient DNA transfer via extracellular vesicles (EVs) occurs mainly at the early ring stage within the blood-stage asexual cycle, and it can be inhibited by the addition of actin polymerization inhibitors. This suggests that actin polymerization is required for cell-cell communication (2). We expect, therefore that mechanical properties of vesicles at different stages of the life cycle will be optimized for their gene-delivery function. With the aim to understand how mechanical properties of EVs effect their efficiency of cargo delivery, we use Atomic Force Microscopy for mechanical characterization of extracellular vesicles secreted from P-f infected RBCs. We compare bending modulus values of these vesicles and those secreted from healthy RBCs, as well as compare their size, morphology and surface charge. We also prepare and characterize synthetic vesicles (SVs) with varying mechanical strength to determine how stiffness of SVs affects their adhesion to cells and cellular uptake rate, to gain a broader understanding of the link between mechanical properties and efficient cellular uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Extracellular Vesicles
Publication statusPublished - 22-Dec-2016
EventThe fifth International Meeting of, ISEV, ISEV2016 - Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 4-May-20167-May-2016


  • actin polymerization
  • adhesion
  • atomic force microscopy
  • cell communication
  • DNA transfer
  • erythrocyte
  • exosome
  • life cycle
  • malaria
  • morphology
  • rigidity
  • surface charge


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