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Raman spectroscopy was used to monitor changes in the oxygenation state of human red blood cells while they were placed under mechanical stress with the use of optical tweezers. The applied force is intended to simulate the stretching and compression that cells experience as they pass through vessels and smaller capillaries. In this work, spectroscopic evidence of a transition between the oxygenation and deoxygenation states, which is induced by stretching the cell with optical tweezers, is presented. The transition is due to enhanced hemoglobin-membrane and hemoglobin neighbor-neighbor interactions, and the latter was further studied by modeling the electrostatic binding of two of the protein structures.

Original publication




Journal article


Biophys J

Publication Date





209 - 216


Cell Membrane, Erythrocytes, Hemoglobins, Humans, Models, Chemical, Models, Molecular, Optical Tweezers, Oxygen, Protein Binding, Spectrum Analysis, Raman, Static Electricity, Stress, Mechanical