Crystals on the surface of cells

We just published our latest discovery. There’s crystals on the surface of cells!
You can find them in this week’s issue of Blood (Link). An image from our paper made it to the cover, there was a very nice commentary written about it (Link) and it was selected as one of the issue highlights.
Yeah, these crystalline particles are beautiful by themselves (at least, I think so), but like the double-rainbow guy asks: “What does it all mean?” We think they form some kind of scaffold for molecular interaction. In the blood stream, this should help to keep blood clots together under the harsh conditions of flowing blood.
We described the basic mechanism for it a few months ago in The Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (Link). Although I wanted to keep the concept ‘under the radar’ until we had published the experimental evidence, it ended up on the cover of JTH as well. Oops! Well, at least I have some decoration for the walls of my room here at the UMC Utrecht.

If you want to read these papers, but don’t have access, please let me know via email. I can send a digital copy for personal use.

2 Responses to "Crystals on the surface of cells"

  1. Congrats Coen for this great finding! (and for “decorating” the Blood cover with it…That’s not everyday stuff!) Crystals on the surface of cells? I’ll read carefully
    (see you in Budapest on May?)

    • coen

      Hey Alberto! Thanks! Yeah they’re real. Composed of calcium and phosphate chains. Took some time to let it sink in myself. It’s difficult to imagine that cells expose solid spheres onto there surface. It has something to do with pH; inside the cell organelles it’s acidic, keeping the stuff gell-like. During release, pH changes and the stuff solidifies. That stuff resembles kaolin from the aPTT assays. Imagine that!
      Won’t be in Budapest unfortunately, I just found out there is a meeting this year.

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