Matt Gethers/20.380 HIV Project/Meeting Notes/3.4.08 (Final Cut on Design Ideas)

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3.4.08 (Final Cut on Design Ideas)

To Do

Make list of issues/questions to consider in implementing the engineered T-Cell idea.

Make list of issues/questions to consider in implementing the engineered RBC idea.


  • What do we need to put into the person? What stage of progenitor cells? - (done!)
  • Immunity issues with progenitor cells? - Rob
  • How are RBCs removed/recycled from body? - Courtney
  • Can HIV infect progenitor cells? - Matt
  • How to couple CD4 expression, etc with RBC differentiation? - Rob
  • Malaria - Courtney
  • What's necessary and sufficient for HIV infection? - Matt
  • What to do with HIV once in cell? Do we need it to do anything? - Rob
  • How to prevent HIV from leaving RBC? - Jessie
  • Death switch? - Jessie
  • Exploding RBCs? - David
  • Any natural conditions where RBCs die or explode? - David
    • A normal erythrocyte has a volume of about 90 fL=9.0 X 10^-17 L (a third of which is hemoglobin only freed up if we knock it out)
    • HIV is roughly a sphere of diameter 120nm --> volume of 9.05 X 10^-22 L
    • A normal RBC can theoretically hold a maximum of ~100,000 HIV virions if it has nothing else inside, including water
    • Damaged/misshapen RBCs are naturally destroyed in the spleen (i.e. anything but biconcave cells)
    • There is an entire class of disorders classified as "Hemolytic anemia" where RBCs are broken down prematurely/too much (
    • Some are congenital
      • misshapen membrane
      • metabolic defects
      • sickle-cell anemia
      • thalassaemia
    • Some are acquired
      • autoimmune disorders
      • some drugs (ribavirin)
      • toxins
      • malaria and some other infections
    • Questions:
      • How many copies of HIV do we expect each RBC to hold? (question for modeling)
      • Can't find any papers on what happens when HIV virions aggregate in a small volume (could anything bad/unexpected happen? cross-linking?)
      • If we knock out hemoglobin, do we need to worry about too little osmotic pressure inside? Is Hb just replaced by ions from blood?
  • Take out hemoglobin? Anything else to knock out? - Yi
  • Pathologies of RBCs - esp. sickle cell anemia, thalassemia - Yi
  • Ideal concentration of RBC progenitors? - Steph
  • How to get into bone marrow? Easy injection method? - Steph
  • Role of progenitors? - Steph

Make list of issues/questions to consider in implementing the superinfection idea.


  • Does superinfection apply across strains?
  • Fidelity of superinfection? How often does it fail?

- Matt

  1. Divide work for presentation next week (3/12/09)
  2. Modify calendar to reflect changes in schedule.


Seven Ideas

Follow Up


  • Cell Lineage Map
    • Need to start with hematapoeic stem cell
      • knock out other lineages? (maybe we could leave them? would it be a problem?)