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Red blood cell enucleation


Prior to entering the blood stream, developing erythroid or red blood cells condense and expel their nucleus. This unusual process occurs millions of times per minute in a healthy adult, and is unique to mammals. However, our understanding of this process is very limited.


Dr Stuart Fraser.

Research location

Camperdown - School of Medical Sciences - Bosch Institute

Program type



Mammalian erythrocytes or red blood cells circulate without a nucleus. During development in the bone marrow, erythroid progenitors expand, mature and condense and expel their nucleus. This is estimated to occur 2 millions/second in a healthy adult human. The processes that regulate this event are extremely poorly defined. Interestingly, enucleation is restricted to mammals. All mammals possess enucleated red blood cells whereas erythrocytes of birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish all possess their nuclei. We are very interested in exploring the processes by which mammalian erythroid cells condense and expel their nuclei and asking why other vertebrates do not.

Additional information

This topic is also available for Honours students.

Methodologies used in this project will include flow cytometry, cell culture and protein analysis.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1165

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