Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Cell. 2016 Jun 16;165(7):1686-1697. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.04.047. Epub 2016 May 19.

Coexisting Liquid Phases Underlie Nucleolar Subcompartments.

Author information

1
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
2
Department of Physics, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA; Department of Biomedical Engineering and Center for Biological Systems Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.
3
Department of Structural Biology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38103, USA.
4
Department of Biomedical Engineering and Center for Biological Systems Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.
5
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA. Electronic address: cbrangwy@princeton.edu.

Abstract

The nucleolus and other ribonucleoprotein (RNP) bodies are membrane-less organelles that appear to assemble through phase separation of their molecular components. However, many such RNP bodies contain internal subcompartments, and the mechanism of their formation remains unclear. Here, we combine in vivo and in vitro studies, together with computational modeling, to show that subcompartments within the nucleolus represent distinct, coexisting liquid phases. Consistent with their in vivo immiscibility, purified nucleolar proteins phase separate into droplets containing distinct non-coalescing phases that are remarkably similar to nucleoli in vivo. This layered droplet organization is caused by differences in the biophysical properties of the phases-particularly droplet surface tension-which arises from sequence-encoded features of their macromolecular components. These results suggest that phase separation can give rise to multilayered liquids that may facilitate sequential RNA processing reactions in a variety of RNP bodies. PAPERCLIP.

PMID:
27212236
PMCID:
PMC5127388
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2016.04.047
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center