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Proteomics. 2018 Mar;18(5-6):e1700193. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201700193. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Intrinsically Disordered Proteome of Human Membrane-Less Organelles.

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Department of Molecular Medicine and USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Research Institute, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory for Plant Epigenetics, Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Microbial Genetic Engineering, College of Life Sciences and Oceanography, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, Guangdong, P. R. China.
Department of Computer Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.
Institute for Biological Instrumentation, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow Region, Russia.


It is recognized now that various proteinaceous membrane-less organelles (PMLOs) are commonly found in cytoplasm, nucleus, and mitochondria of various eukaryotic cells (as well as in the chloroplasts of plant cells). Being different from the "traditional" membrane-encapsulated organelles, such as chloroplasts, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, mitochondria, nucleus, and vacuoles, PMLOs solve the cellular need to facilitate and regulate molecular interactions via reversible and controllable isolation of target molecules in specialized compartments. PMLOs possess liquid-like behavior and are believed to be formed as a result of biological liquid-liquid phase transitions (LLPTs, also known as liquid-liquid phase separation), where an intricate interplay between RNA and intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) or hybrid proteins containing ordered domains and intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDPRs) may play an important role. This review analyzes the prevalence of intrinsic disorder in proteins associated with various PMLOs found in human cells and considers some of the functional roles of IDPs/IDPRs in biogenesis of these organelles.


intrinsically disordered proteins; liquid-liquid phase transition; phase separation; protein-nucleic acid interactions; proteinaceous membrane-less organelle

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