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Trends Cell Biol. 2018 Jun;28(6):420-435. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2018.02.004. Epub 2018 Mar 27.

Protein Phase Separation: A New Phase in Cell Biology.

Author information

1
Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA; KU Leuven, Department of Neurosciences, Experimental Neurology and Leuven Research Institute for Neuroscience and Disease (LIND), Leuven, Belgium; VIB, Center for Brain and Disease Research, Laboratory of Neurobiology, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address: sboeynae@stanford.edu.
2
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany.
3
Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.
4
Department of Structural Biology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.
5
Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
6
Switch Laboratory, VIB, Leuven, Belgium; KU Leuven, Department for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Leuven, Belgium.
7
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
8
Department of Pharmacology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
9
KU Leuven, Department of Neurosciences, Experimental Neurology and Leuven Research Institute for Neuroscience and Disease (LIND), Leuven, Belgium; VIB, Center for Brain and Disease Research, Laboratory of Neurobiology, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address: ludo.vandenbosch@kuleuven.vib.be.
10
VIB, Center for Structural Biology (CSB), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium; Institute of Enzymology, Research Centre for Natural Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary. Electronic address: peter.tompa@vub.vib.be.
11
MTA-DE Laboratory of Protein Dynamics, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary. Electronic address: fmoni@med.unideb.hu.

Abstract

Cellular compartments and organelles organize biological matter. Most well-known organelles are separated by a membrane boundary from their surrounding milieu. There are also many so-called membraneless organelles and recent studies suggest that these organelles, which are supramolecular assemblies of proteins and RNA molecules, form via protein phase separation. Recent discoveries have shed light on the molecular properties, formation, regulation, and function of membraneless organelles. A combination of techniques from cell biology, biophysics, physical chemistry, structural biology, and bioinformatics are starting to help establish the molecular principles of an emerging field, thus paving the way for exciting discoveries, including novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of age-related disorders.

PMID:
29602697
PMCID:
PMC6034118
DOI:
10.1016/j.tcb.2018.02.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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