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Nat Commun. 2019 Jul 19;10(1):3230. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11241-6.

RNA is a critical element for the sizing and the composition of phase-separated RNA-protein condensates.

Author information

1
PASTEUR, Department of Chemistry, École Normale Supérieure, PSL University, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, 75005, Paris, France.
2
Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Institut de Biologie Paris-Seine (IBPS), Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement, F-75005, Paris, France.
3
School of Arts and Sciences, Lebanese International University (LIU), Beirut, Lebanon.
4
Faculty of Sciences, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon.
5
CNRS UMR-9196, Institut Gustave Roussy, F-94800, Villejuif, France.
6
PASTEUR, Department of Chemistry, École Normale Supérieure, PSL University, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, 75005, Paris, France. zoher.gueroui@ens.fr.

Abstract

Liquid-liquid phase separation is thought to be a key organizing principle in eukaryotic cells to generate highly concentrated dynamic assemblies, such as the RNP granules. Numerous in vitro approaches have validated this model, yet a missing aspect is to take into consideration the complex molecular mixture and promiscuous interactions found in vivo. Here we report the versatile scaffold ArtiG to generate concentration-dependent RNA-protein condensates within living cells, as a bottom-up approach to study the impact of co-segregated endogenous components on phase separation. We demonstrate that intracellular RNA seeds the nucleation of the condensates, as it provides molecular cues to locally coordinate the formation of endogenous high-order RNP assemblies. Interestingly, the co-segregation of intracellular components ultimately impacts the size of the phase-separated condensates. Thus, RNA arises as an architectural element that can influence the composition and the morphological outcome of the condensate phases in an intracellular context.

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