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EMBO J. 2016 Aug 1;35(15):1603-12. doi: 10.15252/embj.201593517. Epub 2016 Jun 29.

Droplet organelles?

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
2
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA karla.neugebauer@yale.edu.

Abstract

Cells contain numerous, molecularly distinct cellular compartments that are not enclosed by lipid bilayers. These compartments are implicated in a wide range of cellular activities, and they have been variously described as bodies, granules, or organelles. Recent evidence suggests that a liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) process may drive their formation, possibly justifying the unifying term "droplet organelle". A veritable deluge of recent publications points to the importance of low-complexity proteins and RNA in determining the physical properties of phase-separated structures. Many of the proteins linked to such structures are implicated in human diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We provide an overview of the organizational principles that characterize putative "droplet organelles" in healthy and diseased cells, connecting protein biochemistry with cell physiology.

KEYWORDS:

Liquid‐liquid phase separation; RNP granules; low‐complexity domain; nuclear bodies

PMID:
27357569
PMCID:
PMC4969579
DOI:
10.15252/embj.201593517
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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