bims-fascar Biomed News
on Phase separation and cellular architecture
Issue of 2019‒11‒24
one paper selected by
Victoria Yan
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


  1. Trends Cell Biol. 2019 Nov 18. pii: S0962-8924(19)30179-5. [Epub ahead of print]
    Söding J, Zwicker D, Sohrabi-Jahromi S, Boehning M, Kirschbaum J.
      Liquid-liquid phase separation is a key organizational principle in eukaryotic cells, on par with intracellular membranes. It allows cells to concentrate specific proteins into condensates, increasing reaction rates and achieving switch-like regulation. We propose two active mechanisms that can explain how cells regulate condensate formation and size. In both, the cell regulates the activity of an enzyme, often a kinase, that adds post-translational modifications to condensate proteins. In enrichment inhibition, the enzyme enriches in the condensate and weakens interactions, as seen in stress granules (SGs), Cajal bodies, and P granules. In localization-induction, condensates form around immobilized enzymes that strengthen interactions, as observed in DNA repair, transmembrane signaling, and microtubule assembly. These models can guide studies into the many emerging roles of biomolecular condensates.
    Keywords:  Cajal bodies; DNA repair; membraneless organelles; size control; stress granules; synapsin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcb.2019.10.006