bims-fascar Biomed News
on Phase separation and cellular architecture
Issue of 2020‒08‒09
one paper selected by
Victoria Yan
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


  1. Emerg Top Life Sci. 2020 Aug 03. pii: ETLS20190190. [Epub ahead of print]
    Hondele M, Heinrich S, De Los Rios P, Weis K.
      Over the past years, liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) has emerged as a ubiquitous principle of cellular organization implicated in many biological processes ranging from gene expression to cell division. The formation of biological condensates, like the nucleolus or stress granules, by LLPS is at its core a thermodynamic equilibrium process. However, life does not operate at equilibrium, and cells have evolved multiple strategies to keep condensates in a non-equilibrium state. In this review, we discuss how these non-equilibrium drivers counteract solidification and potentially detrimental aggregation, and at the same time enable biological condensates to perform work and control the flux of substrates and information in a spatial and temporal manner.
    Keywords:  cellular functions of biological condensates; liquid–liquid phase separation; membraneless organelles; non-equilibrium steady-state; protein chaperones and RNA helicases
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1042/ETLS20190190