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Time-Resolved Observations of Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation at the Nanoscale using in situ Liquid Transmission Electron Microscopy.

08:00 EDT 15th April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Time-Resolved Observations of Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation at the Nanoscale using in situ Liquid Transmission Electron Microscopy."

Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) of proteins into concentrated microdroplets (also called coacervation) is a phenomenon that is increasingly recognized to occur in many biological processes, both inside and outside the cell. While it has been established that LLPS can be described as a spinodal decomposition leading to demixing of an initially homogenous protein solution, little is known about the assembly pathways by which soluble proteins aggregate into dense microdroplets. Using a recently developed technique enabling the observation of matter suspended in liquid by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), we observed how a model intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) phase-separates in liquid environment. Our observations reveal for the first time dynamic mechanisms by which soluble proteins self-organize into condensed microdroplets with nano-scale and milli-second space and time resolution, respectively. With this method, the nucleation and initial growth steps of LLPS could be captured, opening the door for a deeper understanding of biomacromolecular complexes exhibiting LLPS ability.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Journal of the American Chemical Society
ISSN: 1520-5126
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