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      mRNA structure determines specificity of a polyQ-driven phase separation

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          Abstract

          RNA promotes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) to build membraneless compartments in cells. How distinct molecular compositions are established and maintained in these liquid compartments is unknown. Here, we report that secondary structure allows mRNAs to self-associate and determines whether an mRNA is recruited to or excluded from liquid compartments. The polyQ-protein Whi3 induces conformational changes in RNA structure and generates distinct molecular fluctuations depending on the RNA sequence. These data support a model in which structure-based, RNA-RNA interactions promote assembly of distinct droplets and protein-driven, conformational dynamics of the RNA maintain this identity. Thus, the shape of RNA can promote the formation and coexistence of the diverse array of RNA-rich liquid compartments found in a single cell.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Fiji: an open-source platform for biological-image analysis.

          Fiji is a distribution of the popular open-source software ImageJ focused on biological-image analysis. Fiji uses modern software engineering practices to combine powerful software libraries with a broad range of scripting languages to enable rapid prototyping of image-processing algorithms. Fiji facilitates the transformation of new algorithms into ImageJ plugins that can be shared with end users through an integrated update system. We propose Fiji as a platform for productive collaboration between computer science and biology research communities.
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            Biomolecular condensates: organizers of cellular biochemistry

            In addition to membrane-bound organelles, eukaryotic cells feature various membraneless compartments, including the centrosome, the nucleolus and various granules. Many of these compartments form through liquid–liquid phase separation, and the principles, mechanisms and regulation of their assembly as well as their cellular functions are now beginning to emerge.
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              Liquid phase condensation in cell physiology and disease.

              Phase transitions are ubiquitous in nonliving matter, and recent discoveries have shown that they also play a key role within living cells. Intracellular liquid-liquid phase separation is thought to drive the formation of condensed liquid-like droplets of protein, RNA, and other biomolecules, which form in the absence of a delimiting membrane. Recent studies have elucidated many aspects of the molecular interactions underlying the formation of these remarkable and ubiquitous droplets and the way in which such interactions dictate their material properties, composition, and phase behavior. Here, we review these exciting developments and highlight key remaining challenges, particularly the ability of liquid condensates to both facilitate and respond to biological function and how their metastability may underlie devastating protein aggregation diseases.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                0036-8075
                1095-9203
                May 24 2018
                May 25 2018
                May 25 2018
                April 12 2018
                : 360
                : 6391
                : 922-927
                Article
                10.1126/science.aar7432
                © 2018

                http://www.sciencemag.org/about/science-licenses-journal-article-reuse

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