Phase Separation

Phase Separation


A cell is the basic unit of biological structure and function. In order to organize each component to perform its functions correctly, cells have evolved a series of organelles, including membranous organelles (such as mitochondria, cell nucleus, lysosomes, etc.) and membrane-less organelles (nucleolus, etc.). In membranous organelles, the wrapped proteins and nucleic acids perform their functions in a specific space. It will cause serious consequences if they leave the specific location.

Membrane-less organelles in HeLa cellsFig 1. Membrane-less organelles in HeLa cells (Alberti, S. 2017)

Regarding how membrane-less organelles are formed, Hyman and Brangwynne proposed the concept of "phase separation" in 2009, which allows specific molecules to gather together to form a certain "order" inside the "chaotic" cells. Studies have shown that liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) may be the physical and chemical basis for the formation of membrane-less organelles, such as p bodies, nucleolus, stress granule, etc.

LLPS has also been reported to play an important role in the occurrence and development of some diseases (such as cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases). Nowadays, phase separation has become a research hotspot in life sciences, and related articles have also shown substantial growth in recent years.

An initial functional repertoire of biomolecular condensatesFig 2. An initial functional repertoire of biomolecular condensates (Hyman, A. A.; et al. 2014)

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At present, phase separation is a hot and attractive research field. Existing studies have shown that phase separation is widespread in cells, but its concept and application are still abstract. To help scientists to study phase separation more systematically, Creative Proteomics has established an advanced and first-class technology platform, in which customers can complete the detection of phase separation in vivo and the reconstruction of phase separation in vitro.


  1. Alberti, S. Phase separation in biology. Current Biology. 2017, 27: 1097-1102.
  2. Hyman, A. A.; et al. Liquid-liquid phase separation in biology. Annual review of cell and developmental biology. 2014, 30: 39-58.
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