Assemblages: functional units formed by cellular phase separation.
Bottom Line: The partitioning of intracellular space beyond membrane-bound organelles can be achieved with collections of proteins that are multivalent or contain low-complexity, intrinsically disordered regions.These proteins can undergo a physical phase change to form functional granules or other entities within the cytoplasm or nucleoplasm that collectively we term "assemblage." Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) play an important role in forming a subset of cellular assemblages by promoting phase separation.Recent work points to an involvement of assemblages in disease states, indicating that intrinsic disorder and phase transitions should be considered in the development of therapeutics.
Affiliation: Department of Oncology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057 firstname.lastname@example.org.Show MeSH
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Mentions: Protein–protein or protein–RNA interactions in an assemblage are multivalent and dynamic, and can be mediated by IDRs of low-complexity or multivalent folded protein domains (Fig. 1). IDPs play an important role in assemblages based upon their ability to dynamically associate either homotypically or heterotypically. The emergent properties that occur in response to a phase transition include the ability to bind RNA or protein in novel interactions (Fig. 1). Polymer physics, including the theories of P. Flory and W. Stockmayer, can contribute to the numerical modeling of assemblages (for a review and detailed discussion of analytical models, see Falkenberg et al., 2013). To discuss the phenomenon of assemblage, an understanding of the biochemical and biophysical underpinnings of phase transitions leading to separation is necessary.
Affiliation: Department of Oncology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057 email@example.com.