Dresden 2020 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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CPP: Fachverband Chemische Physik und Polymerphysik

CPP 11: Focus: Phase Separation in Biological Systems I (joint session BP/CPP)

CPP 11.10: Vortrag

Montag, 16. März 2020, 12:30–12:45, SCH A251

Brillouin microscopy studies on phase separated FUS protein droplets — •Timon Beck1,2, Mark Leaver2, Raimund Schlüssler2, and Jochen Guck1,21Max-Planck-Institut für die Physik des Lichts, Erlangen — 2Biotec TUD, Dresden

The reversible phase separation of protein-RNA condensates plays an important role in intracellular organization and is involved, for example, in metabolic control and DNA repair. These phase-separated compartments can undergo an irreversible solidification, which has been associated with neurodegenerative diseases. This phenomenon has been mostly studied qualitatively and indirectly, and a direct quantitative determination of the bulk material properties during the solidification is still missing. Here, we use Brillouin microscopy to investigate phase-separated FUS protein droplets in vitro. Brillouin microscopy is a non-invasive technique which measures optomechanical properties with optical resolution using (spontaneous) Brillouin scattering. This non-elastic scattering process occurs when light is scattered by (thermally excited) soundwaves. Quantification of the Brillouin frequency shift gives direct access to the longitudinal modulus, refractive index and mass density, while the linewidth is linked to the viscosity. We followed the solidification of FUS protein droplets over time in a controlled environment monitoring the changes in Brillouin shift and linewidth. Our measurements aim to reveal the relevant time-scales and the impact of different buffer conditions on the solidification process. This establishes Brillouin microscopy as a promising quantitative tool for unraveling the mechanisms of this type of phase transition.

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