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 11.9: Vortrag

Montag, 16. März 2020, 12:15–12:30, SCH A251

Shedding light on biomolecular condensates: optical trapping of protein & RNA liquids — •Marcus Jahnel1, 2, Titus M. Franzmann1, 2, Simon Alberti1, 2, and Stephan W. Grill1, 21Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany — 2BIOTEC / TU Dresden, Dresden, Germany

Membraneless organelles formed by liquid-liquid phase separation of proteins and RNAs influence vital aspects of cellular biology. However, the transient nature and broad chemical combinatorics of the underlying weak molecular interactions makes these materials challenging to study and reason about, requiring new approaches to make progress.

Optical tweezers use changes in light’s linear momentum to measure or apply tiny molecular forces and displacements accurately. This ability has revolutionized single-molecule experiments but also bears great potential to unravel the physics of mesoscopic biomolecular assemblies.

Here, we demonstrate the use of high-resolution dual-trap optical tweezers to study various aspects of biomolecular condensation phenomena, bridging the scales from the single-molecule level to microscopic collections and multi-component mixtures of intrinsically disordered proteins and RNAs. Using this approach, we highlight the rules governing the liquid-to-solid transition in prion-like protein liquids and the influence of RNA-to-protein ratios on the material properties of compositionally complex biomolecular condensates.

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