New research may help to explain an intriguing phenomenon inside human cells: how wall-less liquid organelles are able to coexist as separate entities instead of just merging together.
The results — published on Aug. 22 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society — point to the chemical structure of protein and RNA molecules within the droplets as one key factor that may prevent MLOs from mixing.
The team found that certain types of RNA and proteins are “stickier” than others, enabling them to form gelatinous droplets that don’t fuse easily with other droplets in the same viscoelastic state. Specifically, droplets are more likely to be gel-like when they contain RNA molecules rich in a building block called purine, and proteins rich in an amino acid called arginine. Paper. (open access) – Ibraheem Alshareedah, Taranpreet Kaur, Jason Ngo, Hannah Seppala, Liz-Audrey Djomnang Kounatse, Wei Wang, Mahdi Muhammad Moosa, Priya R. Banerjee. Interplay between Short-Range Attraction and Long-Range Repulsion Controls Reentrant Liquid Condensation of Ribonucleoprotein–RNA Complexes. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2019; 141 (37): 14593 DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b03689 More.
They know what they are without a membrane, just by being gelatinous.
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In nature, cells have “secret conversations”
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