How do the tiny, crowded, constantly moving molecules inside of cells come together to form functional structures such as organelles? Dr. Cliff Brangwynne explains that many of the organelles we are familiar with, such as the nucleus and the Golgi apparatus, are membrane bound. However, some organelles, such as P granules and nuclear bodies, are not surrounded by a membrane. Brangwynne and his colleagues have shown that these membrane-less organelles form by liquid-liquid phase separation, in a manner similar to the separation of oil and water. Brangwynne explains that intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) in proteins can drive phase separation and are likely important for the formation of structures like P granules. Interestingly, IDRs are also found in proteins associated with diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s where protein aggregation is thought to be important.
Very sweet stop-motion video by Princeton undergrad Diana Chen, explaining the key concepts in our papers, Bracha et.al. Cell 2018, and Shin et.al. Cell 2018
Video produced in 2018 by the Macarthur foundation, interviewing Cliff and explaining the impact of our discovery of intracellular phase separation.
Video recording of Cliff giving Kavli Symposium Talk at the 2019 American Physical Society Meeting in Boston.