- Enzymes within the de novo purine biosynthetic pathway spatially organize into dynamic intracellular assemblies called purinosomes. The formation of purinosomes has been correlated with growth conditions resulting in high purine demand, and therefore, the cellular advantage of complexation has been hypothesized to enhance metabolite flux through the pathway. However, the properties of this cellular structure are unclear. Here, we define the purinosome in a transient expression system as a biomolecular condensate using fluorescence microscopy.
- Liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) is a biological phenomenon wherein a metastable and concentrated droplet phase of biomolecules spontaneously forms. A link may exist between LLPS of proteins and the disease-related process of amyloid fibril formation; however, this connection is not fully understood. Here, we investigated the relationship between LLPS and aggregation of the C-terminal domain of TAR DNA-binding protein 43, an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis–related protein known to both phase separate and form amyloids, by monitoring conformational changes during droplet aging using Raman spectroscopy.
- Formation of biomolecular condensates through liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) has been described for several pathogenic proteins linked to neurodegenerative diseases and is discussed as an early step in the formation of protein aggregates with neurotoxic properties. In prion diseases, neurodegeneration and formation of infectious prions is caused by aberrant folding of the cellular prion protein (PrPC). PrPC is characterized by a large intrinsically disordered N-terminal domain and a structured C-terminal globular domain.
- Tau is a microtubule-associated protein that plays a major role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other tauopathies. Recent reports indicate that, in the presence of crowding agents, tau can undergo liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS), forming highly dynamic liquid droplets. Here, using recombinantly expressed proteins, turbidimetry, fluorescence microscopy imaging, and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) assays, we show that the divalent transition metal zinc strongly promotes this process, shifting the equilibrium phase boundary to lower protein or crowding agent concentrations.