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Open AccessFeature PaperReview

Evidence for and against Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation in the Nucleus

by Peng A 1 and Stephanie C. Weber 1,2,*
1
Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 1B1, Canada
2
Department of Physics, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 2T8, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Non-Coding RNA 2019, 5(4), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/ncrna5040050
Received: 3 October 2019 / Revised: 23 October 2019 / Accepted: 29 October 2019 / Published: 1 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Coding RNA and Intracellular Structures)
Enclosed by two membranes, the nucleus itself is comprised of various membraneless compartments, including nuclear bodies and chromatin domains. These compartments play an important though still poorly understood role in gene regulation. Significant progress has been made in characterizing the dynamic behavior of nuclear compartments and liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) has emerged as a prominent mechanism governing their assembly. However, recent work reveals that certain nuclear structures violate key predictions of LLPS, suggesting that alternative mechanisms likely contribute to nuclear organization. Here, we review the evidence for and against LLPS for several nuclear compartments and discuss experimental strategies to identify the mechanism(s) underlying their assembly. We propose that LLPS, together with multiple modes of protein-nucleic acid binding, drive spatiotemporal organization of the nucleus and facilitate functional diversity among nuclear compartments. View Full-Text
Keywords: liquid-liquid phase separation; nuclear bodies; nucleolus; heterochromatin; paraspeckles; transcriptional condensates; replication compartments liquid-liquid phase separation; nuclear bodies; nucleolus; heterochromatin; paraspeckles; transcriptional condensates; replication compartments
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A, P.; Weber, S.C. Evidence for and against Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation in the Nucleus. Non-Coding RNA 2019, 5, 50.

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