Special Issue "Function and Dysfunction of Phase Separations and Transitions Driven by Intrinsically Disordered Protein Regions"

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Proteins and Proteomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Sonia Longhi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Architecture and Function of Biological Macromolecules (AFMB), UMR 7257 CNRS & Aix-Marseille University, 13288 Marseille, France
Interests: intrinsically disordered proteins; folding copuled to binding; protein-protein interactions; structural transitions; paramyxoviruses
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Stefano Gianni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biochemical Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
Interests: protein folding; protein dynamics and disorder; protein-protein recognition
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last decade, it has become increasingly evident that intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDPRs), either alone or in the presence of nucleic acids, have the ability to undergo liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS), a process also known as de-mixing and leading to the formation of a condensed phase surrounded by, and dynamically interchanging with, a dispersed phase. LLPS, which has been found to occur in the cell cytoplasm, in the nucleoplasm, as well as in vitro for many purified proteins, has attracted much interest, as it drives the formation of membrane-less organelles (MLOs) (e.g., Cajal bodies, processing bodies, nucleolus, stress granules, centrosomes and aggresomes), whose function is essential for the cell and whose dysfunction is associated with various pathologies, including age-related disorders. Indeed, these biological condensates play a critical role in the spatiotemporal organization of the cell, where they exert a multitude of key biological functions, ranging from transcriptional regulation and silencing to the control of signal transduction networks. Compelling experimental evidence gathered in the last decade has converged to show that phase separation is a ubiquitous principle in cellular organization, underlying many biological processes, the list of which is growing rapidly. These liquid condensates can undergo “maturation” towards a gel or solid state, the phenomenon being referred to as phase transition. This transition is often associated with a pathological condition. IDPRs are indeed known to form amyloid-like structures via the formation of hydrogels. Beyond the formation of MLOs, LLPS also underlies the formation of viral factories, i.e., liquid-like inclusions in which viral transcription and replication, as well as assembly, take place.

The growing number of research articles focused on LLPS (now approaching 3000) has contributed, in the last decade, to highlighting the physiological and pathological relevance of LLPS. The aim of this Special Issue is to contribute to the development of the field and fuel additional studies aimed at gathering information on proteins undergoing LLPS in a structured and knowledgeable manner, while providing a wide range of information on the biophysical driving forces, the biological function and the regulation of these systems.

Dr. Sonia Longhi
Prof. Dr. Stefano Gianni
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Life is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • intrinsically disordered proteins and protein regions
  • liquid–liquid phase separation
  • phase transition and fibrillation
  • membrane-less organelles
  • liquid-like viral factories.

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Author: Peter Tompa
Affiliation: VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
Back to TopTop