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Theme 2 colloquium: 'Material properties of biological condensates' (Lecture)

Tuesday 8 March 2022Add to my calendar
from 16:00
Dr. Jorine Eeftens (RU- RIMLS Science)

Compartmentalizing biomolecules into organelles is essential for all forms of life. In recent years, many examples of a new class of organelles have been described: biomolecular condensates. These condensates lack a bounding membrane and are described as liquid-liquid phase-separated. However, the precise physical makeup of condensates has been heavily debated. The controversy stems from an oversimplified binary characterization as liquid or not, and the fact that condensates frequently exhibit properties unexpected for simple liquids. A full picture of how condensates contribute to biological function requires an understanding of their complex material properties, and how they might differ from simple liquids. I will discuss recent work that suggests the nucleolus, a prominent nuclear condensate, is a complex fluid that forms a slowly relaxing viscoelastic gel. We predict that many biological condensates are in fact complex fluids, and take advantage of this nature for robust assembly of macromolecular complexes.

prof. Willem Velema dr. Evan Spruijt & dr. Peter Korevaar