McKelvey School of Engineering

Uncovering molecular grammar

Liquid-liquid phase separation of a prion-like RNA binding protein in vitro. Photo by Jie Wang / MPI-CBG

Collaborative team deciphers the protein sequence-encoded mechanism that drives phase separation

From the WashU School of Engineering & Applied Science News

An international research collaboration including engineers from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a protein sequence mechanism that triggers phase separation deep within a single cell.

Their findings, published in Cell, could provide insights into age-related diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and some cancers.

The team–comprised of scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden and Washington University, including Rohit Pappu, the Edwin H. Murthy Professor of Engineering at WashU’s School of Engineering & Applied Science and postdoctoral students Alex Holehouse and Jeong-Mo Choi — developed a combination of experimental and theoretical analysis to uncover a protein sequence that underlies phase separation of prion-like RNA binding proteins.

  Read more at Engineering News.