Tuning protein interactions in cells to create artificial organelles
Presented by Prof. Allie Obermeyer
Protein de-mixing has been implicated in the organization of cellular components. These phase separated membraneless organelles create distinct environments that are essential to cellular processes ranging from signaling to gene expression and stress response. The formation of several membraneless organelles appears to be driven by electrostatic interactions between proteins and nucleic acids. Here we seek to develop sequence-function property relationships in order to predict the formation and properties of artificial membraneless organelles in bacteria. To do so, we engineer model proteins with varying potential for electrostatic interactions with endogenous biomolecules. We have probed the role of protein charge, charge distribution, charged functional groups, and sequence in the formation of these compartments. Here we will share our most recent understanding of the role of sequence in the creation of phase separated organelles in living cells.