Condensed and Living Matter Seminar: "Phase Separation Inside Cells "

Ned Wingreen (Princeton University)
- | David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A4 - also See Zoom link below

Biologists have recently come to appreciate that eukaryotic cells are home to a multiplicity of non-membrane bound compartments, many of which form and dissolve as needed for the cell to function. These dynamical “condensates” enable many central cellular functions – from ribosome assembly, to RNA regulation and storage, to signaling and metabolism. While it is clear that these compartments represent a type of separated phase, what controls their formation and physical properties, how specific biological components are included or excluded, and how these structures influence physiological and biochemical processes present many open questions. I will discuss recent experiments on phase-separated condensates both engineered and natural, and will discuss several open theoretical proposals including a novel “magic number” effect, anomalous slowing-down of diffusion, and interface resistance.