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Phase Transition of RNA-protein Complexes into Ordered Hollow Condensates

By Ibraheem Alshareedah, Mahdi Muhammad Moosa, Muralikrishna Raju, Davit A Potoyan, Priya R. Banerjee

Posted 12 Jan 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.10.902353

Charge driven condensation of intrinsically disordered protein-RNA complexes is ubiquitous in both natural and biomimetic systems. So far, isotropic liquid droplets are the most commonly observed topology of RNA-protein condensates in experiments and simulations. Here, by systematically studying the phase behavior of RNA-protein complexes across varied mixture compositions, we report a hollow vesicle-like condensate phase of nucleoprotein assemblies that is distinct from RNA-protein droplets. We show that these vesicular condensates are stable at specific charge disproportionate regimes within the phase diagram and are formed through the self-assembly of highly charged anisotropic protein-RNA complexes. Similar to membranes composed of amphiphilic lipids, these nucleoprotein-RNA vesicular membranes exhibit local ordering, size-dependent permeability, and selective encapsulation capacity without sacrificing their dynamic formation and dissolution in response to physicochemical stimuli. Our findings suggest that protein-RNA complexes can robustly create lipid-free vesicle-like enclosures by phase separation.

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