Atlas of Proteins in Condensates Reveals Inner Workings of Cells

Liquid protein condensates (red) are stabilized by Pickering agents (green) that adsorb to the condensate surface. (Courtesy of Andrew Folkman).

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed an atlas of proteins describing how they behave inside human cells. This tool could be used to search for the origins of diseases which are related to proteins misbehaving such as dementia and many cancers. The atlas, which was published on July 10, 2024 in Nature Communications, has allowed the researchers to find new proteins inside cells that are responsible for a range of important bodily functions. The team focuses on a droplet-like part of the cell called a condensate which is a meeting hub for proteins to go and organize themselves. These hubs are also key sites where disease processes start. The predictions are available with the paper so researchers around the globe can explore their protein targets of interest and any surrounding condensate systems. The open-access article is titled “Protein Condensate Atlas from Predictive Models of Heteromolecular Condensate Composition.” “This model has allowed us to discover new components in membraneless compartments in biology, as well as discover new principles underlying their function,” said Professor Tuomas Knowles, PhD, who led this research.

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