CRC 235 Emergence of Life

Breadcrumb Navigation


Phase Transitions in Chemically Fueled, Multiphase Complex Coacervate Droplets

C. Donau 2022 Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.


Carsten Donau, Fabian Späth, Michele Stasi, Alexander M. Bergmann and Job Boekhoven

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.


Membraneless organelles are droplets in the cytosol that are regulated by chemical reactions. Increasing studies suggest that they are internally organized. However, how these subcompartments are regulated remains elusive. Herein, we describe a complex coacervate-based model composed of two polyanions and a short peptide. With a chemical reaction cycle, we control the affinity of the peptide for the polyelectrolytes leading to distinct regimes inside the phase diagram. We study the transitions from one regime to another and identify new transitions that can only occur under kinetic control. Finally, we show that the chemical reaction cycle controls the liquidity of the droplets offering insights into how active processes inside cells play an important role in tuning the liquid state of membraneless organelles. Our work demonstrates that not only thermodynamic properties but also kinetics should be considered in the organization of multiple phases in droplets.