Membrane Obstacles Enhance the Sensitivity and Selectivity of Surface Condensation

  • Starts: 11:00 am on Thursday, August 11, 2022
  • Ends: 1:00 pm on Thursday, August 11, 2022
Biomolecular phase separation has emerged as an essential mechanism for cellular organization. How cells respond to environmental stimuli in a robust and sensitive manner to build functional condensates at the proper time and location is only starting to be understood. Recently, lipid membranes have been recognized as an important regulatory center for biomolecular condensation. However, how the interplay between the phase behaviors of cellular membranes and surface biopolymers may contribute to the regulation of surface condensation remains to be elucidated. Using simulations and a mean-field theoretical model, we show that the presence of protein obstacles at physiological concentrations in the membrane enhances the sensitivity and selectivity of surface condensation formation and membrane reorganization to the property of the biopolymer. Such obstacle effects are robust over a range of membrane conditions, and originate from the positive co-operativity between the coupled growth of local lipid domains and biopolymer condensates. The general physical principle emerged from the current analysis may have implications in other biological processes and beyond.
SCI 115
Zhuang Liu
Zhuang Liu
Boston University, Department of Physics