Maintenance of nucleolar shape and motion are important when it comes to the cells in our body, as nucleolar malfunction can lead to disease, including cancer. Proper understanding of what keeps the cells in shape and motion could help in the creation of new diagnostics and therapies for certain human afflictions.
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Recent discoveries have shown that some cellular compartments don’t have membranes, which were previously seen as necessary to hold a cell together. Researchers have since sought to understand the forces that maintain the integrity of these building blocks of life absent these membranes.
What has been observed is the nature of this behavior. Specifically, these compartments act as liquid droplets made of a material that does not mix with the fluid around them — similar to oil and water. This process, known as liquid-liquid phase separation, has now been established as one of the key cellular organizing principles.
In their study, the researchers focused on the best known example of such cellular liquid droplet: the nucleolus, which resides inside the cell nucleus and is vital to cell’s protein synthesis.
See more about this study over at Science Daily.
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