Everything you ever wanted to know about our current understanding of cytoplasmic organization by phase separation, from the physics behind it to the consequences for disease, in one comprehensive review:
Congratulations to our phenomenal postdoc, Kate Lee, on this prestigious honor!
“Kate Lee, postdoc at the MPI-CBG Hyman Lab, is the first scientist living and working in Germany to be selected as “International Rising Talent”. The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talents are presented to fifteen promising young women, from each world region (Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America), in order to support and encourage them to pursue their scientific careers.
Kate Lee works on understanding how proteins turn into pathological aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases upon aging. Her findings can contribute to a better understanding of diseases like Parkinson’s and become the foundation of potential new therapies.
The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science initiative began 19 years ago. Since that inaugural year, the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have strived to support and recognize accomplished women researchers, to encourage more young women to enter the profession and to assist them once their careers are in progress. Much remains to be done with regard to gender balance in science. Most tellingly, women account for only 28% of the world’s researchers according to the UNESCO Science Report 2015. There are still great barriers that discourage women from entering the profession and obstacles continue to block progress for those already in the field.”
Yesterday, Tony gave the EMBO Keynote Lecture at the Young Investigators’ Meeting in Goa, India. In his lecture, titled “From zoology to physics — how to avoid staying in your comfort zone,” Tony gave advice on how to be a successful young group leader.
Below, you can watch another talk he gave on a similar topic at the MPI-CBG in 2014. Tony spoke as part of a summer seminar series hosted by MPI-CBG postdocs during which group leaders gave thoughtful and personal advice about how to start your own group. Tony focused on the main goal of starting your own group — to discover something important — and how to stay on track towards achieving that goal.
Congratulations to our postdoc Kate Lee, Tony, and co-authors Salman Banani and Mike Rosen of UTSW on their new review, “Biomolecular condensates: organizers of cellular biochemistry.” Read the full article using the links below.
Biomolecular condensates are micron-scale compartments in eukaryotic cells that lack surrounding membranes but function to concentrate proteins and nucleic acids. These condensates are involved in diverse processes, including RNA metabolism, ribosome biogenesis, the DNA damage response and signal transduction. Recent studies have shown that liquid–liquid phase separation driven by multivalent macromolecular interactions is an important organizing principle for biomolecular condensates. With this physical framework, it is now possible to explain how the assembly, composition, physical properties and biochemical and cellular functions of these important structures are regulated.
Visit the ASAPbio website to learn about a new proposal to create a Central Service for biology preprints. The relationship of this Central Service to existing preprint servers would be akin to the relationship between PubMed and scientific journals. ASAPbio has released a Request for Applications (RFA) for the development of a Central Service for biology preprints, proposals for which are due on April 30, 2017.
Belated congratulations are in order to the authors and illustrators of the cover article for the September issue of Trends in Molecular Medicine! See the cover and associated description below.
Common molecular pathways in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Dementia. Jochen H. Weishaupt, Tony Hyman, Ivan Dikic. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 2016. [PDF][PubMed]
“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia are related dementias. On pages 769–783, Dikic and colleagues discuss recent findings associating autophagy, vesicle trafficking, and RNA metabolism to neuronal death, identifying common links between these dementias. The cover evokes the therapeutic potential of manipulating such cellular processes to “eat away” at pathogenicity in the brain. Yellow ‘Pacmen’ symbolize ‘autophagy’. Yellow dots represent ‘physiological stress granules’, maturing into ‘bad stress granule monsters’ (light blue, center). The monsters symbolize ‘mitochondria’, ‘protein aggregates’ and ‘aberrant stress granules’. Illustration by Julia Eichhorn. Cover design by Catarina Sacristán.”
It has been proposed that during the early steps in the origin of life, small droplets could have formed via the segregation of molecules from complex mixtures by phase separation. These droplets could have provided chemical reaction centres. However, whether these droplets could divide and propagate is unclear. Here we examine the behaviour of droplets in systems that are maintained away from thermodynamic equilibrium by an external supply of energy. In these systems, droplets grow by the addition of droplet material generated by chemical reactions. Surprisingly, we find that chemically driven droplet growth can lead to shape instabilities that trigger the division of droplets into two smaller daughters. Therefore, chemically active droplets can exhibit cycles of growth and division that resemble the proliferation of living cells. Dividing active droplets could serve as a model for prebiotic protocells, where chemical reactions in the droplet play the role of a prebiotic metabolism.
Here’s a quick photo from last week’s Hyman lab dinner during ASCB 2016 in San Francisco! It was great to see former members like Laurence Pelletier and Garrett Greenan, as well as collaborators Elvan Boke and Marco Hein.
See you next year at the joint ASCB/EMBO meeting in Philadelphia!
Current and former Hyman lab members out to dinner during ASCB 2016