ATP as a biological hydrotrope — congratulations to Avinash, Liliana, and colleagues on their paper in Science, in collaboration with Yamuna Krishnan from UChicago!

Our latest publication, in collaboration with Yamuna Krishnan in Chicago, is out today in Science! In this work, we show that ATP can act as a biological hydrotrope, keeping proteins soluble. Hydrotropes are amphiphilic small molecules that solubilize hydrophobic molecules in aqueous solutions. While ATP is most commonly known as the energy source for cells, there is ~100 times more ATP in the cell than it needs for energy-related purposes. We show that at this high physiological concentration, ATP can act as a hydrotrope, both preventing the formation of and dissolving previously formed protein aggregates. This has interesting implications for aggregation associated with age-related neurodegenerative diseases, as the levels of ATP in cells decline with age. Read the full paper in Science (free full text/PDF links here) and watch our video abstract below or on sciencesketches.org! You can also read a perspective on our paper by Allyson Rice and Mike Rosen in the same issue of Science. 

 

 

ATP as a biological hydrotrope 
Avinash Patel*, Liliana Malinovska*, Shambaditya Saha, Jie Wang, Simon Alberti, Yamuna Krishnan#, Anthony A Hyman#
Science. 2017 May 18;356(6339):753-756. (links to free Full Text & PDF versions can be found on our Publications Page)

* first authors
# corresponding authors

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Read our reviews to learn about “Liquid-liquid phase separation in biology”, “Are aberrant phase transitions a driver of cellular aging?”, and “Biomolecular condensates: organizers of cellular biochemistry”

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:

Liquid-liquid phase separation in biology.
Hyman AA, Weber CA, Jülicher F.
Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2014 Oct 11;30:39-58.

2016 UPDATE: Also read a new review and perspective by Tony Hyman and Simon Alberti in Bioessays:

Are aberrant phase transitions a driver of cellular aging?
Alberti S, Hyman AA.
Bioessays. 2016 Oct;38(10):959-68. doi: 10.1002/bies.201600042. Epub 2016 Aug 24.

2017 UPDATE: New review in Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology!

Biomolecular condensates: organizers of cellular biochemistry. [PDF]
Banani SF, Lee HO, Hyman AA, Rosen MK.
Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Feb 22.

Impact of water in a water-surface

Image credit: Marlon Felippe, Wikimedia Commons

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PNAS Journal Club & Press for “ATP as a biological hydrotrope”

Our article “ATP as a biological hydrotrope” is featured this month as a Journal Club highlight in PNAS

It has also been featured in the following news articles and press releases:

Chemical & Engineering News

MPI-CBG Press Release (also in German)

C2W (in Dutch)

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Two preprints: Tau phase separation; Parallel temperature adaptation

The Hyman lab is proud to publish preprints, which we post in parallel to journal submission. You can find our latest manuscripts on bioRxiv, and we welcome your feedback:

Local Nucleation Of Microtubule Bundles Through Tubulin Concentration Into A Condensed Tau PhaseAmayra Hernández-Vega, Marcus Braun, Lara Scharrel, Marcus Jahnel, Susanne Wegmann, Bradley T. Hyman, Simon Alberti, Stefan Diez, Anthony A. Hyman. 

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Interview with Kate Lee in ‘Research in Germany’

You can now read an interview with our postdoc Kate Lee in “Research in Germany”, where she discusses her work on phase transitions and neurodegenerative disease, her decision to move to Europe, and what she enjoys most about working at the MPI-CBG. Congrats, Kate!

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An aberrant phase transition of stress granules triggered by misfolded protein and prevented by chaperone function

New work from the Hyman and Alberti labs uncovers an important role for chaperone proteins in preventing aberrant phase transitions in stress granules. See a brief synopsis below and read the full paper online. Congratulations to all of the authors on this work!

Synopsis

The presence of misfolded protein in stress granules alters their dynamic state and induces a phase transition. This process is counteracted by chaperones and autophagy, acting as a stress granule quality control system.

  • Misfolded proteins have a tendency to aggregate in stress granules (SGs).

  • Misfolded proteins promote a conversion of SGs into an aberrant solid‐like state.

  • Chaperones prevent the formation of aberrant SGs and promote SG disassembly.

  • Persistent aberrant SGs are targeted to the aggresome for degradation.

An aberrant phase transition of stress granules triggered by misfolded protein and prevented by chaperone function.
Mateju D, Franzmann TM, Patel A, Kopach A, Boczeck EE, Maharana S, Lee HO, Carra S, Hyman AA, Alberti S.
The EMBO Journal. (2017) e201695957. [FullText]

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Kate Lee selected as L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talent

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.”

– MPI-CBG Press Release

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Advice for young group leaders

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.

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New Review: “Biomolecular condensates: organizers of cellular biochemistry”

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: organizers of cellular biochemistry. [PDF]
Banani SF, Lee HO, Hyman AA, Rosen MK.
Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Feb 22.

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.

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The Benefits of a “Central Service” for Biology Preprints

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.

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How did life begin? Dividing droplets could hold the answer. (Article in Quanta Magazine)

The story of our publication in Nature Physics, “Growth and division of active droplets provides a model for protocells,” has been picked up by Quanta Magazine (and re-published in Wired Magazine as well).

Read the full story here! 

Lucy Reading-Ikkanda/Quanta Magazine

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