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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Congratulations to Ceciel Jegers, Boehringer Ingelheim Fellowship winner!

Our PhD student Ceciel Jegers has just been awarded a Boehringer Ingelheim Fellowship to pursue her PhD studies on multi-enzyme condensates. Read more here. Way to go, Ceciel!

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Molecular biology: A liquid reservoir for silent chromatin

Tony and our postdoc Adam Klosin have written a Nature “News & Views” about chromatin compaction in liquid droplets based on two articles in the latest issue of Nature (Strom et al & Larson et al). Read the full News & Views piece here.  

Klosin A, Hyman AA. Molecular biology: A liquid reservoir for silent chromatin. Nature (2017). [PDF]

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The Centrosome Is a Selective Condensate that Nucleates Microtubules by Concentrating Tubulin – congratulations to Jeff Woodruff and colleagues on their paper in Cell!

Our latest publication is out now in Cell! In this work, led by Jeff Woodruffwe used defined components to reconstitute a minimal centrosome in vitro that can nucleate microtubule asters.  Our results suggest that the centrosome acts a selective phase that nucleates microtubules by concentrating microtubule polymerases and soluble tubulin.  

 

Read the full paper in Cell, and stay tuned for a forthcoming video abstract!

 

The centrosome is a selective condensate that nucleates microtubules by concentrating tubulin.

Jeffrey B. Woodruff, Beatriz Ferreira Gomes, Per O. Widlund, Julia Mahamid, Alf Honigmann, Anthony A. Hyman. 

Cell, 2017. 169(6)1066-1077.

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Stem cells: the new “model organism”

In a new perspective published in Molecular Biology of the Cell, Tony Hyman and David Drubin “argue that combined advances in genome editing, stem cell production, and organoid derivation from stem cells represent a revolution in cell biology.”  These technological advances mean that stem cell studies could now replace molecular and cell biology studies traditionally carried out in human tissue culture cells, which have significant genome abnormalities and do not represent a normal physiological state. Read more in the full article in MBOC.

 

Stem cells: the new “model organism”
David G. Drubin and Anthony A. Hyman. Mol Biol Cell, 2017. 28(11)1409-1411.

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PNAS Journal Club, ACS Spotlights, & 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

Additionally, ACS Chemical Biology covered the article in its Spotlights section.

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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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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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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  • Archives


  • Selected Essays

















  • Recent Videos


    An interview with Tony about Phase Transitions and Disease


    Phase separation in cell polarity: Saha et al, Cell 2016


    Encouraging Innovation, iBiology.org


    The genetics linking temperature and fertility in worms: Leaver et al, Biology Open 2016


    Cell PaperFlick on Phase Transitions in Disease


    Check out this playlist to watch all the videos in our "Two Minute Talk" Series


    Ways of Growing, a film created for the MitoSys Project


    What is a Discovery?


    Embryonic Development of C.elegans