Membrane-Bound Meet Membraneless in Health and Disease

Chujun Zhang, Catherine Rabouille

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Membraneless organelles (MLOs) are defined as cellular structures that are not sealed by a lipidic membrane and are shown to form by phase separation. They exist in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm that is also heavily populated by numerous membrane-bound organelles. Even though the name membraneless suggests that MLOs are free of membrane, both membrane and factors regulating membrane trafficking steps are emerging as important components of MLO formation and function. As a result, we name them biocondensates. In this review, we examine the relationships between biocondensates and membrane. First, inhibition of membrane trafficking in the early secretory pathway leads to the formation of biocondensates (P-bodies and Sec bodies). In the same vein, stress granules have a complex relationship with the cyto-nuclear transport machinery. Second, membrane contributes to the regulated formation of phase separation in the cells and we will present examples including clustering at the plasma membrane and at the synapse. Finally, the whole cell appears to transit from an interphase phase-separated state to a mitotic diffuse state in a DYRK3 dependent manner. This firmly establishes a crosstalk between the two types of cell organization that will need to be further explored.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2019


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