Cell Biology

Remodeling DNA by phases

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Science  10 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6291, pp. 1289-1290
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6291.1289-e

The cell contains a number of organelles that lack membranes. Their interiors, composed of the disordered regions of proteins, probably form a mesh-like hydrogel, which behaves as a distinct solvent phase inside the cell. Nott et al. created model membraneless organelles in culture. These organelles destabilized double-stranded nucleic acids and preferentially bound single-stranded (ss) DNA and RNA, especially structured ssDNA or ssRNA, favoring compact oligonucleotide structures over extended ones. The interiors of membraneless organelles thus provide the cell with solvent properties that can modulate the behavior of the molecules they absorb.

Nat. Chem. 10.1038/NCHEM.2519 (2016).

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