Due to unforeseen circumstances, this seminar has been CANCELLED.
Professor Christine Keating of Penn State University will present
"Model Systems for Membraneless Subcellular Organelles: Compartmentalization of Biomolecules
and Reactions by Liquid-Liquid Phase"
on February 7, 2018 at 4:10 PM in Neville Hall, Room 3.
Biological cells are highly organized with numerous subcellular compartments, many of which lack membranous boundaries such as those that surround organelles. We are developing simple experimental models for these membraneless organelles based on liquid-liquid phase separation, which is a common phenomenon in aqueous solutions of macromolecules. Solutes such as ions, small molecules, and biopolymers can become compartmentalized by partitioning into one of the phases. We are studying mechanisms for, and consequences of, this type of compartmentalization using a variety of simple model systems composed of phase-separating aqueous polymer solutions. Through these types of studies, we hope to uncover underlying physiochemical mechanisms in cellular organization and to identify new avenues for biomimetic systems for applications in biotechnology and materials science. For example, compartmentalization of catalysts and/or reactants into polymer-rich droplets can lead to control over the sites and rates of reactions. This approach has led to increased ribozyme reaction rates and development of liposome-stabilized water-in-water emulsions that act as artificial mineralizing vesicles.