molecular grammar<img alt="RNA binding protein in vitro" src="/news/PublishingImages/Pappu_FUS_7.18.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>​An international research collaboration including engineers from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a protein sequence mechanism that triggers phase separation deep within a single cell.<br/></p><p>Their findings, <a href="">published in Cell</a>, could provide insights into age-related diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and some cancers.<br/></p><p>The team--comprised of scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden and Washington University, including Rohit Pappu, the Edwin H. Murthy Professor of Engineering at WashU's School of Engineering & Applied Science and postdoctoral students Alex Holehouse and Jeong-Mo Choi — developed a combination of experimental and theoretical analysis to uncover a protein sequence that underlies phase separation of prion-like RNA binding proteins.<br/></p><p>Their findings suggest that in the near future, scientists will have sufficient control over phase separation. It might be possible to predict and design proteins that have distinct phase-separation properties based on the protein sequences alone. By introducing these proteins into a living organism, researchers could investigate the function and pathology of the phase-separated organelles, which will provide insights into the mechanisms of related diseases. <br/></p><p>Read more about the research <a href="">here</a>.<br/></p><div class="cstm-section"><h3>Rohit Pappu<br/></h3><div style="text-align: center;"> <img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Pappu_Rohit_1_16_05.jpg?RenditionID=3" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/> </div><ul style="padding-left: 20px; text-align: left;"><li>Edwin H. Murty Professor of Engineering <br/></li><li>His research interests are focused on intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), specifically their roles in transcriptional regulation, receptor mediated cell signaling, and cellular stress response.<br/></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Rohit-Pappu.aspx">View Bio</a><br/></p></div>Liquid-liquid phase separation of a prion-like RNA binding protein in vitro. Photo by Jie Wang / MPI-CBG2018-07-09T05:00:00ZAn international collaboration including biomedical engineers at WashU have discovered a protein sequence mechanism that triggers phase separation deep within a single cell.<p>​Collaborative team deciphers the protein sequence-encoded mechanism that drives phase separation<br/></p>