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Molecules within cells are segregated into functional domains to form various organelles. While some of those organelles are delimited by lipid membranes demarcating their constituents, others lack a membrane enclosure. Recently, liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) revolutionized our view of how segregation of macromolecules can produce membraneless organelles. While the concept of LLPS has been well studied in the areas of soft matter physics and polymer chemistry, its significance has only recently been recognized in the field of biology. It occurs typically between macromolecules that have multivalent interactions. Interestingly, these features are present in many molecules that exert key functions within neurons. In this review, we cover recent topics of LLPS in different contexts of neuronal physiology and pathology.
- liquid-liquid phase separation
- local protein synthesis
- membraneless organelle
- neurodegenerative diseases
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