Characterization of RNA content in individual phase-separated coacervate microdroplets

Damian Wollny, Benjamin Vernot, Jie Wang, Maria Hondele, Aram Safrastyan, Franziska Aron, Julia Micheel, Zhisong He, Anthony Hyman, Karsten Weis, J. Gray Camp, T. Y.Dora Tang, Barbara Treutlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Condensates formed by complex coacervation are hypothesized to have played a crucial part during the origin-of-life. In living cells, condensation organizes biomolecules into a wide range of membraneless compartments. Although RNA is a key component of biological condensates and the central component of the RNA world hypothesis, little is known about what determines RNA accumulation in condensates and to which extend single condensates differ in their RNA composition. To address this, we developed an approach to read the RNA content from single synthetic and protein-based condensates using high-throughput sequencing. We find that certain RNAs efficiently accumulate in condensates. These RNAs are strongly enriched in sequence motifs which show high sequence similarity to short interspersed elements (SINEs). We observe similar results for protein-derived condensates, demonstrating applicability across different in vitro reconstituted membraneless organelles. Thus, our results provide a new inroad to explore the RNA content of phase-separated droplets at single condensate resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2626
JournalNature Communications
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

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