Transmembrane coupling of liquid-like protein condensates

Yohan Lee, Sujin Park, Feng Yuan, Carl C. Hayden, Liping Wang, Eileen M. Lafer, Siyoung Q. Choi, Jeanne C. Stachowiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Liquid-liquid phase separation of proteins occurs on both surfaces of cellular membranes during diverse physiological processes. In vitro reconstitution could provide insight into the mechanisms underlying these events. However, most existing reconstitution techniques provide access to only one membrane surface, making it difficult to probe transmembrane phenomena. To study protein phase separation simultaneously on both membrane surfaces, we developed an array of freestanding planar lipid membranes. Interestingly, we observed that liquid-like protein condensates on one side of the membrane colocalized with those on the other side, resulting in transmembrane coupling. Our results, based on lipid probe partitioning and mobility of lipids, suggest that protein condensates locally reorganize membrane lipids, a process which could be explained by multiple effects. These findings suggest a mechanism by which signals originating on one side of a biological membrane, triggered by protein phase separation, can be transferred to the opposite side.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8015
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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