Spontaneous Transition of Spherical Coacervate to Vesicle-Like Compartment

H Choi and Y Hong and S Najafi and SY Kim and JE Shea and DS Hwang and YS Choi, ADVANCED SCIENCE (2023).

DOI: 10.1002/advs.202305978

Numerous biological systems contain vesicle-like biomolecular compartments without membranes, which contribute to diverse functions including gene regulation, stress response, signaling, and skin barrier formation. Coacervation, as a form of liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), is recognized as a representative precursor to the formation and assembly of membrane-less vesicle-like structures, although their formation mechanism remains unclear. In this study, a coacervation- driven membrane-less vesicle-like structure is constructed using two proteins, GG1234 (an anionic intrinsically disordered protein) and bhBMP-2 (a bioengineered human bone morphogenetic protein 2). GG1234 formed both simple coacervates by itself and complex coacervates with the relatively cationic bhBMP-2 under acidic conditions. Upon addition of dissolved bhBMP-2 to the simple coacervates of GG1234, a phase transition from spherical simple coacervates to vesicular condensates occurred via the interactions between GG1234 and bhBMP-2 on the surface of the highly viscoelastic GG1234 simple coacervates. Furthermore, the shell structure in the outer region of the GG1234/bhBMP-2 vesicular condensates exhibited gel-like properties, leading to the formation of multiphasic vesicle-like compartments. A potential mechanism is proposed for the formation of the membrane-less GG1234/bhBMP-2 vesicle-like compartments. This study provides a dynamic process underlying the formation of biomolecular multiphasic condensates, thereby enhancing the understanding of these biomolecular structures. This study shows the formation of a coacervation-driven membrane-less vesicle-like structure using GG1234 and bhBMP-2. A phase transition from spherical simple coacervates to vesicular condensates occurred upon the addition of bhBMP-2 to GG1234 simple coacervates under acidic conditions, eventually leading to multiphasic vesicle-like compartments with a gel-like outer shell. They propose a dynamic process for the formation of these biomolecular structures.image

Return to Publications page