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Rigidity enhances a magic-number effect in polymer phase separation.

Author(s): Xu, Bin; He, Guanhua; Weiner, Benjamin; Ronceray, Pierre; Meir, Yigal; et al

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Abstract: Cells possess non-membrane-bound bodies, many of which are now understood as phase-separated condensates. One class of such condensates is composed of two polymer species, where each consists of repeated binding sites that interact in a one-to-one fashion with the binding sites of the other polymer. Biologically-motivated modeling revealed that phase separation is suppressed by a "magic-number effect" which occurs if the two polymers can form fully-bonded small oligomers by virtue of the number of binding sites in one polymer being an integer multiple of the number of binding sites of the other. Here we use lattice-model simulations and analytical calculations to show that this magic-number effect can be greatly enhanced if one of the polymer species has a rigid shape that allows for multiple distinct bonding conformations. Moreover, if one species is rigid, the effect is robust over a much greater range of relative concentrations of the two species.
Publication Date: 25-Mar-2020
Citation: Xu, Bin, He, Guanhua, Weiner, Benjamin G, Ronceray, Pierre, Meir, Yigal, Jonikas, Martin C, Wingreen, Ned S. (2020). Rigidity enhances a magic-number effect in polymer phase separation.. Nature communications, 11 (1), 1561 - 1561. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-15395-6
DOI: doi:10.1038/s41467-020-15395-6
ISSN: 2041-1723
EISSN: 2041-1723
Pages: 1561 - 1561
Language: eng
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Nature Communications
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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