Current Issue

2022, Volume 8,  Issue 2

Cover Story

Liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) has proved to be ubiquitous in living cells, forming membraneless organelles (MLOs) and dynamic condensations essential in physiological processes. However, some underlying mechanisms remain challenging to unravel experimentally, making theoretical modeling an indispensable aspect. Here the authors present a protocol for understanding LLPS from fundamental physics to detailed modeling procedures. The protocol involves a comprehensive physical picture on selecting suitable theoretical approaches, as well as how and what to interpret and re-solve from the results. On the particle based level, they elaborate on coarse grained simulation procedures from building up models, identifying crucial interactions to running simulations to obtain phase diagrams and other concerned properties. They also outline field based theories which give the system’s density profile to determine phase diagrams and provide dynamic properties by studying the time evolution of density field, enabling us to characterize LLPS systems with larger time and length scales and to further include other nonequilibrium factors such as chemical reactions.

Theoretical modelling of liquid–liquid phase separation: from particle-based to field-based simulation
Measuring the elasticity of liquid–liquid phase separation droplets with biomembrane force probe
Visualizing carboxyl-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II recruitment by FET fusion protein condensates with DNA curtains
Driving force of biomolecular liquid–liquid phase separation probed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
Principles of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy applied to studies of biomolecular liquid–liquid phase separation