When liquid-liquid phase separation meets viral infections

Front Immunol. 2022 Aug 9:13:985622. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.985622. eCollection 2022.


Eukaryotic cells have both membranous and membraneless organelles. While the formation mechanism of membranous organelles is well understood, the formation mechanism of membraneless organelles remains unknown. Many biomolecules in the cytoplasm transition from the liquid phase to the agglutinated phase are known as liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). The biomolecular agglomerates' physical properties enable them to function as dynamic compartments that respond to external pressures and stimuli. Scientists have gradually recognized the importance of phase separation during viral infections. LLPS provides a powerful new framework for understanding the viral life cycle from viral replication to evasion of host immune surveillance. As a result, this review focuses on the progress of LLPS research in viral infection and immune regulation to provide clues for antiviral therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: immune regulation; inclusion; liquid-liquid phase separation; membraneless organelle; viral infection.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasm
  • Humans
  • Organelles*
  • Virus Diseases*
  • Virus Replication