Liquid-Liquid phase separation in bacteria

Microbiol Res. 2024 Apr:281:127627. doi: 10.1016/j.micres.2024.127627. Epub 2024 Jan 17.


Cells are the essential building blocks of living organisms, responsible for carrying out various biochemical reactions and performing specific functions. In eukaryotic cells, numerous membrane organelles have evolved to facilitate these processes by providing specific spatial locations. In recent years, it has also been discovered that membraneless organelles play a crucial role in the subcellular organization of bacteria, which are single-celled prokaryotic microorganisms characterized by their simple structure and small size. These membraneless organelles in bacteria have been found to undergo Liquid-Liquid phase separation (LLPS), a molecular mechanism that allows for their assembly. Through extensive research, the occurrence of LLPS and its role in the spatial organization of bacteria have been better understood. Various biomacromolecules have been identified to exhibit LLPS properties in different bacterial species. LLPS which is introduced into synthetic biology applies to bacteria has important implications, and three recent research reports have shed light on its potential applications in this field. Overall, this review investigates the molecular mechanisms of LLPS occurrence and its significance in bacteria while also considering the future prospects of implementing LLPS in synthetic biology.

Keywords: Bacteria; Liquid-Liquid phase separation; Membraneless organelles; Synthetic biology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Organelles* / chemistry
  • Phase Separation*