: Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) of biopolymers to form condensates is a widespread phenomenon in living cells. Agents that target or alter condensation can help uncover elusive physiological and pathological mechanisms. Owing to their unique material properties and modes of interaction with biomolecules, nanoparticles represent attractive condensate-targeting agents. Our work focused on elucidating the interaction between ultrasmall gold nanoparticles (usGNPs) and diverse types of condensates of tau, a representative phase-separating protein associated with neurodegenerative disorders. usGNPs attract considerable interest in the biomedical community due to unique features, including emergent optical properties and good cell penetration. We explored the interaction of usGNPs with reconstituted self-condensates of tau, two-component tau/polyanion and three-component tau/RNA/alpha-synuclein coacervates. The usGNPs were found to concentrate into condensed liquid droplets, consistent with the formation of dynamic client (nanoparticle) - scaffold (tau) interactions, and were observable thanks to their intrinsic luminescence. Furthermore, usGNPs were capable to promote LLPS of a protein domain which is unable to phase separate on its own. Our study demonstrates the ability of usGNPs to interact with and illuminate protein condensates. We anticipate that nanoparticles will have broad applicability as nanotracers to interrogate phase separation, and as nanoactuators controlling the formation and dissolution of condensates.
Giovanna Viola;Fulvio Floriani;Carlo Giorgio Barracchia;Francesca Munari;Mariapina D'Onofrio;Michael Assfalg
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.