It was always a curiosity in the biological science world how cells organize themselves and find a way to form functional structures. Scientists studied protein and RNA molecules condense into droplets from bacterial and human cells. Proteins within these droplets solidify and form disease or disorders.
It had been discovered that RNA molecules recognize one another and condense into such droplets in 3D forms. University of North Carolina’s Amy Gladfelter researched work on the formation of these droplets while doing her study at the HHMI/HCIA Summer Institute. Gladfelter, along with 70 other scientists, have explored this cellular organization for five years.
RNA molecules end up in the same droplet when their 3D structures bind together through complementary base-pairing. Gladfelter states that the RNA molecules end up in different droplet formation if their secondary structures are shielding from complementary base pairing. The droplets form their 3D structures when the complementary sequences are exposed and are able to pair with each other. This process allows scientists to see what is happening within the cells. Gladfelter states that “this is not just something that proteins and RNAs can do, but that nature has selected for it.”
The discovery of this process has helped further investigate aggressive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases. The solidification of such proteins may be a factor of these diseases.
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