Programmable synthetic biomolecular condensates for cellular control

Yifan Dai, Mina Farag, Dongheon Lee, Xiangze Zeng, Kyeri Kim, Hye in Son, Xiao Guo, Jonathan Su, Nikhil Peterson, Javid Mohammed, Max Ney, Daniel Mark Shapiro, Rohit V. Pappu, Ashutosh Chilkoti*, Lingchong You*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The formation of biomolecular condensates mediated by a coupling of associative and segregative phase transitions plays a critical role in controlling diverse cellular functions in nature. This has inspired the use of phase transitions to design synthetic systems. While design rules of phase transitions have been established for many synthetic intrinsically disordered proteins, most efforts have focused on investigating their phase behaviors in a test tube. Here, we present a rational engineering approach to program the formation and physical properties of synthetic condensates to achieve intended cellular functions. We demonstrate this approach through targeted plasmid sequestration and transcription regulation in bacteria and modulation of a protein circuit in mammalian cells. Our approach lays the foundation for engineering designer condensates for synthetic biology applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-528
Number of pages11
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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