Hyman/Zechner

Post-Translational Control of Gene Expression Noise by Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation

Stochasticity in transcription and translation causes substantial cell-to-cell variability in protein concentrations across isogenic cells. A key question in biology is how cells manage to function robustly while their inner workings are substantially noisy. In this project, we hypothesize that phase separated condensates could provide a potential way to protect biochemical processes against cellular noise. To test this hypothesis, we use a cross-disciplinary approach combining quantitative live-cell experiments with theory.


Current State of Research

We have recently provided first proof-of-principle, which shows that noise in protein concentration is significantly attenuated in the presence of liquid condensates (Klosin et al., Science 2020). While we have so far mostly focused on engineered phase separating systems, we will now explore this concept more broadly within physiological contexts to understand its functional implications for cellular control.


About us

The Hyman Lab studies how the inside of a cell — the cytoplasm — is organized. The lab is particularly interested in how cells can form functional compartments without using a membrane to separate them from the rest of the cell, called biomolecular condensates. Our lab takes a combined physics/chemistry/cell biology approach to understand how condensates form, and what their function is.


Contact
:
Anthony Hyman
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Pfotenhauerstr. 108
01307 Dresden
Phone: +49 351 210-2805
Email





 

The Zechner Lab develops theoretical approaches to study how stochasticity affects biological systems at different scales. The lab develops mathematical and computational techniques to model stochastic processes in cells and tissues and to reverse-engineer their dynamical features from experimental data. While our work is largely theoretical, we collaborate closely with our experimental partners.


Contact:

Christoph Zechner
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Pfotenhauerstr. 108
01307 Dresden
Phone: +49 351 210-2735
Email

 

 


Publications

Klosin, A., Oltsch, F., Harmon, T., Honigmann, A., Jülicher, F., Hyman, A. A., & Zechner, C. (2020). Phase separation provides a mechanism to reduce noise in cellsScience,  367 (6476), 464-468. DOI: 10.1126/science.aav6691