Liquid–liquid phase separation in innate immunity

Dawei Liu, Jinhang Yang, Ileana M. Cristea

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Intrinsic and innate immune responses are essential lines of defense in the body's constant surveillance of pathogens. The discovery of liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) as a key regulator of this primal response to infection brings an updated perspective to our understanding of cellular defense mechanisms. Here, we review the emerging multifaceted role of LLPS in diverse aspects of mammalian innate immunity, including DNA and RNA sensing and inflammasome activity. We discuss the intricate regulation of LLPS by post-translational modifications (PTMs), and the subversive tactics used by viruses to antagonize LLPS. This Review, therefore, underscores the significance of LLPS as a regulatory node that offers rapid and plastic control over host immune signaling, representing a promising target for future therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-469
Number of pages16
JournalTrends in Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


  • DNA sensing
  • LLPS
  • PTMs
  • RNA sensing
  • immune signaling
  • innate immunity
  • membraneless organelles
  • phase separation
  • post-translational modification
  • proteomics
  • viral infection


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