Spatial organization of the cell cytoplasm by position-dependent phase separation

Chiu Fan Lee, Clifford P. Brangwynne, Jöbin Gharakhani, Anthony A. Hyman, Frank Jülicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


During asymmetric cell division, cytoplasmic components are segregated to opposite sides of the cell. We discuss how the observed segregation can be achieved by a position-dependent phase separation mechanism controlled by a protein concentration gradient. We show that effects of even a weak gradient can be amplified by the phase transition to achieve strong segregation. We compare our theory to the segregation of germ granules observed during the divisions in the C. elegans embryo. Our study demonstrates how liquid-liquid phase separation can play a key role in the organization of the cytoplasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number088101
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 20 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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