Biological Phase Separation and Biomolecular Condensates in Plants

Ryan J. Emenecker, Alex S. Holehouse, Lucia C. Strader

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A surge in research focused on understanding the physical principles governing the formation, properties, and function of membraneless compartments has occurred over the past decade. Compartments such as the nucleolus, stress granules, and nuclear speckles have been designated as biomolecular condensates to describe their shared property of spatially concentrating biomolecules. Although this research has historically been carried out in animal and fungal systems, recent work has begun to explore whether these same principles are relevant in plants. Effectively understanding and studying biomolecular condensates require interdisciplinary expertise that spans cell biology, biochemistry, and condensed matter physics and biophysics. As such, some involved concepts may be unfamiliar to any given individual. This review focuses on introducing concepts essential to the study of biomolecular condensates and phase separation for biologists seeking to carry out research in this area and further examines aspects of biomolecular condensates that are relevant to plant systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-46
Number of pages30
JournalAnnual Review of Plant Biology
StatePublished - Jun 17 2021


  • biomolecular condensates
  • membraneless organelles
  • protein phase separation


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