© Sven Döring

Research Focus

The Hyman lab studies how phase separation impacts the formation of membraneless compartmentalisation of macromolecules inside living cells. Stemming from our work on C.elegans in 2009 (Brangwynne et al. 2009), observations over the last decade have shown that many non-membrane compartments have liquid-like properties (Banani et al. 2017). The liquid-like nature of condensates is ascertained using microscopy in cells by observing fusion events, round shape, rapid diffusion of components, and a predictable response to changes in thermodynamic parameters such as temperature. Phase separation phenomena can be used to describe the formation of P granules (Brangwynne et al. 2009), nucleoli (Brangwynne et al. 2011), stress granules and centrosomes (Brangwynne et al. 2009) and estimates suggest that at least 30% of proteins in the nucleus are in such compartments (Thul et al. 2017). To capture the role of soft matter physics in describing these compartments, we have termed them biomolecular condensates (Banani et al. 2017).

Current news by this research group

A role for RNA in Stress Granules assembly

Stress granules are membraneless compartments formed by phase separation of specific molecules upon exposure to cellular stress such as oxidative stress, heat shock, or osmotic stress. The Alberti, Jahnel, Honigmann, and Hyman labs published a study in cell highlighting the role of RNA in the…

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Filament formation by the translation factor eIF2B regulates protein synthesis in starved cells

Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs), the enzymes responsible for coupling tRNAs to their cognate amino acids, minimize translational errors by intrinsic hydrolytic editing. Here, we compared norvaline (Nva), a linear amino acid not coded for protein synthesis, to the proteinogenic, branched valine…

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Condensation regulates translation

New insights into the influence of Ded1p condensation on translation comes from the Hyman, Alberti and Kreysing labs. The study published in Cell is entitled "Condensation of Ded1p Promotes a Translational Switch from Housekeeping to Stress Protein Production". Graphical abstract: Abstract: Cells…

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Alberti Lab is accepting applications for MSc, PhD, and Postdoc

We are always looking for highly motivated and creative students. Students interested in a master’s project with a focus on biochemistry, biophysics or cell biology are encouraged to apply. Students interested in a PhD project should apply to the Dresden International Graduate School for…

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Local nucleation of microtubule bundles through tubulin concentration into a condensed tau phase

Theskeleton that supports the structure of our cells, termed cytoskeleton is formed of several kinds of polymers including actin and microtubules. How the single units on the polymers (monomers and dimers) are concentrated to gether to synthesize the polymer is the subject of this study by the labs…

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