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REVIEW: The Role of Liquid–Liquid Phase Separation in the Compartmentalization of Cell Nucleus and Spatial Genome Organization

S. V. Razin1,2,a* and A. A. Gavrilov1

1Institute of Gene Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 119334 Moscow, Russia

2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Biology, 119991 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received March 24, 2020; Revised April 7, 2020; Accepted April 9, 2020
Functional compartmentalization of the cell nucleus plays an important role in the regulation of genome activity by providing accumulation of enzymes and auxiliary factors in the reaction centers, such as transcription factories, Cajal bodies, speckles, etc. The mechanisms behind the nucleus functional compartmentalization are still poorly understood. There are reasons to believe that the key role in the nucleus compartmentalization belongs to the process of liquid–liquid phase separation. In this brief review, we analyze results of experimental studies demonstrating that liquid–liquid phase separation not only governs functional compartmentalization of the cell nucleus but also contributes to the formation of the 3D genomic architecture.
KEY WORDS: liquid–liquid phase separation, chromatin, cell nucleus, transcription, nuclear compartment, spatial genome organization

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297920060012