elifeOur paper on fluid to solid transition of cytoplasm was published in  eLife!

A pH-driven transition of the cytoplasm from a fluid- to a solid-like state promotes entry into dormancy


by M.C. Munder, D.Midtvedt, T. Franzmann, E. Nüske, O. Otto, M. Herbig, E.Ulbricht, P. Müller, A. Taubenberger, S. Maharana, L. Malinovska, D. Richter, J. Guck, V. Zaburdaev, and  S. Alberti


Cells can enter into a dormant state when faced with unfavorable conditions. However, how cells enter into and recover from this state is still poorly understood. Here, we study dormancy in different eukaryotic organisms and find it to be associated with a significant decrease in the mobility of organelles and foreign tracer particles. We show that this reduced mobility is caused by an influx of protons and a marked acidification of the cytoplasm, which leads to widespread macromolecular assembly of proteins and triggers a transition of the cytoplasm to a solid-like state with increased mechanical stability. We further demonstrate that this transition is required for cellular survival under conditions of starvation. Our findings have broad implications for understanding alternative physiological states, such as quiescence and dormancy, and create a new view of the cytoplasm as an adaptable fluid that can reversibly transition into a protective solid-like state.

See Publications page for the full paper.

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