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Progress on Crowding Effect in Cell-like Structures

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  • Chao Li, Harbin Institute of Technology
  • ,
  • Xiangxiang Zhang, Harbin Institute of Technology
  • ,
  • Mingdong Dong
  • Xiaojun Han, Harbin Institute of Technology

Several biological macromolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, and polysaccharides, occupy about 30% of the space in cells, resulting in a crowded macromolecule environment. The crowding effect within cells exerts an impact on the functions of biological components, the assembly behavior of biomacromolecules, and the thermodynamics and kinetics of metabolic reactions. Cell-like structures provide confined and independent compartments for studying the working mechanisms of cells, which can be used to study the physiological functions arising from the crowding effect of macromolecules in cells. This article mainly summarizes the progress of research on the macromolecular crowding effects in cell-like structures. It includes the effects of this crowding on actin assembly behavior, tubulin aggregation behavior, and gene expression. The challenges and future trends in this field are presented at the end of the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Article number593
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 21929401, 22174031, and 22111540252), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (HIT.OCEF.2021026), and the Heilongjiang Touyan Team (HITTY-20190034).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • actin assembly behavior, cell-like structures, crowding effect, gene expression, tubulin aggregation behavior

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