Table_1_Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation: Unraveling the Enigma of Biomolecular Condensates in Microbial Cells.docx
Numerous examples of microbial phase-separated biomolecular condensates have now been identified following advances in fluorescence imaging and single molecule microscopy technologies. The structure, function, and potential applications of these microbial condensates are currently receiving a great deal of attention. By neatly compartmentalizing proteins and their interactors in membrane-less organizations while maintaining free communication between these macromolecules and the external environment, microbial cells are able to achieve enhanced metabolic efficiency. Typically, these condensates also possess the ability to rapidly adapt to internal and external changes. The biological functions of several phase-separated condensates in small bacterial cells show evolutionary convergence with the biological functions of their eukaryotic paralogs. Artificial microbial membrane-less organelles are being constructed with application prospects in biocatalysis, biosynthesis, and biomedicine. In this review, we provide an overview of currently known biomolecular condensates driven by liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) in microbial cells, and we elaborate on their biogenesis mechanisms and biological functions. Additionally, we highlight the major challenges and future research prospects in studying microbial LLPS.