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Ribonucleic acids and intrinsically disordered proteins undergo phase separation inside cells to afford biomolecular condensates. Appreciating the associated enthalpy and entropy changes — including those of water — helps us better understand the ways in which cells regulate biochemical processes. SeeRibeiro et al.
Image: Sara Ribeiro and Nirnay Samanta. Design: Carl Conway.
Changes in the stereochemistry of polymer chains result in changes to the mechanical and physical behaviour of the resulting materials. By harnessing synthetic methods to create stereocontrolled polymers, a new parameter can be accessed to control the behaviour of bulk material.
The natural world has long provided inspiration for the production of artificial, adaptive materials. This Review discusses how unravelling the rules of molecular motion has enabled integration of the cooperative, and sometimes synchronized, operation of light-responsive molecular machines, across length scales, into responsive and autonomous matter.
Intracellular phase separation is a major regulatory mechanism in several biochemical processes. This Perspective describes the contribution of H2O and biomolecules to this phenomenon in the framework of two well-known models.