Regulation of Transmembrane Signaling by Phase Separation

Lindsay B. Case, Jonathon A. Ditlev, Michael K. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Cell surface transmembrane receptors often form nanometer- to micrometer-scale clusters to initiate signal transduction in response to environmental cues. Extracellular ligand oligomerization, domain-domain interactions, and binding to multivalent proteins all contribute to cluster formation. Here we review the current understanding of mechanisms driving cluster formation in a series of representative receptor systems: glycosylated receptors, immune receptors, cell adhesion receptors, Wnt receptors, and receptor tyrosine kinases. We suggest that these clusters share properties of systems that undergo liquid-liquid phase separation and could be investigated in this light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-494
Number of pages30
JournalAnnual Review of Biophysics
StatePublished - May 6 2019


  • biomolecular condensates
  • cell signaling
  • phase separation
  • receptor clusters
  • receptor organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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