Computational model allows researchers to investigate phase transitions

Biomolecular condensates are membraneless compartments that form in cells via phase transitions of multivalent protein and RNA molecules. These molecules have a multiplicity of sticky domains or regions known as stickers that are interspersed by so-called spacers. Intense efforts are underway to be able to calculate phase diagrams that explain how phase transitions are realized and controlled by different molecules with different architectures of stickers and spacers.

Researchers associated with the Center for Science & Engineering of Living Systems (CSELS) at the McKelvey School of Engineering have developed an open source computational model that allows scientists to generate predictive insights connecting molecular architectures to phase diagrams for multivalent proteins.

LAttice Simulation engine for Sticker and Spacer Interactions (LASSI) was designed in the lab of Rohit Pappu, CSELS director and Edwin H. Murty Professor of Engineering by Furqan Dar, a physics graduate student in Arts & Sciences, and former postdoctoral researcher Jeong-Mo Choi.

Details of the algorithm underlying LASSI were published recently in PLoS Computational Biology.

Find the source code for LASSI online at GitHub.