RNA in formation and regulation of transcriptional condensates

Phillip A. Sharp, Arup K. Chakraborty, Jonathan E. Henninger, Richard A. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Macroscopic membraneless organelles containing RNA such as the nucleoli, germ granules, and the Cajal body have been known for decades. These biomolecular condensates are liquid-like bodies that can be formed by a phase transition. Recent evidence has revealed the presence of similar microscopic condensates associated with the transcription of genes. This brief article summarizes thoughts about the importance of condensates in the regulation of transcription and how RNA molecules, as components of such condensates, control the synthesis of RNA. Models and experimental data suggest that RNAs from enhancers facilitate the formation of a condensate that stabilizes the binding of transcription factors and accounts for a burst of transcription at the promoter. Termination of this burst is pictured as a nonequilibrium feedback loop where additional RNA destabilizes the condensate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Sharp et al.


  • Condensate
  • Intrinsically disordered domains
  • Phase separation
  • RNA
  • Transcription
  • Transcription factors


Dive into the research topics of 'RNA in formation and regulation of transcriptional condensates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this