Condensate functionalization with motors directs their nucleation in space and allows manipulating RNA localization
The localization of RNAs in cells is critical for many cellular processes. Whereas motor-driven transport of RNP condensates plays a prominent role in RNA localization in cells, their studies remain limited by the scarcity of available tools allowing to manipulate condensates in a spatial manner. To fill this gap, we reconstitute in cellula a minimal RNP transport system based on bioengineered condensates which were functionalized with kinesins and dynein-like motors, allowing for their positioning at either the cell periphery or centrosomes. This targeting mostly occurs through the active transport of the condensate scaffolds, which leads to localized nucleation of phase-separated condensates. Then, programming the condensates to recruit specific mRNAs is able to shift the localization of these mRNAs towards the cell periphery or the centrosomes. Our method opens novel perspectives to examine the role of RNA localization as a driver of cellular functions.